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.

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