Tuesday 31 October 2017

Random bunch of stats

Have added a couple of links to the links section, could probably use tidying up. I wanted to add someone else who'd posted a few links on Twitter but can't find him, although I think he's changed the title of his blog and it's on there under its current name (and I sure as hell am not searching my internet history for "darts"). Have also corrected the date for when the betting tracking is accurate to as I forgot.

The worlds seeds are looking pretty safe given Kist's injury, so a quick bunch of stats for the seeds on what they've done so far this season (i.e. after the worlds and in ranked stage matches):

Legs played:

Legs won:

Legs won to legs lost comparison:

Finishing speed (blue = four or less visits (hi Kyle!), red = five visits, yellowy-orange = six visits, green = seven or more visits, sorted by 15 or less dart legs:

Average points per turn:

Sunday 29 October 2017

Cross GOAT

I'm struggling to think if there's anything Rob Cross can't do. Having made a major final now, I think it's hard to find a way to keep him out of the Premier League - he's now taken it nearly to the hoop on TV, and all that ranking money will keep him away from the really big seeds until at least the last sixteen in the worlds, if not the last eight. Will update the betting tracker tomorrow, annoyingly the PDC scoring website has forgotten the Gurney/Wright match existed so I'm going to need to see if ITV will do something right for once in their 62 year history (twice, deciding to allow Interceptor to be a thing was maybe the only exception) and allow me to replay the game to get the full stats. Maybe it'll also show on Youtube or our friends at @premiumdartdata on Twitter will give us the critical information. But, for now, the adjusted FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Daryl Gurney (UP 1)
4 Gary Anderson (DOWN 1)
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 Simon Whitlock (UP 1)
7 Phil Taylor (DOWN 1)
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Michael Smith
10 Alan Norris (UP 4)
11 Benito van de Pas (UP 1)
12 Rob Cross (UP 8)
13 Kim Huybrechts
14 Gerwyn Price (UP 2)
15 Ian White
16 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 6)
17 James Wade (DOWN 6)
18 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 1)
19 Joe Cullen
20 Adrian Lewis (DOWN 2)

Of those that got decent chunks this weekend outside of the top 20, Kyle Anderson is now at number 23 and breathing down the neck of Darren Webster, with Stephen Bunting just the one place behind him. Jonny Clayton is one place outside of the top 32, while everyone that played this weekend is within the top 64.

European Championship quarter finals

Fairly disappointing from a betting perspective in round 1, but when you have mostly an underdog line, six of the eight seeds make the quarters and one of the two that didn't missed match darts in the game you bet on him, then that will tend to happen - at least some of the underdog punts were live, King really should have taken Norris down from 4-3 up with the throw and leaving a two darter after nine, Ratajski hitting one of the bull shots he had early or cleaning up the last leg a lot better than he tried to do and it could have been a different story.

As mentioned, with six of the eight seeds making it to this stage, and the other two being winners of TV events this year, we have some good data to work with, let's take a quick look - I've not yet put in this weekend's data and am running with information since the worlds:

van Gerwen v Whitlock - have van Gerwen taking this a shade over 83% of the time, compared to Whitlock's 17%. The odds have van Gerwen at 1/7 and Whitlock getting close to 13/2, so maybe, just maybe, there is tiny value in betting on Whitlock, who must be confident following his whitewash of Alan Norris, may want to make it personal after the "textgate" incident at the Matchplay, and there's always a small possibility that van Gerwen's ankle issue recurs, but I'm not going to be the one to do it.

Anderson v Suljovic - Anderson's stats are actually slightly better than Mensur's, although this is over a much smaller sample, with Suljovic having won over twice as many legs as Anderson has. This sample does not include either player's TV wins, both of those being unranked. I think this comes down to doubling - Suljovic has been absolutely lights out in the first two games with 16/27 hitting for nearly a 60% clip, whereas Anderson had huge chunks of missed doubles and slow legs in general, which Klaasen couldn't punish. Anderson's averaging in losing legs is perfectly fine, which isn't indicating a big consistency issue, but he's going to need to tighten up and take more of the chances he generates.

Wright v Gurney - this line (8/13 Wright) looks very close to accurate. I've got Wright claiming this around 63% of the time, so no chance of a bet here. Oddly, I'd have expected this to generate a Wright bet, given that my stats usually tell me to lay Gurney early and often, so maybe with my stats possibly underestimating Gurney, and Wright avoiding a possible upset against Jonny Clayton, it should be a Gurney bet instead? Who knows. I wouldn't be surprised to see Daryl pull this one off, but I won't bet again.

Cross v Smith - Same line as the Wright game, except in Cross's favour. My stats have this as being the closest game of the night, with the stats barely favouring Smith, not getting up as much at 55%, so I think I'll go with the Smith punt here. Cross is in unchartered territory, at least as far as major tournaments go, and has yet to be really tested here with Chisnall not being at 100% and Schindler putting up little resistance, whereas Smith needed a last leg break against van de Pas and didn't have it all his own way against Aspinall either, needing the youngster to throw one dart in fifteen in the treble at 4-4 on throw to allow him to generate the break chance he needed. Will go fairly small here - 0.25u Smith 6/4

Monday 23 October 2017

European Championship Preview

Before I get into it properly, a quick note that Antonio Alcinas and Alexsandr Oreshkin managed to qualify for the worlds by winning the Southern Europe and Russian qualifiers respectively - Alcinas is someone who newer viewers may not know a great deal about, but he was very good around five years ago when he made back to back World Championships, losing to Wade in straight sets but pushing Andy Hamilton all the way in the year when Hamilton reached the finals, and more recently has made two Pro Tour quarter finals, indicating he's getting back to near those heights. Oreshkin has played more recently, beating Paul Lim in a prelim two years ago and pushing Mervyn King very hard in the first round proper. Both also have stage experience from the World Cup and are making very welcome returns to the big stage.

Will include some graphs, indicating each quarter's form in Europe this season. The top line indicates a runner up spot, next line a quarter final, next line below the last 32 and the bottom line not playing/qualifying. Should be straight forward. Also worth looking at these in conjunction with the previous post when the draw came out.

The van Gerwen quarter:

Obviously van Gerwen is the dominant force here, with only Mervyn King managing to make a final outside of the world number 1, with Whitlock and White managing to break through to the last four on occasion. I'm not touching the van Gerwen/Dekker game, purely because van Gerwen is injured. If that causes you to want to gamble on Dekker and not having the game called off because of van Gerwen being a non-runner, go right ahead, 12/1's a big price for a race to six. White/Webster I had lined up as a 60/40 based what they've done this season, whereas the bookies have it closer to evens, with Webster at 11/10. If I used all my data, which included Webster's god mode at the end of last season, it's probably right to call it a flip. Ian's outearned him on the Pro Tour, outperformed him in Europe, and I think it's worth the shot here, albeit small - 0.25u White 17/20. Whitlock/Richardson's a weird one, when Richardson is on he really cooks, he clips twelve darters at the same rate as Whitlock does over all my stats, but he's just so hot and cold - not converting in fifteen darts often enough, not scoring great when losing the legs, averaging 4.5 a throw lower than Whitlock does - if it wasn't for Whitlock's form, I might say take the punt on James given the price, which at 3/1 is decent, but Whitlock appears to be clicking at the right time so will ignore this one. This leaves King/Norris, with Norris perhaps surprisingly a small favourite. Mervyn's just got better stats all round, Norris has to his credit brought it on TV, but in these European events with a quick race to six, he's not made a single final session, which is quite remarkable given that, unless I'm mistaken, he's been seeded for every event so would only need two wins to get there. I'm liking the situation here, Norris has gone out in the first round of the last two Pro Tour events to Meulenkamp and Jacques, managed to lose to Dobey in the World Series qualifiers and didn't look close to Cullen last time out - 0.5u King 6/5.

The Suljovic quarter:

The only quarter with no winners, but we do have three losing finalists, a further semi finalist and six out of eight have made the final session, so this should be competitive. Suljovic got an absolutely awful draw in Kim Huybrechts, but is installed as a 4/7 favourite. My previous post had this as 50/50, but before we all start rushing to bet on the Belgian, consistency is key. He's only cleaned 91% of all legs won in my sample in 18 darts compared to Suljovic's 95%, and is over two points behind on scoring when not winning legs, so this may more than counteract that he finishes in twelve darts at over 15% compared to Suljovic at just under 12%. Kim's last two Euro adventures were very good, but he busted round 1 of the Grand Prix and has had recent losses to Mick Todd and Zoran Lerchbacher over this distance, which isn't too convincing. The winner will play either the other Huybrechts or Gerwyn Price, which has Price as a bit shorter than 2/1 on. My earlier projections had him at 64%, which isn't far off the line, and I think I can bump that up enough on current form, Ronny's had a couple of iffy Pro Tour defeats last time out. Klaasen faces Kist in an all Dutch affair, with Klaasen being 1/2, which if you look back at my previous stats, it seems crazy, until you remember that Kist had an absolute stinker last time out in Göttingen, is worse in most categories and, overall, despite Klaasen's inconsistency, scores less than Klaasen when losing and hasn't finished even half of all legs won in fifteen darts. This just leaves John Henderson and Kyle Anderson, both within one place of each other of the FRH rankings. Anderson's a 4/7 favourite, which is close to the projection I had in my previous post. Henderson's hitting form though, which should compensate enough to make it no bets in this section.

The Wright quarter:

Some big hitters here with four major title winners and two winners on the Pro Tour to go along with Peter Wright. Wright's first up against Ratajski. Wright is 2/9, which over a short format against a player who's completely dominated his qualifying section and made it to Alexandra Palace on European Tour money alone, as well as winning a BDO major, seems too short. My figures had this as 60/40, even if I'm off by a full 15 percentage points and he only has 25% equity this is still a profitable bet. 0.25u Ratajski 18/5. It's a concern that they have met three times in Europe this year and Wright's won all three, leading in legs 18-7, but Ratajski should be much more confident now. The winner will face either Jonny Clayton or Dimitri van den Bergh in what's a big chance for either to put some serious money in the bank to push towards the top 32. My stats have Dimitri as the favourite, whereas the bookies have Clayton leading the way. Clayton has made the senior breakthrough but van den Bergh probably has a touch more stage experience and is still crushing the Development Tour. With Clayton being confident I'll be a touch cautious here - 0.25u van den Bergh 6/5. Cullen against Bunting is our next game with Cullen only 60/40 at the bookies, whereas I have it closer to a 2/1 edge. Cullen has two Pro Tour wins this year and is beginning to get the hang of both the stage and the floor, and won both meetings against Bunting last year, at the UK Open and in the European Tour, both at big stage levels. Bunting's trending up but not enough for my liking - 0.5u Cullen 4/6.  This just leaves Gurney against Beaton, which my stats say is a flip but the bookmakers have our newest major champion as a 1/3 favourite. My stats don't count the Grand Prix given the unorthodox format, but Beaton clearly leads in experience, has made a European final this year, has won a Pro Tour event this year (beating Gary Anderson in the final, who just crushed Gurney 6-1 the round before) - should Gurney win? Yes. Should Gurney win more than 75% of the time? Probably not, 0.25u Beaton 3/1. Bets in all four games, my god.

The Smith quarter:

A winner and two finalists here, with another couple of players reaching the semi finals - several solid players and some dangerous wildcards. Michael Smith is your winner and he faces Nathan Aspinall - someone who doesn't have a tour card but is very good when he wants to be, as he was in reaching the world youth final a couple of years back, and in general has been in Europe. My previous stat post had Aspinall as fairly close to Smith, but still a dog - Smith busted round one in the previous two majors and has the pressure on him, and my sample on Aspinall isn't that small, but I think Smith gets through this one enough. The winner will play a Dutchman as van de Pas faces van der Voort in what my stats said is the most finely balanced first round game. The bookies favour van de Pas, possibly based just on rankings and a good recent Grand Prix where for the first two rounds he looked fantastic, but Vincent's been pulling into form of recent with his back seeming to hold up. There seems to be a bit of vig on the market so I may add van der Voort if if drifts a bit more but 5/4 is nothing to write home about. The other bit of this section features Rob Cross against Martin Schindler, both making names this season, Schindler for having the best record of any German and reaching the World Championship, whereas Cross has just crushed everything. Cross is shorter than 1/3, and my previous projection looks to be bang on the line. I can't see Schindler being able to hit enough good legs over even a short format to warrant a bet, Cross should have learned from a disappointing last time out on TV against Beaton and bring this home. This leaves Dave Chisnall, last man not to be seeded, against Cristo Reyes, two big scorers who can miss doubles in chunks on occasion (although Reyes is generally solid in that department). Chisnall's 2/5 and it looks to be an accurate line with me projecting him at 72%, gun to head I'd go Chizzy based on Reyes doing most of his best work before the summer break, being a touch lacklustre since the Matchplay, but there isn't a gun here so I just won't bet.

Sunday 22 October 2017

Second Division Darts, sponsored by some random bookmaker nobody uses

I posted a short while ago about how the PDC should have a play-in tournament to the Premier League instead of the Masters, then I thought why not go one further with the hypotheticals - let's have a whole second division instead. Logistically and commercially it never happens, even if they could easily sell out smaller venues, the likes of which were seen in the Premier League's infancy (finals day at the Circus Tavern anyone?), but I've taken the ten highest ranked players in the FRH rankings after the World Championship was finished, and then looked to their first meeting this season to give a results. Our line up is Mensur Suljovic, Benito van de Pas, Ian White, Michael Smith, Robert Thornton, Simon Whitlock, Alan Norris, Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price and Stephen Bunting. Terry Jenkins would have been the last man in, but it'd be stupid to include him in the exercise. I'm not interested in any sort of "but Suljovic would have been in the main field if the rumours were right and he didn't decline the invite" or "Bunting/Thornton etc did nothing in 2016, invite someone else instead" arguments, it's all a hypothetical, but for 2018 what I will do is take the top 4 players in the FRH rankings who weren't invited to the real Premier League, then hand out six wildcards, and run it throughout the year.

Our current rankings look as follows:

Norris 6-2, yet to play Thornton
Whitlock 5-2, yet to play Thornton, Bunting
Suljovic 4-3, yet to play van de Pas, Thornton
van de Pas 4-3, yet to play Suljovic, Bunting
Smith 4-4, yet to play Bunting
Price 4-4, yet to play Bunting
White 3-6
Gurney 3-6
Bunting 2-3, yet to play van de Pas, Smith, Whitlock, Price
Thornton 2-4, yet to play Suljovic, Whitlock, Norris

That surprises me quite a bit. I'd have thought Norris would be nowhere near the top, and I'd have thought Gurney wouldn't be in real danger of the relegation zone. van de Pas having a winning record is also somewhat surprising. As far as closing out the remaining games go, Suljovic and van de Pas are likely to meet in round 2 of the Players Championship, while the rest of the games involve Thornton or Bunting. Thornton's not likely to play anyone again, he didn't make Hasselt and the only player in the Players Championship Finals in his half is Whitlock, but as van Gerwen is also in that half, it's not likely to happen. Bunting can't realistically face anyone in Hasselt with nobody in his quarter, and while he could get rid of the Price match at Minehead, they'd both need to make the quarters and go through Anderson and Suljovic respectively. So, to complete the scores, I'll first call the games draws, then go back through most recent matches and take the result from 2016 or earlier.

Table if unplayed games are draws (breaking ties by head to head, van de Pas/Suljovic can't be done):

Norris 13 (W6-L2-D1)
Whitlock 12 (5-2-2)
Suljovic 10 (4-3-2)
van de Pas 10 (4-3-2)
Smith 9 (4-4-1)
Price 9 (4-4-1)
Bunting 8 (2-3-4)
Thornton 7 (2-4-3)
White 6 (3-6-0)
Gurney 6 (3-6-0)

Table if unplayed games use most recent game from pre-2017, breaking ties by head to head:

Norris 7-2
Whitlock 6-3
van de Pas 6-3
Price 5-4
Suljovic 5-4
Smith 4-5
White 3-6
Gurney 3-6
Thornton 3-6
Bunting 2-7

Thursday 19 October 2017

PDC Worlds international qualifiers

Today we finally got a bit of clarity as to what the remaining international qualifiers will be for Alexandra Palace, and it's a touch controversial, not only is it a case of them leaving everything until the last minute, with just eight weeks until the tournament kicks off (by contrast the entire BDO field has been announced and they kick off three weeks or so later), but it seems to be somewhat arbitrary as to how they've allocated the spots. Chucking an extra slot to Eastern Europe seems like a case of "get Ratajski in by any means necessary", and chucking one at whatever the NDFC is seems to be a case of giving Jeff Smith a spot on account of him not making the BDO worlds, due to their comically bad system of international qualifiers. A random spot for Africa just seems like a way to invite Devon Petersen, the only mystery is how they didn't give Max Hopp an auto-berth because darts in Germany is huge, presumably they guess he'll win the German qualifier (or the world youth, which seems even less likely). One spot for the Development Tour seems an odd one - there's already a slot for the best young player, i.e. whoever wins the world youth. Surely if you're going to give one to the minor tours you give it to Wayne Jones?

I'm not disputing that any of the players that had spots announce today don't deserve the spots, they're all excellent players on their day (for Ratajski and Smith it's most days, for Petersen less so), and I think we all want the best players on the oche in the biggest event of the season, but it seems a bit odd that they've allocated things in this way. Does anyone actually think that if Ratajski won one more game on the European Tour they'd give a spot to Madars Razma or Nandor Bezzeg, depending on how they define eastern Europe? If Smith had made Lakeside and took that opportunity they'd give a spot to Dion Laviolette? What if Petersen had won the last Pro Tour event from nowhere, would they give a spot to whoever the next best African player is? I'm not even going to try to work out who that might be. The weirdest thing about Ratajski is that they took away the four spots for next best Europeans, and he'd have got the first one of those positions anyway.

Monday 16 October 2017

European Championship draw out

That was quick. Got to feel a bit for Suljovic and Kim Huybrechts in getting really awkward draws, but that's the nature of seeding eight players, you'll get oddities like Norris drawing Taylor last year. Ratajski seems to be confirmed in and doesn't have the easiest draw in Peter Wright, and apart from Suljovic the seeds appear to have dodged major bullets. The unseeded games all look to be quite well balanced, which is somewhat refreshing and should allow for some tense moments particularly given the quick race in the first round.

I'm posting the below bunch of stats (my god Google Sheets is so much easier to format on than Openoffice), there are no recommended bets yet as the draw's only been out and there's still a week plus so nothing's going anywhere. One thing I didn't list is that the FRH rankings listed on the sheet include the mincash for this event, so they will look a bit different to those posted up yesterday after Göttingen (i.e. Whitlock's now passed Taylor). So, without further ado, the initial FRH stat barrage, complete with conditional formatting and everything - if it's a bit small, a full size version should be available at https://i.imgur.com/z3O1hNx.png if it's too small and can't click through to resize:

Sunday 15 October 2017

ET12 aftermath

Michael van Gerwen's just claimed yet another title, being pressured well by Rob Cross who forced the Dutchman to pull out some huge checkouts at critical moments. I won't go through the whole best and worst formally for this one, other than saying it was another great performance by van Gerwen, winning his first three matches today for the loss of just two legs, Cross did well again, Andy Boulton can be happy with his weekend although the win against van der Voort was a bit fortunate with just one of six legs won being real quality legs, Keegan Brown also continued his recent resurgence in form with two quality wins before running into Cross. Kist has to be real disappointed with his 6-0 loss to Dekker and a very poor average, Benito van de Pas got whitewashed as well, James Wade also suffered a real bad defeat in the opening round.

In terms of seedings for the Euros, Suljovic and Klaasen held the number 4 and 5 seeds, Cross nipped up to 6 to be in the same section as Smith, knocking Cullen down to 7, while Whitlock was able to hold on to the final seeding spot.

New adjusted FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gary Anderson
4 Daryl Gurney
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 Phil Taylor
7 Simon Whitlock
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Michael Smith
10 Raymond van Barneveld
11 James Wade
12 Benito van de Pas
13 Kim Huybrechts (UP 1)
14 Alan Norris (DOWN 1)
15 Ian White
16 Gerwyn Price
17 Jelle Klaasen
18 Adrian Lewis
19 Joe Cullen
20 Rob Cross (NEW)

No real big swings as can be expected with van Gerwen grabbing the bulk of the cash, but Cross as reported earlier is now in the top 20 with a seven grand cushion over Mervyn King. Of those that have had big performances since the last update (so incorporating the midweek Players Championship events), James Wilson grabs the last spot in the top 30, Jonny Clayton is up to 37, Wattimena moves ahead of Terry Jenkins who rounds out the top 40, Jamie Caven climbs a few spots to 42, Keegan Brown is back into the top 60, and Andy Boulton is one place outside the top 64. Jeffrey de Zwaan's solid week sees him in the top 80, Alcinas is less than a grand from the top 100, while in ten days' time Colin Lloyd will drop off the list altogether.

With just an exhibition this week don't expect many updates until the European Championship draw is done, I've spotted some small errors in my database that I want to clean up, although as they date back to, at the latest, the BDO worlds, they won't make any difference to any filtered stats if I take it from a year, and all come from players with big sample sizes so won't really affect anything significantly anyway. Not heard anything as to whether the remaining World Masters stats will get posted so I've got to assume they won't at this stage.

ET12 quarter final preview and permutations

Odds are up, a quick run down of the games:

Smith/Cross - Cross is installed as around a 60/40 favourite. My data has this as closer but with Cross still being the favourite, factor in that Cross is the more consistent player (nearly a three point lead on losing average) and I think there's not enough value there to consider betting.

Chisnall/Huybrechts - Can throw consistency out of the window here as they're both prone to missing chunks of doubles and taking legs off, the model has this split pretty much 50/50, so with Huybrechts being the 6/4 dog you might start to think about betting him, especially coming off a final in the last European Tour event, I don't think I want to do that though, Chisnall does have the higher losing average, seems to have been doing more all year and will probably do just enough in terms of outscoring the Belgian to compensate for a bit of doubling flakiness.

Whitlock/Boulton - Boulton's a bit of a surprise package this weekend, I have less than 30 (winning) legs of data on him compared to over 200 for Whitlock, he beat Gurney yesterday so can't be playing too badly, I'll ignore this one from a betting standpoint though as there's too many unknowns.

van Gerwen/Cullen - You can get nearly 6/1 on Cullen, which might not be too ridiculous a play. I've got him at 14% to win the match before a deciding leg, and a deciding leg would happen 20% of the time, however he's not looked on top form this weekend, doing enough against some mediocre opponents, van Gerwen looked good against Bunting just now so will have no bets at the quarter final stage.

The Euro field is set barring Boulton making the final, the only question is who's going to be seeded. With Wright going out early the 1-2-3 are locked as van Gerwen, Wright and Smith, Suljovic and Klaasen are currently 4 and 5, but aren't safe in those spots - Cullen's currently number 6 but can get above Klaasen by making the final and above Suljovic with a win - Cross is currently 7 but can also overtake Suljovic with a win, he's four grand behind Cullen with a better countback so if he reaches the final and Cullen doesn't he'd move above Cullen. Whitlock's the last seed and three grand behind Cross, so would need to reach the final to get any higher, tough given that it'd likely need him to go through van Gerwen. Chisnall is two grand behind Whitlock but with an inferior countback record, so he would need to make the final with either Whitlock not doing the same or Cross losing in the quarter final. For Cross and Whitlock and Chisnall, a win would see them all claim the number four seed. Huybrechts is the only remaining player who might get a seed, he would need to reach the final as a minimum, but that would rely on Whitlock not beating Boulton - if that happens Huybrechts would need to win it all, which would see him get the number 5 seed.

Premier League lineup

Few too many shandies yesterday so no opportunity to post any round 3 analysis from the Euro Tour, I didn't see any outstanding value, but I hope people were on yesterday's 4/4 special.

It's getting close to the end of the season, and there's a few discussions on various media regarding what the Premier League lineup should be. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here, but I think that they should get rid of the Masters (there's very little money in it, it's unranked and you're not seeing anyone you won't be seeing extremely frequently all year, so why bother?) and use that weekend as a Premier League play-in. I'd have it provide two spots from eight invites, with a double elimination setup to allow everyone plenty of TV time - have Saturday afternoon be the winners round 1 (four games), Saturday evening be the winners round 2 and losers round 1 (four games), Sunday afternoon have the losers round 2 and 3 (three games), and then Sunday evening have the winners final and then losers round 4 and the final (three games). This setup would naturally allow a slightly longer match at the business end on Sunday (something like race to 10 on Saturday, race to 12 on Sunday). So what would my lineup be?

van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Wright are locks to be in the top 4 and get an automatic spot. Suljovic and Gurney have to be in there as well based on what they've done, and one is probable to be the final top 4 spot regardless. Barney seems certain based on popularity (especially given no Phil) and seems to still be doing enough to warrant a place on merit. Chisnall is probably the best English player at the moment and has a win on tour, which takes us up to seven, and I'd probably give my eighth automatic spot to Whitlock, based on three ranking titles this year and making a major final. If someone does something amazing in the remaining majors then he'd be the last man out. This then leaves two spots, which as mentioned above I'd have as a play in - I'd invite the following:

Michael Smith - Euro Tour win, only active player in the FRH top 10 not to be in automatically, still young, high scoring and exciting
James Wade - Would be weird not to at least give him a chance of making it, has done little this year so if he beats this field he'd deserve to be in
Adrian Lewis - Similar to Wade, except he's the better natural talent, has a win on tour this year. Both Lewis and Wade did enough to not get immediately dumped out of this year's Premier League, so should get a shot at staying in
Rob Cross - Incredible opening season, find it hard to give him an automatic place given relative lack of success in TV tournaments, but I doubt you'd find anyone that'd not give him the chance to play in (as an aside, with his win earlier today over Keegan Brown, he is now into the FRH top 20)
Gerwyn Price - Polarising figure, field could use a heel to use some wrestling lingo, can back it up with the game on occasions as seen when he reached the UK Open final
Kyle Anderson - Won a TV event, albeit unranked, has a Pro Tour win, deceptively underranked on most rankings lists due to his absence late last year giving him zeroes where he could easily have picked up 30 grand or more
Joe Cullen - Two Pro Tour titles, seems to be continuing to grow as a player, well inside the top 20 so surely not too ridiculous to offer the chance in a format that includes sixteen players
Corey Cadby - Big wildcard entry, but current world youth champion, nobody is questioning his talent and potential, good World Series performances, this naturally assumes he switches to the PDC full time, sorts visas etc.

Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts I don't think have done enough all season to warrant entry, for various reasons their previous campaigns were disappointing through no fault of their own, but some cycling of players seems necessary. From other names in the FRH top 20, Phil's retiring, Benito's done nothing all year, if he was going to get in it should have been last season, Alan Norris has had way too many events go horribly wrong for my liking, and Ian White's been quiet this season and, despite his quality, isn't the sort of name I think people would flock in to see.

Saturday 14 October 2017

ET12 round 2 bets

Quick one this before the session starts:

van de Pas/Brown - lacking data on Brown, the data I have leans towards Benito even at the current price, Brown's match (I don't have yesterday's games in my database yet) and the players' respective form should even it out a bit, enough to make it a no bet.

Norris/Richardson - there might be tiny value on Richardson, my data has it as quite close to the current line but possibly pushing Richardson over the edge on form, but it's close enough to ignore. 7/4 would likely be a bet, 6/4 not so much.

Price/Clayton - Clayton, fresh off the back of a tour victory, at near 2/1 against someone in indifferent form who he's already beaten on a much bigger stage? Yes please, 0.25u Clayton 9/5

Smith/Wattimena - Smith's rightly a big favourite here, may be very close to a Smith bet actually, but Wattimena seems to be doing enough to not punt here when also factoring in Smith's swingy form on the European Tour.

Chisnall/Wilson - Chisnall's a big odds on favourite and I really can't see Wilson having enough to win often enough to bet him, but he probably pulls the upset often enough to stop me going on Chizzy either.

Cullen/West - Cullen's been pretty good all year and isn't playing badly at all, I think he's got a much better chance than the market suggests against West, who won 6-1 yesterday but didn't average well in doing so, think Cullen grinds this out comfortably, 0.5u Cullen 1/2

White/van der Voort - seems a fairly even game. I have White having a small edge, so does the market, gun to my head I'd punt VVDV for the upset but it's close enough not to.

Bunting/Eidams - I lack the data on Eidams to properly assess his chances here, Bunting looked alright in Dublin so I'll leave this alone.

Huybrechts/Aspinall - Aspinall looks live here, I'm not sure whether he's quite live enough to get there at 7/4, the foot might be slightly off the pedal after getting the win that looks like it's got him in the Euros, so will avoid this.

Klaasen/Dobey - A lot of the data on Dobey is fairly old, that does put it as a Dobey bet, but I'm reluctant to do so, he's got the critical win already so may relax a touch. Could be worth it if you fancy an upset bet, Klaasen isn't exactly reliable.

Cross/Caven - Cross looks like a juggernaut right now, and is a huge favourite and rightly so. 1u Cross 1/4

Wright/Schindler - Schindler's got the important work done, can't see Wright dropping this one - 1u Wright 1/5

Whitlock/Ratajski - Critical game for the Pole, both are in great form, the line favours Whitlock but not by much, my data favours Whitlock by a lot but it seems a bit false given the situation.

van Gerwen/Lerchbacher - LOL

King/Dekker - Line looks close enough, both are playing OK, think King may be undervalued a touch but not enough to start betting.

Gurney/Boulton - Not touching that at the line with the lack of info on Boulton.

Friday 13 October 2017

Göttingen round 1 - analysis

Have watched nothing due to equally important priorities due to beers and pub, but will quickly run down each of the games and what it means:

Todd/Wattimena - Not a huge deal, Todd couldn't do anything and Wattimena was safe for the worlds regardless, he keeps his Euros chances alive but it's a long shot.

Evans/Lerchbacher - Similar situation, except Lerchbacher has an extra grand on the Euro tour, but as he plays MvG I'm ignoring these possibilities entirely.

Worsley/Brown - Brown's basically got in the worlds, and while Worsley's quietly had an OK season, he couldn't do anything. Brown would need at least an evening session on the Sunday before anything changes.

Razma/Wilson - Madars has come into form a bit but left it too late to do anything this year, Wilson's win is hugely key as he was very much on the Hasselt bubble before today. Without working out tiebreakers he may be in already but at the very least he may just be relying on Jonny Clayton not going crazy, which is entirely possible.

Clayton/Bilderl - See the above, Clayton needs to keep on winning, the worlds was safe even before Wednesday but to make Hasselt he may need more, fortunately he's in a section of the draw where that's viable, Price then Smith/Wattimena isn't that ridiculous a section.

Meeuwisse/Caven - Nothing really riding on this.

Quantock/West - This was a heartbreaker for team Quanny. The loss, while not knocking him out of Hasselt as far as I am aware, has made his position really precarious, but more importantly it killed any chance of making the worlds directly.

Schindler/Bowles - Martin was already a lock for Hasselt, but this score has taken quite a lot of the random scenarios that would deny him an Ally Pally berth out of the equation. It's probably mathematically certain at this stage, but if I'm wrong I'm not going to bok him and say he's in.

Ratajski/Thornton - Ratajski has declined his BDO worlds spot, which seems absolutely fine given that he'd only get a spot into the prelims, and that doing so gives him free entry into the PDC Euros, which financially makes a lot of sense. If he can beat Whitlock I think he's in the PDC worlds, which would be huge.

van der Voort/Blum - Vincent picked up another grand which, while he's safe in the worlds regardless, just gives a bit more buffer room in case there's random weird stuff that could threaten his seed. Blum seemed to play OK and is very much looking like one to watch as the new world youth Master.

Richardson/van den Bergh - Huge result for James, who, considering other results, looks to have locked a Hasselt spot and taken any weird worlds qualification scenarios out of the equation, if they still exist. Dimitri was safe in everything that this event affects, so no huge loss there.

de Zwaan/Eidams - Bit of a surprise result, but the game affects nothing re: the majors.

Aspinall/Wade - Oh god James, what was that? He's now confirmed out of Hasselt, Nathan's got to be very close to confirmed if not confirmed, Aspinall would need a final to get anything extra out of this, but wow. At least Wade tried, unlike other big names.

Dobey/Allenstein - Other results had helped a lot, but Chris's win here looks to have made the worlds safe.

Painter/Boulton - Critical loss for Kevin, as we stand he's the last man into Ally Pally, but one win for Ratajski tomorrow and he's done. Until someone has visa issues.

Dekker/Kist - Oh dear Christian. Dekker dotted the I's and crossed the T's today, it probably didn't need doing but you may as well make sure.

Round 1 in the bag. If bets arise for round 2 I'll post them up tomorrow morning with minimal writeup just so you can get on.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Players Championship - done!

If you had a Clayton/Wilson/Caven/de Zwaan last four, then can I have a few ounces of whatever you're smoking please?

Big congrats to Clayton for getting his first victory, Caven managing a semi final from nowhere to grab a Minehead spot, Alcinas made a quarter to do the same, while the likes of Dekker, de Graaf and Dobey did what they need to in order to make it there. Also congrats to Rob Cross for winning the whole thing and getting the number 1 seed

I've thrown together a few spreadsheets, finding out the following:

- There's a huge face off in Göttingen between Alan Norris and Kim Huybrechts to see who can lose the most ranking money on the European Tour through the seeds losing in round 2 get nothing rule, both of them on a tie for £12,000 lost. If they both miraculously win, Ian White or Benito van de Pas could join them in a tie for first.

- Terry Jenkins is, barring playing the Grand Slam qualifier, winning it and then getting out of his group as a minimum, out of the World Championship following James Wilson's final today. It puts him £4,250 ahead of Jenkins for the final seed with all certain qualification for majors counted, with Wilson getting another grand guaranteed from Europe this weekend.

- As such, it makes calculations for Ally Pally a lot easier. The seeds are presently van Gerwen, Wright, Gary Anderson, Gurney, Adrian Lewis, Suljovic, Taylor, Chisnall, van Barneveld, Whitlock, Wade, Klaasen, Michael Smith, van de Pas, Norris, Price, White, Kim Huybrechts, Cullen, King, Bunting, Beaton, Kyle Anderson, Darren Webster, Reyes, Thornton, Cross, Mark Webster, Henderson, Pipe, van der Voort and Wilson. Of those just outside, Kist has the best realistic chance, sitting £7,250 behind Wilson and also in ET12, but unlike anyone else just outside, he has the European Championship in the bag for more potential money. Wilson however looks pretty decent to make it himself, but not a certainty. Regardless, everyone that might be in danger at the lower ends of things is safe to make it from the Pro Tour regardless, barring VERY weird Grand Slam results.

- That leaves the Pro Tour as the alternative, with Clayton now topping the standings above North, Kist and Ronny Huybrechts, who are well ahead of everyone else. Wattimena, van den Bergh, West, Lerchbacher and Jacques all look very safe with just the European Tour to go, all being more than three grand ahead of last man out Martin Schindler, and with more to add in Göttingen (except for Jacques). Richardson, Dekker, Keegan Brown and Lennon should be OK, with all but Lennon also in Göttingen, all are safely ahead of last man in Darren Johnson and last man out Martin Schindler (who can qualify for ET12 through the home nation qualifier, so the biggest weekend of his career so far potentially - Johnson didn't qualify). Dobey and Painter are both just ahead of Johnson as a result of this weekend's minimum grand, but can easily be overhauled by Schindler if he wins the qualifier, while Quantock and Ratajski are both outside but within striking distance of Johnson with a win, and reaching Sunday would put both over Dobey and Painter should they go out on Friday. Nobody else in ET12 is close, the next nearest being Aspinall but he'd need to reach at least a semi final. Just outside are Brendan Dolan, whose Ally Pally hopes may rely on a Minehead run through at least Mervyn King and probably Darren Webster, Robbie Green and Ryan Searle also fell just short, but can't realistically get a seed.

Everything's going to be a lot clearer after this weekend, which could easily have some huge pressure games dependent on the draw, both in terms of the worlds and also in terms of locking in the last few Hasselt spots. I'll hopefully be back late tomorrow with some quick odds, failing that Saturday morning. Regardless, that PDPA qualifier is going to be stacked.

Tuesday 10 October 2017


Not really an accurate title, given that these questions have not been asked frequently, or for that matter asked, but I thought with it getting towards the business end of the season I'd answer a few things that might come up often:

What was with the name?

It comes from the old blog Fire Joe Morgan, criticising bad journalism/punditry etc, and Harrington's the worst of the lot (at least in darts, if I was given godly P45 powers to use on one commentator, he'd be at the back of a queue containing Dennis Taylor, ITV's entire football unit, and if someone ever gives him a job again, Phil Simms), lacking the knowledge of a Part, Nicholson or a lot of those who aren't even ex-players, lacking the entertainment value of a Mardle, continually likening darts players to electricians or other tradesmen, having an irrational fear of switching from one double to another at the same level straight in the middle of two that most players like (nobody thinks 8's to 4's is a bad switch, oddly enough, despite 4's being the same height as 9's, and 8's being close to the opposite side of the board), seemingly being completely clueless as to why anyone would ever switch from treble 20 despite it being obvious to anyone who's analysed things even slightly, I could go on.

What are the FRH rankings you post up after each event?

I posted up on this right at the start of the blog, but that's over 120 posts away by now. They work exactly the same as the PDC rankings except they favour recent results, namely keeping everything at 100% of value for around four months, then degrading at 1% every six days until, after two years, they reach zero at the same time as the official rankings do. They also do not arbitrarily remove money for non tour card holders at the end of the year, don't arbitrarily score a first round seed loss on the European Tour as zero.

How do you derive a lot of the winning chances you list?

I have a large spreadsheet containing the results of (at present - edited before the 2019 worlds) over 6,000 darts matches on both sides of the PDC/BDO divide which tells me how quickly each player finished the leg when they won, and how many points they scored if they didn't. It's easy from there with a pivot table to tally everything for a player over a given time frame, then look at percentages of how quickly they kill legs. I then throw them against each other - it's a fairly simple formula, if someone on throw finishes in four visits they win (I exclude the remote chance of a nine darter), if they finish in five visits they win unless the other guy finishes in four visits, etc etc. These then give chances for each player to win/lose a leg on throw, from there I can extrapolate to set victories and so on.

What are all those unit things that you list in the bets?

It's typical to vary a bet size depending on confidence and odds, 1 unit would be a standard bet for however much you want to bet, if something's a longer price or I have less confidence I might reduce the amount bet or vice versa. It's easier to track this way and you can then multiply by whatever your standard stake would be. ROI means the same as it does in normal usage.

Do you play yourself and do you suck?

Yes and yes. Presently using 24g Winmau Simon Whitlock darts (not the current version, from about 2014-15 or so), cheap standard poly stems and thick standard flights (pink, naturally) off of Darts Corner, all carried in Target's Tacoma wallet which is a great bit of kit. Previously used 25g Designa straight knurled darts, again from Darts Corner.

Will edit this post as and when I think of new stuff to add and/or get asked relevant questions.

Players Championship 21

Rob Cross grabbed yet another title in an incredible debut season, while Adrian Lewis had somewhat of a return to form, and there were a couple of surprise semi-finalists in Jermaine Wattimena and Willie O'Connor, Wattimena ending any doubt about worlds qualification with that result. Yesterday I posted up players high in the FRH rankings who were in doubts for various comps, how did they do today?

Dobey - first round bust to Andy Boulton. It's not looking good, he requires, ideally, to at least win his board tomorrow (unlike today, it looks like he won't be seeded, although today he was seeded on Wright's board, so whether that'd be a help, who knows), hope that Jenkins misses on the worlds to effectively free up another Pro Tour spot, and at least win one game in Göttingen, if not reach Sunday.

Jenkins - got to the board final but then got thrashed by de Zwaan. With Adie waiting in the last 16 he's not left much on the table, but every little bit counts. Needs a good run and then to pray to god that the likes of Wilson, Kist, Dolan etc don't sun run at any future majors, or even this weekend as most people just below him are playing in Europe.

van den Bergh - first round casualty to Max Hopp. While he's safe for the worlds, he is now outside the top 64 so needs two wins tomorrow to start to feel safe.

Hopp - went out the round after to Robert Owen, needing snookers at this stage to make anything.

Lewis - only made round two where he ran into Daryl Gurney, needs a quarter final to make Minehead and, with not playing Göttingen, a round further to stand any chance at making the worlds.

Caven - made the board final, losing to Willie O'Connor, a quarter final in theory could get him into Minehead if results went perfectly for him, but realistically would need a semi.

Payne - out round one to Jonny Clayton, not the easiest draw but not the hardest, making the board final tomorrow might be enough to make Minehead, but would like to win the board to be really safe.

Meulenkamp - got Rob Cross round one and didn't win a leg. Ouch. Presently a grand off Minehead, with no Europe this weekend he's left himself too much to do for the worlds barring a run like he had in Riesa.

Gilding - drew Steve West first round and went out, needs a grand minimum and realistically a board win to reach Minehead.

de Graaf - lost round one to Kist, which ended realistic Ally Pally hopes, but as stated yesterday he was at least the right side of the Minehead line. Would require a bizarre set of results for him to not make it at this stage, one win should be enough to seal a spot.

Rodriguez - not a bad effort to get to the board final and run Wade close, but nowhere near the sort of spectacular performance needed to get close to any sort of qualification.

Murnan - now just the right side of the line after a close win over Darren Johnson before running into Lewis, but his position is incredibly precarious and needs a board final tomorrow to even start to feel safe.

McGowan - lost first round to Callan Rydz so for all intents and purposes is done.

Petersen - got a tough opening round draw in Joe Cullen, ran him close but running him close doesn't make money so he's looking at a quarter final to stand any chance of Minehead.

Michael - edged out in a decider round one to Justin Pipe, so will need at least a couple of wins tomorrow, and winning the board to feel really safe. He doesn't have Europe this weekend as a backup, so for Ally Pally he's going to need a semi final run and to hope that results go his way.

Evans - lost to Harry Robinson in a not particularly close game, so almost certainly done for the season.

Dekker - lost round one to O'Connor, probably needs one win to be safe for Minehead, his worlds qualification is a touch closer following today's results, but with Göttingen as a last chance saloon if results go very odd, he's got room to play with.

van Duijvenbode - opening round loss to Warrick Scheffer, so barring at least a quarter final he's going to need a regional qualifier to have any chance of anything.

Pallett - lost opening round to Harry Ward. Probably needs one win to be sure of Minehead, which is all he can qualify for at this stage.

Other people to keep an eye out on tomorrow for worlds qualification purposes - Peter Jacques, James Richardson and Keegan Brown are all in the worlds right now, but certainly not immune to strange results. Brown and Richardson are in Europe at the weekend so will have that as a last chance if things go badly. Lennon, Painter, Dekker and Schindler are the last four in, but should be beneficiaries of Jenkins dropping out of the top 32. Dekker and Painter have Europe as a boost, Lennon doesn't (who lost to Painter in the final qualifying round, ironically enough) while Schindler should get through the home nation qualifier, the extra grand should make a big difference. Darren Johnson and Chris Quantock are currently the last men out, Quantock has two shots to get money with Europe this weekend but is £250 behind Johnson as things stand. Dobey and Ratajski are a further £250 behind again, Dobey we've mentioned and Ratajski isn't playing, so would need to win a game in Göttingen, possibly two. Green and Dolan are further behind again and needing a minimum of a board final, Dolan still has an outside shot of making Ally Pally as a seed, he's not far off Jenkins but is really going to need a good run at Minehead and hoping that in particular Christian Kist doesn't do well anywhere, who's currently ahead of him and has an extra major to try to hit paydirt in. Everyone else is looking at miracles, although James Wilson is in the mix for a seed as well, West could bring himself into contention with a good run.

Monday 9 October 2017

I've been in the danger zone

So this is it, the next two days will decide who will make the Players' Championship Finals, and in a large part decide who will make the World Championship, with just one European Tour event left to count towards the Pro Tour rankings. Let's take a look at who, in order of FBH rankings (who are in the top 64), is currently in the danger zone for qualification to Minehead - which I'll classify as being at under 10 grand in winnings in Players Championships this year, i.e. having less than £1,500 worth of cushion to play with (currently number 65 in the rankings is on £8,500), I'll ignore Phil as he's not playing the events:

#36 Chris Dobey - Currently on £9,500. Huge event for him as he's outside of the worlds cutoff right now, even counting the grand he will get from Göttingen.

#38 Terry Jenkins - On zero. He needs some money in the bank to try to edge ahead of James Wilson or John Henderson, both of whom are directly above him accounting for Burton's projections re: major qualification. Presently he's out of the worlds, it'll take some effort to get anything like safe for it.

#42 Dimitri van den Bergh - On £8,750 and the last man in as it stands. He seems to have been playing OK but really needs two cashes or to win his board one day to feel really comfortable. He is at least looking safe for the worlds based on European money.

#43 Max Hopp - On £3k, so way, way off the mark. With continued failures in Europe putting him well below the qualification point for anything, he's going to need a career best senior performance or risk missing out on everything. Should still be able to have a shot at Ally Pally through the German qualifier if worst comes to worst.

#44 Jamie Lewis - On £7k, so a board final or better plus a last 32 is probably going to be the minimum requirement. He's not made the last European event, so making the worlds will need a miracle at more than £3k below the cutoff.

#46 Jamie Caven - In even worse shape than his namesake on £6k. He is at least in Göttingen, but as this is only his second appearance in Europe, he's so far off worlds qualification that it'll be the PDPA qualifier or bust barring miracles (like, say, the one he had before the 2016 Matchplay).

#48 Josh Payne - Not too much to do, he's currently on £8,500, so a couple of cashes will likely be enough, likely too far off the worlds as like Caven he's not done anything in Europe, but in Riesa he at least showed signs of life so ought to make the last 64 for Minehead.

#49 Ron Meulenkamp - On £8k, so a bit trickier than Payne's ask, but like Payne he was showing form in Riesa, so this is certainly possible.

#50 Andrew Gilding - On £8,250, hit a little bit of form in Ireland so seems like a fair punt to sneak in. Isn't getting much help at all from Europe or UK Open qualifiers, so it'll be last chance saloon at the PDPA qualifier unless he miraculously returns to early 2015 form right now.

#52 Jeffrey de Graaf - Should be safe on £9,750 if he can win a game over the two days, two ought to be close to absolutely safe. Probably too much to do for Ally Pally at four grand under the cutoff and not being in Göttingen though.

#53 Rowby John Rodriguez - way down at £5k, and with little help from other Pro Tour events, is going to need to final something to make Minehead or win the whole thing to make the worlds.

#54 Joe Murnan - has had a quiet season but has picked up £8,500 over the course of the year to make him the last man out as of right now. He doesn't even get up to £12k on all Pro Tour winnings so would need to win the thing to make the worlds - but he's at least done that before, so that's something.

#55 Mick McGowan - on just four grand. Has made more in Europe and about half that in the UK Open qualifiers, so not getting it done on the bread and butter that is the UK circuit is costing him, and can't even rely on the Tom Kirby now.

#56 Devon Petersen - at £7.5k isn't too far off the mark, but unlike last season can't rely on Europe to push him into the main event at the end of the year. Far too many zeroes and £500's on his record, must improve this week or he's going nowhere.

#57 John Michael - only just outside right now on £8,500. Is a couple of grand below the worlds cutoff at present, so isn't completely out of things in terms of direct qualification rather than needing a regional qualifier.

#59 Ricky Evans - languishing on £5,500, and showing little form to indicate he can get close to making Minehead. Is in the final European Tour event, but he's barely in five figures for all Pro Tour events so can't really backdoor the worlds through that.

#60 Jan Dekker - currently safe on £9,500, decent work in Europe means he's also about the same above the cutoff for Ally Pally. Just picking up a couple of wins these next two days should make him safe for both, with Göttingen being a potential safety valve if results don't go his way.

#62 Dirk van Duijvenbode - at £7,250. Needs a board win as a minimum really, and needs to do that twice to have any chance of the worlds, being three grand below that cutoff as we speak.

#63 Dave Pallett - at £9,500 like Dekker, unlike Dekker he's not done enough elsewhere to be within touching distance of the worlds so is going to need the PDPA qualifier.

Thanks to Burton for posting up the at a glance guide to who's won what making this post a lot easier.

Saturday 7 October 2017

World Grand Prix aftermath and other musings

Huge congrats to Daryl Gurney, claiming his first major title, and in fairness congrats to everyone that made the semi finals who can all be happy with their week's work - Simon Whitlock for coming so close to binking, making a first major final in quite some time, John Henderson for two tremendous upset victories, and Mensur Suljovic continuing to solidify a great autumn. Obviously given there were no posts since before the quarter finals I didn't see a great deal of value in the betting, probably should have shot on Suljovic over Wright but I won't be losing any sleep over it.

The result is that Gurney and Whitlock claim Grand Slam places, and it's getting a bit crowded with fourteen players now having spots through the various majors and other events that the PDC calls majors, meaning that once Michael Smith takes one of the remaining spots from his European Tour victory, there's only one slot left from the Pro Tour - currently allocated to Adrian Lewis, which is far too precarious a position to be in. It only takes someone like a Rob Cross, Joe Cullen etc to bink Göttingen (not that unrealistic a suggestion and are in the other half to MvG giving four people shots to take him out before they have to do it themselves), or someone going on a mad run and finalling Hasselt in order to knock him out of it.

BDO update - someone got back to me on email, which is nice, and the last 16 game that wasn't uploaded did get done in the end, although there's still no sign of anything beyond that. I would just grab it manually, it's only first to two leg sets so it wouldn't take that long, but I'm not sure I can be bothered with VPNing in order to manually scrape data that I'm not that likely to use to make bets given it's the BDO. They've also set their worlds field following their qualifiers, I don't know how effective their ranking system is given the quality of the non-seeds looks a fair bit better than the quality of the seeds, particularly the lower ones, I'd take Waites/Adams/Labanauskas/Noppert/Ratajski over Williams/Mandigers/Baetens/Phillips/Hurrell very, very quickly. Ratajski's going to have to make a decision soon, I think it'll depend on how he does at Göttingen, if he wins enough games to qualify for Ally Pally then that seems like a very easy decision, otherwise he's got to assess whether taking the European Championship money is worth it (and if that eliminates him from Lakeside which I assume it would).

Willie O'Connor won the Tom Kirby and thus makes the PDC worlds. I'd guess that he's got enough in the rankings that he gets straight to round 1, and could potentially be a danger to a few seeds. He's really hot and cold but seems to be having a decent enough season.

It's a busy and important week now, with the final Pro Tour events (Jenkins has at least entered these, but if Burton's figures are correct as they usually are, he definitely needs something as he's provisionally out as of right now) before the final European events, after those have finished we'll know the fields for two more majors and be able to work out World Championship permutations with a lot more certainty.

One thing I do want to do is to have a year end awards post, although I'm unsure on what categories to use. Here's what I have in mind as of right now:

- Player of the Year
- Most Improved Player of the Year
- Best Young Player (no real cutoff in mind for top age, am likely to consider everything as a whole and think that someone towards a sensible upper age would have to do more than someone who's barely started)
- Best New Tour Card Holder (not really thinking that best new player is a great category, as nobody's completely new nowadays)
- Best Tournament Win
- Most Disappointing Year
- Favourite Moment of the Year

I could add match of the year, but I'm reluctant to do so, as I could roll that up into the last category which is basically a personal favourite category anyway, and I don't watch extensively enough in order to really think of what to go for, whereas I have ideas for all of the other categories (which would include somewhere between 2-4 runners up for each one). Thoughts for categories that I could add?

New adjusted FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gary Anderson
4 Daryl Gurney (UP 3)
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 Phil Taylor (DOWN 2)
7 Simon Whitlock (UP 3)
8 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 2)
9 Michael Smith (DOWN 1)
10 Raymond van Barneveld (UP 1)
11 James Wade (DOWN 2)
12 Benito van de Pas (UP 4)
13 Alan Norris
14 Kim Huybrechts (DOWN 2)
15 Ian White (DOWN 1)
16 Gerwyn Price (UP 1)
17 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 2)
18 Adrian Lewis
19 Joe Cullen
20 Mervyn King

Henderson jumps to number 28 following his semi final, one place behind fellow Scot Robert Thornton. Out of second round players, Beaton climbs to number 24, Steve West enters the top 30 while Richard North is up to number 47. Gurney is less than 20 grand behind Gary Anderson for the number 3 spot - who knows what might happen with a good weekend?

Wednesday 4 October 2017

World Grand Prix quarter final preview

And then there were eight, while yesterday had a couple of well contested affairs (thanks for missing five match darts Chizzy), the latter half of that event and today as a whole was mostly one sided, so there should be plenty of people coming into this in form, in an event that's fairly wide open, let's have a quick look at the quarter final lineup - note that the percentage to win sets on throw is, again, based on the data I have on winning legs assuming a straight start, make your own adjustments to account for doubling in (stats again taken from ochepedia's Twitter page):

John Henderson (FRH ranked 28, 41.43% to win sets on throw, 38.87% doubling) v Raymond van Barneveld (10, 72.35%, 38.48%)

Lines in general, at least for the games that will be played in Wright's half, are somewhat tentative right now, so I won't list them in the headlines or place bets yet, they've got Barney at around a 75-80% favourite. This seems fair on historical data, Hendo's only going to win two sets in any given set of two less than 12% of the time, while Barney can do the same over 42% of the time, so it's going to require quite some parlay for Henderson to even force a decider against someone who's not dropped a set so far and is the highest (only) seed left in this half, although he was gifted a freebie by Beaton who was way off his game. The line looks like it'll be close enough to accurate to correctly account for Henderson's underdog chances, if you think that it's around half the time that each pair of two sets will be 1-1, then it's around a 25% chance of reaching 2-2 with Barney cleaning up far more often than Henderson will. Pressure should be off Henderson though, while Barney will have some expectation on him.

Daryl Gurney (6, 60.38%, 38.32%) v Robert Thornton (27, 53.07%, 31.82%)

This one, however, should be a good deal tighter. Thornton's on the freeroll of his life, given he shouldn't even have been here, and has dodged plenty of bullets - Huybrechts missing six darts to get in on throw in a deciding leg, while Chisnall missed five darts for the match. That aside, he's been playing some pretty solid stuff, possibly the best since this time two years ago, and we all saw what happened then. Gurney's quietly been getting business done on home soil and is around a 65-70% favourite in the markets. The figures listed make this seem a bit tighter, Gurney grabs a 2-0 lead 28% of the time to Thornton's 21%, but those don't account for doubling, and Gurney's figures across the year and general form across the year should more than compensate, early in the game he couldn't miss going in or out. I'd fancy Gurney to take this, but I think there's enough random stuff that can happen that I can't bet at the likely price offered, plus I don't recall having suggested a Gurney bet all year, so why start now?

Simon Whitlock (8, 67.12%, 37.70%) v Benito van de Pas (12, 48.36%, 39.90%)

Bookies have this close to even, so you'd think this'd be a Whitlock bet, but let's take a second - Benito was absolutely crushing it earlier today against Price, he couldn't do anything wrong, and was remarkably clutch against Reyes in the first round as well, getting the key outs when he needed to and holding it together in the deciding set. Whitlock had close to a free win in round two, with North still getting used to the stage and perhaps being a bit overawed by the occasion, and Whitlock needed to dodge a match dart then get a big kill to finish off Christian Kist in round one, so perhaps, for the first time in a while, Benito's the man in form coming into the game. It's the sort of statement game that Benito needs to win after a mediocre season, and he may be able to do it - about half the time perhaps?

Peter Wright (2, 61.42%, 40.71%) v Mensur Suljovic (5, 55.04%, 38.92%)

The two highest seeds left and the two highest players in the FRH rankings left, meet in a matchup that could easily be a final, and you would think will decide the finalist. Mensur's around the same sort of underdog as Thornton is, and the differential in set winning chances is around the same as in that match, although they're both higher than Gurney/Thornton on account of both being better players. The doubling stats are a lot closer though, Mensur was red hot in getting away for large parts of the match, and he needed to be in a second set where Steve West was hanging around quite well. Wright got past Mervyn King, but seemed to be indicating he had some sort of elbow issue, which I won't try to analyse but will keep in the back of my mind. Suljovic won last time out 10-8 in the BBC exbo he won, and also beat Wright in their only other TV matchup, 11-8 in the semis of last year's European Championship. Wright has been putting up good averages, but could easily have been dumped out round one, so I'm leaning towards a small Suljovic bet, all factors considered. I've only seen a preliminary price on one bookmaker site, so will edit in a bet once more lines are up if I decide to punt.

Has been moderately disappointing gambling wise so far, Chizzy ruining everything changing what would have been around 0.6 units made into the same lost, and I feel that Reyes and Lewis might have been able to take their chances better, but on balance it could be worse - Whitlock survived a match dart missed after all.

Still plenty of possibilities for people to rise up the FRH rankings - Suljovic is within two grand of Taylor for the number 4 spot, Barney can rise back to the top 8 with one win and good results elsewhere, Benito would get very close to the top 10 with a win while Thornton can jump four places if he overcomes Gurney, who could reach the top four himself if he reaches the final (and Suljovic doesn't). Obviously a six figure result will rocket anyone (apart from Wright, who's got nearly a 200 grand gap both above and below him) up the charts, Henderson would hit around twelfth if he produced the miracle result.

Keep an eye out for a possible Suljovic bet being edited in once I see the lines. It'd likely arrive some time around the start of the session if it did.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

World Grand Prix round 2 - Seedocalpyse!

van Gerwen out! Anderson quit! Smith out! Lewis out! Wright avoids match darts! Crazy stuff, round two kicks off soon, thoughts on the matchups (figures in brackets indicate the chances, using the same methodology as round 1, of winning a set on throw - the + figure shows how many more percentage points they lead in doubling percentage per ochepedia's latest postings:

Chisnall (68.6, +6) v Thornton (44) - can't look past Chizzy here. Seemed to be the standout performance of round 1, and with things opening up as they have I think he'll take his chance to get through here - 1u Chisnall 1/3

Gurney (51) v Cullen (63.93, +2) - Gurney's the favourite? The stats don't seem to agree. Both came through tight games, will lean towards the same thinking of betting against Gurney as we did in round 1 - 0.5u Cullen 13/8

Henderson (58.4, +5) v Norris (56.6) - Norris dodged somewhat of a bullet in round one, with Pipe playing OK early before falling off under a barrage of 160's, Henderson we all know what he did, Henderson's got to have all the confidence in the world, seems to be in better form, and also seems to have the better stats, and is too large an underdog for my liking - 0.5u Henderson 19/10

van Barneveld (69.8) v Beaton (43.4, +1) - both came through 2-0 against in form players from the Pro Tour rankings, Barney's the same price favourite as Chisnall is, but here Beaton's a lot closer in terms of doubling and his form is that much better than Thornton's. Will pass.

Price (60.3) v van de Pas (54.89, +6) - Benito needed a 144 out after Reyes missed a dart for a 155 to get the critical first set, he wasn't too convincing, didn't see Price's game but 2-1 over Smith has to be OK, Price seems a touch better but may allow Benito some shots given Benito's better doubling, line is about even so won't bet.

Suljovic (73.6, +2) v West (38.3) - Suljovic is a very big favourite on the numbers but not quite so much on the odds, only being around the same price as Chizzy and Barney which I really don't understand. Seems an automatic bet given Mensur's red hot form - 1u Suljovic 4/11

North (21.3) v Whitlock (88.1, +6) - can take these numbers with a pinch of salt, North's very much learning the stage game and has yet to really bring his floor form to it, Whitlock's a favourite and should come through but I don't really have enough information on North to start firing Whitlock at large odds-on prices given he survived a match dart and needed a ton+ checkout to get here.

Wright (66.1, +3) v King (48.4) - Wright dodged a huge bullet from, er, the Bullet, who missed clear darts to win, Wright didn't seem too hot, King's been looking OK for quite a while now and we're being offered good odds on Mervyn, if I was to bet it'd be on King but Wright's been getting a knack of closing out tournaments when he is the favourite to do so, if you want to punt go ahead but I'll leave this one and stick with these four bets.

As an aside, I've scoured the BDO's website and can still only find the stats for the last 16 games, well seven of them, one of the links is broken. Have emailed to see if they'll post up the remaining information but have had no response as of yet, I'd like to cover them in more detail but they're not helping themselves by not coughing up the numbers (and I can't even look back at the stream and do it manually, as it's still region blocked on Youtube - live stream while it's on Eurosport, fine, now it's a VOD it seems daft).

Sunday 1 October 2017

Players Championship 19/20, Grand Prix bets, random roundups

Will kick off with the random thoughts first - straight up it's Ratajski, your new World Master. This is quite the interesting one, the BDO allows for those PDC players that have only played the European and Challenge Tours to play it, so Ratajski entered and won the whole thing, coming in at the round of 144 (!) after a first round bye, coming through some close games but ripped everyone apart once the seeds came in, taking out Veenstra, Soutar, Durrant, Menzies and McGeeney in the final, not a bad list. I would imagine he'd play Lakeside now, he has an automatic berth into it, and didn't qualify for the PDC worlds through the Eastern Europe qualifier, which was won by relatively unknown Croat Alan Ljubic, and he's right on the borderline for the Pro Tour spots, with only ET12 to go while everyone else has two more Pro Tour events, so with the likes of Dobey and Quantock also qualifying for it, it'll be very tough for him to make it. Elsewhere in worlds news, Diogo Portela made it from the South American qualifier, which I can't imagine was a great standard, he's not made any real inroads on the Pro Tour so I can't see him making it out against most qualifiers he'd face.

The Ireland Pro Tour events are in the book, only two remaining now so the field for the Players Championship Finals is getting a lot closer to being set, there's quite a lot of big names that aren't in five figures like Dobey, van den Bergh, Gilding, Payne, Jamie Lewis, Caven, Rodriguez, Hopp, a big final weekend is needed. So from what's in the book:

Performance of the weekend - This has to be Mensur Suljovic, grabbing a second ranking title to go with the Champions League in what's been an amazing September, only losing to an on fire Rob Cross in Friday's semi final. He's got to be one to watch out for in Dublin this week. Elsewhere, Vincent van der Voort had two quarter finals, Ron Meulenkamp continued his good form from Riesa in reaching two board finals, and Steve Lennon got two cashes, one of them being a quarter final.

Best tournament performance - Rob Cross for sure, he absolutely nailed it, the PDC reporting three twelve darters in the final against Peter Wright, meanwhile earlier he beat van der Voort and Suljovic losing only one leg, and also had to get through James Wade, Justin Pipe, Raymond van Barneveld in the first round as well as Dave Pallett. Not the easiest run you'll ever see, and apart from against Wade he was never in trouble at all. Shouts to Madars Razma and Antonio Alcinas for their best runs to date, and Bunting hit a bit of form reaching the final yesterday.

Best single match performance - Not a great deal stands out from either of the Pro Tour events, most of the real great scores come from those players who already got mentioned. Nothing really stands out from the European qualifier either, so this is a tough one. I'll go Ryan Meikle for his 6-2 win over Dave Chisnall, Shepherd 6-1 over Cullen and Gilding over Adie by the same score coming close. Hendo whitewashing Richardson can't have been too bad either.

Worst weekend long performance - With everyone playing except Gary Anderson that's in the Grand Prix field you'd expect the real elite to grab at least one title, but they didn't, so I think it has to be Michael van Gerwen, losing to Suljovic in a quarter final and not even winning his board in the other, going out to Vincent van der Voort. Gurney lost a pair of 6-4's in the first round to Kirk Shepherd and Vincent Kamphuis, Cullen also went out first round both times, Benito van de Pas continues to struggle with just the one win, and that needed a deciding leg.

Worst single match performance - Adrian Lewis going out 6-1 to Andrew Gilding came out of absolutely nowhere. Really surprised that Lewis didn't win that one, let alone lose by that scoreline.

New adjusted FRH rankings (this includes Grand Prix mincashes, although that makes no difference to the order):

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gary Anderson
4 Phil Taylor
5 Mensur Suljovic (UP 2)
6 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
7 Daryl Gurney (DOWN 1)
8 Michael Smith
9 James Wade
10 Simon Whitlock
11 Raymond van Barneveld
12 Kim Huybrechts
13 Alan Norris
14 Ian White
15 Jelle Klaasen
16 Benito van de Pas
17 Gerwyn Price (UP 1)
18 Adrian Lewis (DOWN 1)
19 Joe Cullen
20 Mervyn King

Rob Cross is now up to #22, James Wilson re-enters the top 30 following his semi final, Antonio Alcinas jumped a bunch of spots to near the top 100, while Madars Razma creeps in to the top 150.

In terms of potential movement following the Grand Prix, the top 3 are set. Taylor can drop if Suljovic reaches the semi final, Chisnall or Gurney reach the final, or if anyone down to Cullen binks it. Places 5-7 are separated by less than ten grand, while Smith down to Lewis has just 25 grand separating all of them, then there's about a 10 grand drop to Cullen before King's a further 25 grand back. Darren Webster and Rob Cross can get into the top 20 with a quarter final appearance if King goes out first round (Cross would technically be short right now, but King will almost certainly lose enough in comparison to Cross on the gradual prize money reduction system this week), while Reyes, Bunting, Beaton and Kyle Anderson could get in the top 20 with a semi final.

So, bets. I've yet to put the Riesa data into the system (or, for that matter, the World Masters, although I can only find the last 16 so far in the BDO's god-awful designed web page), so I'm just going to consider the form from there and that over the last two days. Looking in order of play, I'm firing the following:

0.5u Norris 8/13 v Pipe
0.5u Lewis 21/20 v Gurney
0.5u Reyes 11/10 v van de Pas
0.5u Whitlock 1/2 v Kist
1u Anderson 1/9 v North - Sunday evening edit - Anderson's withdrawn, so void

Very nearly also firing on White against Suljovic, but Suljovic's form and confidence is unquantifiable and puts enough doubt into things that I don't want to fire. I'm being very cagey here given the very short format and bad previous performance on these, in particular I think I could go a lot heavier on Anderson, but I'll play it fairly safe for now and wait to see what develops in longer races.