Sunday 26 November 2017

Season done! New season begins!

At least in terms of betting, as I run that starting from the PDC worlds, mainly due to that was when I started tracking things properly so I'll run from there. Have I learned anything this year? Not really, I just got a huge kick in the bollocks in the UK Open which has historically been my best tournament, and with everything else being close to break even, outside of a fairly bad European Championships, I was mostly reliant on a very good European Tour season where I was able to claim over 7 units from around a 33 unit outlay. If I just break even on the UK Open it turns what's a minorly bad year down around 1.5% on ROI to being about 3% up.

So the last tournament is in the books and we now know 69 of the 72 world championship participants, on account of Dimitri van den Bergh claiming the world youth title and not allowing Josh Payne in (as I was saying on Twitter earlier, I wonder if Marko Kantele tried to hedge, but he's now into round 1 outright so I'm guessing that as he didn't, it's fine), and now that Jonny Clayton's got a surprising but well deserved career defining win to get through to the final, and also get seeded in the worlds (albeit running into Peter Wright in round 2), we can start to look forward to tomorrow's draw. Huge congrats to the Ferret, this has unlocked a bunch of things, he's seeded and avoids a possible nightmare draw in round 1, should be in the Slam next year, and has a fair chunk of standard OOM money that he can possibly use to work towards the last 16 for those majors that need that for automatic qualification. Vincent van der Voort is probably fuming at being bumped down to the non-seeds (would be ironic if he drew Clayton), but what can you do.

I'm going to post the FRH rankings down to the top 64 (only saying up/downs for the top 20), so that those who are interested in players lower down get an idea prior to the worlds - when I post my WC previews, I'll be including the relevant mincashes in the writeups, so if you want an idea as to where the differences are, look here - I will highlight in italics players that are not currently qualified for the worlds, whether they can actually qualify is something I'm not fussed about indicating right now other than having a sadface for the Bull:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Daryl Gurney
4 Gary Anderson
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 Phil Taylor
7 Simon Whitlock
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Rob Cross (UP 1)
10 Michael Smith (DOWN 1)
11 James Wade (UP 2)
12 Alan Norris (DOWN 1)
13 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 1)
14 Gerwyn Price
15 Ian White (UP 2)
16 Benito van de Pas (DOWN 1)
17 Kim Huybrechts (DOWN 1)
18 Jelle Klaasen
19 Joe Cullen
20 Adrian Lewis
21 Darren Webster
22 Stephen Bunting
23 Mervyn King
24 Kyle Anderson
25 Steve Beaton
26 Jonny Clayton
27 Cristo Reyes
28 John Henderson
29 Justin Pipe
30 Robert Thornton
31 Steve West
32 James Wilson
33 Christian Kist
34 Vincent van der Voort
35 Mark Webster
36 Chris Dobey
37 Brendan Dolan
38 Ronny Huybrechts
39 Jermaine Wattimena
40 Robbie Green
41 Jan Dekker
42 Dimitri van den Bergh
43 Richard North
44 Jamie Caven
45 Terry Jenkins
46 Kevin Painter
47 Ron Meulenkamp
48 James Richardson
49 Max Hopp
50 Jamie Lewis
51 Steve Lennon
52 Joe Murnan
53 Zoran Lerchbacher
54 Jeffrey de Graaf
55 Josh Payne
56 Andrew Gilding
57 Willie O'Connor
58 Keegan Brown
59 Devon Petersen
60 Rowby John Rodriguez
61 Peter Jacques
62 Mick McGowan
63 Martin Schindler
64 John Michael

I probably won't have immediate reaction to the draw on here (although keep an eye out on Twitter for short meaningless spurts of nothingness), but definitely keep an eye out for the previews in the next couple of weeks, they rarely disappoint.

Players Championship - Final Session

Happy enough with the Beaton bet. Having the darts and a break 11 legs into a 19 leg match is a position where you'll normally win, but that 12th leg was absolutely key - if your opponent offers you eighteen darts to break you need to take it at this level, at 8-4 and throwing the game is done. This, of course, is what Clayton did to get the critical break. Oh well. Pipe winning was a big shock, neither played great but Pipe held it together at the end. Cross winning over Wade was pretty standard, Cross not being at his steamrolling best, but getting enough legs cleaned up in fifteen which Wade doesn't really have the scoring to break. Dekker put up a fair bit more resistance than was expected, and should fill him with confidence ahead of tomorrow's World Championship draw.

Rob Cross against Jonny Clayton in a best of 21 should be a Cross win, I've got it at 78% Cross to win before a decider compared to 10% for Clayton, with Cross being priced up at 1/6 then I think there might be small value still on Cross, but it's not really enough to go chasing. Michael van Gerwen has just finished and there's no odds yet, but I'm getting Pipe at just over 2% to win - given van Gerwen was 1/25 or there abouts against Dekker, I can't see that there's any sort of value here.

So that leaves a probable final of Cross against van Gerwen. On the stats I have from the start of the year, I have it 67% to van Gerwen before a decider compared to 18% for Cross, so a final line based on that should be around 1/4 van Gerwen and 7/2 Cross (van Gerwen is 1/4 to win the whole event, and lines of 1/25 on van Gerwen to beat Pipe have just come up, so this seems like it should be quite accurate), but if we look at comparisons just on this event, it's a lot, lot closer. Both have obviously won the same amount of legs (32), both of them have the same number of twelve dart legs (9), and the remaining legs won are very similar, with van Gerwen getting 13 legs in five visits and 10 legs in six visits, Cross with one less in each of those two categories where he took more than six visits to kill. Both have lost the same number of legs (16), with just a 30 point difference in the total points scored - while Cross has scored more points, he's had an extra three visits to do so, so his average in losing legs of 94.01 is just beaten out by van Gerwen's 97.51. Based on just this event, it could be a lot closer than the line suggests. I'm not going to suggest to bet on Cross to win, but if you can get a decent price on something like +3.5 legs or perhaps +5.5 legs (thinking that van Gerwen should win the throw, +3.5 covers the situation where he gets just the one break and wins 11-8, taking +4.5 seems horribly pointless) then go for it.

Players Championship final day

A bunch more seeds and name players have dropped out now, having lost Anderson, Wright and Cullen from the top 8 on day one, Suljovic and Chisnall went out yesterday, leaving us with just Cross, Gurney and van Gerwen who the seedings would say should reach this stage. A few surprising names left in, I wouldn't have picked Wade to reach this far, Beaton and Clayton are believable enough I guess but it's still a bit noteworthy to see them get through three games already, Dekker's come through two FRH top 10 players, while Pipe's managed to grind out two last leg wins. Looking at the prices today, we've got one stupidly long odds on match (van Gerwen/Dekker), two where we have a solid favourite (Cross/Wade, Gurney/Pipe), then Beaton against Clayton, which appears somewhat evenly matched. I think there's a bet on here - 0.5u Beaton 11/8. I've put all of the first round into my database now and am working on rounds 2/3 as we speak, but the long and short of it is that neither player is doing that much better than their historical stats speak. Beaton's historical stats are a lot better than Clayton's are - the key difference being that Beaton slots in twelve dart legs a lot more often than Clayton does. Beaton's also a bit better in overall legs in fifteen and eighteen darts or less than Clayton does, their scoring when losing legs is basically identical, running the figures through the sheet I had up for calculating round one would put Beaton as a 2/1 favourite, and that is over a best of 11 legs - over a longer distance, the better player should come through even more frequently. Factor in intangibles (Beaton's played a lot more high pressure games, he's a world champion for one, whereas Clayton lacks some experience in longer matches and this is for the biggest payday of his career) and this is a really confusing line to me.

Saturday 25 November 2017

Players Championship day 2

Just a quick post to say that we were up 0.6 units yesterday, not a bad return, almost perfect but for Richardson missing a match dart and Kyle Anderson not performing late in the game against Meulenkamp. I've not identified any decent bets today, and as I'm at the evening kickoff at Bramall Lane I won't be in a position to look at the evening session either, but should hopefully be able to catch up on putting the stats in (doesn't help that the PDC stats site has completely broken the first two legs of the Reyes/Jacques match but I think I've been able to extrapolate that Jacques won the first two legs in six and five visits, from there I can use the average to calculate what Reyes scored, it may not be exact but with the amount of data on both players it should be close enough). Look back tomorrow morning for quarter final analysis.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Players Championship Finals round 1 bets

Sixty four players, thirty two betting opportunities, one day. Hopefully having a broad knowledge of the whole scene will pay dividends, our bets are as follows:

0.5u Lennon 4/6 v Lerchbacher
0.25u Richardson 6/4 v Thornton
0.5u King 4/7 v Dolan
1u Whitlock 1/4 v Kist
0.25u O'Connor 27/20 v Wilson
0.25u Clayton 8/13 v de Graaf
0.5u Anderson 4/11 v Meulenkamp

Funny that, in terms of the stats I posted previously, the closest line was Norris/Klaasen, and the bookies have it lined up at evens take your pick. Was a bit surprised at just how many lines were quite close to the projections posted earlier, certainly enough that are close enough to not want to court variance in a race to six.

A bit tempted by Pipe, Hudson, Cullen, Painter, Suljovic, Dekker and de Zwaan, if you're looking for some fun punts you could do worse than go here, but I won't add these to the official book. Will add that the Whitlock bet is somewhat dependent on Kist still being gout afflicted 60-average Kist, if you hear anything on Twitter that he's playing OK then don't bet it, but I'm adding it regardless.

Shame that Jenkins and Baxter aren't playing the PDPA qualifier. With 100+ names fighting for two or three spots it's going to be a minefield, but whoever comes through should be dangerous enough, will be interesting to see who comes through it.

Monday 20 November 2017

Players Championship Finals and more on how good van Gerwen is

I've now caught up with the stats, and I'll quickly say something about van Gerwen - he's truly back to his best. He won 73 legs this week, of which 26 were won in 12 darts or less, an average of over 35%. His season to date record, which includes the Grand Slam, is a pedestrian 26% in comparison (nobody with a sample size of 10 or more legs won this season is even in the twenties). Factor in legs won in less than 15 darts, and that's another 32 legs - 58 out of 73, or 79%, higher than his season long average of 76%. Of the field, even hitting 70% is tough - you have Lewis, Anderson, Bain (yes, really), Taylor and van Barneveld at that level with a sample of 30+ legs won. What about when he's not winning? Well in the Slam he finished five points short of a 100 average from 180 visits to the board, solidly above his season long average of just short of 96 - only Anderson and Taylor with at least 20 legs lost are even at 95.

The PDC have published the "draw" to the Players Championship final which we've all known for ages, so let's shove numbers into the master computer and see what people's chances of winning are, as always based on speed of kills, and assuming if we get to 5-5 that they start the last leg an equal amount of the time, i.e. winning the bull is a coinflip. If I've highlighted a player in green they've won less than 50 legs this year so sample size might be an issue but you should be OK to roll with it, if I've highlighted a player in yellow then they have won less than 25 legs this season and you should take care, if I've highlighted someone in red then they've won less than 10 legs this season and you should be ultra careful, if not flat out ignore the information. As always, this doesn't take into account form or injuries (if you bet on, say, Kist based on whatever these numbers suggest, then you're insane). I'll post in seeding order rather than draw order, in order to highlight a hopefully gradual trend from one sided games to coinflips, of course when people don't play the whole circuit, hilarity can ensue:

Rob Cross v Robert Owen - 76.73% Cross
Daryl Gurney v Jeffrey de Zwaan - 60.18% Gurney
Peter Wright v Steve Hine - no data on Hine
Gary Anderson v Mickey Mansell - 69.90% Anderson
Mensur Suljovic v Andy Boulton - 65.71% Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen v Paul Nicholson - 97.34% van Gerwen
Dave Chisnall v Joe Murnan - 66.04% Chisnall
Joe Cullen v Jamie Caven - 83.95% Cullen
Ian White v Raymond van Barneveld - 61.13% van Barneveld
Kyle Anderson v Ron Meulenkamp - 85.11% Anderson
Darren Webster v Antonio Alcinas - 97.85% Webster
Jonny Clayton v Jeffrey de Graaf - 68.37% Clayton
Alan Norris v Jelle Klaasen - 50.20% Klaasen
Michael Smith v Jan Dekker - 67.28% Smith
Kim Huybrechts v Chris Dobey - 85.90% Huybrechts
Richard North v Pete Hudson - 74.40% Hudson
Adrian Lewis v Mike de Decker - 91.88% Lewis
Robert Thornton v James Richardson - 60.49% Richardson
Simon Whitlock v Christian Kist - 62.10% Whitlock
Steve Beaton v Ronny Huybrechts - 61.62% Beaton
Gerwyn Price v Jimmy Hendriks - 77.86% Price
Mervyn King v Brendan Dolan - 90.35% King
Justin Pipe v Mark Webster - 58.08% Pipe
John Henderson v Darren Johnson - 55.80% Henderson
James Wade v Kevin Painter - 63.61% Wade
James Wilson v Willie O'Connor - 53.38% O'Connor
Steve West v Ryan Searle - 77.36% West
Stephen Bunting v Benito van de Pas - 53.95% Bunting
Jermaine Wattimena v Keegan Brown - 51.62% Brown
Peter Jacques v Cristo Reyes - 69.50% Reyes
Vincent van der Voort v Robbie Green - 59.60% van der Voort
Steve Lennon v Zoran Lerchbacher - 89.81% Lennon

Sunday 19 November 2017

MvG wins again, film at 11

No real time to harvest the stats tonight, but I'll refresh the FRH rankings below, needless to say van Gerwen won yet again, Wright keeping it tight through the first two thirds but then falling to a spurt after that which was enough to get the Dutchman home. Elsewhere, Kenny Neyens binked the last remaining international qualifier, so we're getting very, very close to confirming the final field. Will update the betting tracker tomorrow, but as for all intents and purposes it's break even there's not much you'll miss there.

Current FRH rankings:

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

Darren Webster's now within 10k of Lewis for the last top 20 spot, Robbie Green reclaims a top 40 spot, Steve Lennon's within the top 60, while just inside the top 70 are all of Berry van Peer, Glen Durrant and Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Back in the UK, and other Scooter references

On my phone and looking at the results from the quarter finals onwards. Some brief thoughts having not looked into the stats in huge detail:

- Very surprised that Gurney was only able to claim the four legs, would have imagined he'd have kept it close for longer and not dropped twelve straight. Just got to hope that it doesn't ruin his confidence really, there's another big event rapidly coming up where he should be able to get something going.

- On a related note, I see Phil appears to have been throwing moodies again, first criticising Gurney for apparently not having fun (how dare someone possibly be not 100% cheerful when having a bad day at, what is to all intents and purposes, work), then not exactly being sporting in defeat to MvG. It's your penultimate tournament, why not enjoy it yourself rather than sticking the knife in others.

- Cross is clearly getting more and more comfortable on the TV stage, I caught a bit of his game yesterday (what I could, somehow German TV isn't all digital yet and it was like watching through a snowstorm as early 90's satellite often was, that and falling asleep) and it's only a matter of time before he wins a big one.

- Wright at the end of the Anderson game seemed incredible, if I've read it right, he held twice in four visits, broke in four visits and held in five in the decider to claim the win. Will need to keep that up for longer in installment 94 of him against van Gerwen, seems unlikely, the market is where it's been for most of the time in their previous matches so I can't see any value.

- Munch to the worlds, really?

Thursday 16 November 2017

Grand Slam - very quick quarter final thoughts

Haven't watched tonight or even looked too much at the stats, Gurney seemed incredibly free money but I will just look to the quarters and the prices:

Suljovic/Anderson - Can't see Anderson not being able to pull this off given he's got 31 legs to work with, that's a big haul for Suljovic and I can't think of too many spots where he's played that long a game, he's not played that many seven set matches in the worlds. Ando's about a 70% favourite, this seems to be fine given the distance, he's lit it up very well and is not giving away much at all in terms of duff legs, Suljovic will likely give him a break or two and that should be enough.

Durrant/Wright - I'm not sure what to make of this line. Durrant's a shorter price to beat the PDC number 2/3 (depending on what day of the week it is) in a race to 16 than he is a race to 5. Not that much can surely have changed in the course of less than a week, sure Durrant's won, and sure he's been playing well in this tournament, but for it to be a 2-1 game now?

Taylor/Gurney - Daryl rightly shrugged off Wade while Taylor did the same to Webster, it's the first proper test for both players and it will be interesting to see if Gurney can hang over a very long game against Taylor - you can compare to the Matchplay, where they had a common opponent in Peter Wright - Gurney lost 17-15, Taylor won 18-8. With Taylor only being an 8/13 favourite this may be a favourable line, but he's not really been setting the place on fire, and even tonight it's been mostly 15's rather than slamming in elite legs (even managing to lose the leg where he had seven perfect).

van Gerwen/Cross - Cross is only a point longer against van Gerwen than he was in a race that's less than a third of the length, he looked great value then but now I can't see how he is able to maintain that sort of level over this kind of distance with enough confidence or frequency to warrant a bet. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he's able to get to 10-10 or 11-9, and he's shown tonight the ability to deal with some adversity, but it's a big ask to break what's becoming a bit of a streak in what I think is easily the longest match he's ever played.

So no bets, which is probably for the best on limited analysis. Away until Sunday afternoon, may get back in time for the final, we'll see.

Edit - corrected obvious typo in the Gurney - Wright score

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Grand Slam Day 6 - Last 16 Top Half Preview

Betting, er, didn't go to plan, nice of Phil to mail it in once qualified in the final game for a second year running

Michael van Gerwen v Steve Lennon

Legs won: van Gerwen 15 (7 twelve darters, 3 fifteen darters, 5 eighteen darters, 0 nineteen darters or worse), Lennon 10 (2/4/3/1)
Legs lost: van Gerwen 7 (99.79 average), Lennon 10 (91.88)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg (data from 2017 Lakeside onwards): van Gerwen 77.60%, Lennon 10.32%

Bit of caution needs to be applied here, Lennon has a very small sample size, only having made a handful of European Tour events and only getting the one win whilst there, so his stats look pretty decent without having to hit many elite legs at all. Getting here on account of whitewashing Jamie Hughes and being a beneficiary of Hughes nearly doing the same to Gerwyn Price, he's qualified with just the one win. van Gerwen won all three games but could easily have lost against Rob Cross, and naturally found matchups with Ross Montgomery and Joe Murnan fairly easily. For Lennon I think getting out of the group stages is job done, with van Gerwen being 1/25 I'm not going to be betting him either.

Raymond van Barneveld v Rob Cross

Legs won: van Barneveld 15 (0/13/1/1), Cross 14 (5/7/2/0)
Legs lost: van Barneveld 7 (87.52), Cross 8 (93.73)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: van Barneveld 49.97%, Cross 30.61%

Now we get to a much more interesting event - this is somewhat of a statement game for Cross, who's hit some blistering peaks with five legs in twelve darts or less, while Barney has been very consistent, clocking off all his legs very quickly with all but two legs in five visits or better. Surprisingly, Barney's stats look better, with a greater percentage of legs won in four and five visits throughout the year, but this comes from a much smaller sample size than Cross who's not too far behind. Barney's an 11/8 underdog which hints at value based on season long results, but Cross' recent form and ability to stay close over a much larger sample evens things out enough for me.

Phil Taylor v Darren Webster

Legs won: Taylor 13 (2/6/3/2), Webster 9 (0/5/4/0)
Legs lost: Taylor 10 (88.43), Webster 12 (90.18)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: Taylor 59.44%, Webster 22.73%

Firstly let me say what a joke it is that the PDC can't figure out better tie breakers that necessitate a nine dart shootout for Webster to make it through, should clearly be either legs won or head to head in some order, but he's here now and the market is giving him a little bit more than a 20% chance to make it. Taylor hasn't looked amazing, in particular against Wade he was awful statistically, but Webster's not exactly been forcing the issue, only really having a good performance against Noppert, if Darren had a touch more form then I might have fancied a little flyer, but this is a long event and Taylor will have had a day to rest up, so will avoid it with the value based on the stats being minimal, if it exists at all.

Daryl Gurney v James Wade

Legs won: Gurney 15 (1/9/4/1), Wade 11 (1/4/5/1)
Legs lost: Gurney 5 (91.36), Wade 9 (82.90)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: Gurney 67.34%, Wade 17.02%

Right James, you've been given a reprieve by Phil having an uncharacteristic bad match, go and do something with it. Will he? Probably not. Wade's performing here has mirrored Wade's performing all season, not finishing half his legs in under fifteen darts, not getting close to the 90's in losing legs, not hitting very many twelves at all. Gurney's always been underrated in my stats for whatever reason, probably because like Wade he's not the tidiest on finishing in fifteen darts, but he's a lot better and has certainly been improving this of recent. Gurney's installed at 4/9, which looks good to me given Gurney's form, stats and ability to turn it on on TV this past year - 1u Gurney 4/9.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Grand Slam Day 5 - Last 16 Bottom Half Preview

Will post similar tomorrow for the top half once tonight's results are in, but that may be the last of anything in depth, I fly out to Germany for a booze/football weekend early on Friday morning so I very much doubt I can do the quarter finals justice (but may be able to get bets up).

Glen Durrant v Dave Chisnall

Legs won: Durrant 14 (3 twelve darters, 9 fifteen darters, 1 eighteen darter, 1 nineteen darter or worse), Chisnall 11 (3/3/4/1)
Legs lost: Durrant 10 (97.15 average), Chisnall 12 (85.38)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg (data from 2017 Lakeside onwards) - Chisnall 63.48%, Durrant 19.71%

Those chances of winning seem a bit deceptive - they come primarily from Lakeside where Durrant, as commented on this blog previously, wasn't hitting twelve dart legs with any sort of regularity, which is a big part of Chisnall's game. Just looking at the numbers in this event, and Durrant looks a lot, lot better - being extremely tidy, scoring heavily when he's not been able to win legs, whereas Chisnall has got away with getting some legs slowly, and not got away with quite a few others. Durrant is installed as the favourite, and that might be justified given Chisnall already lost two games here, but it wouldn't surprise me if Chisnall won - it just needs him to be consistent and hit some doubles, two things that have always been a huge problem for him.

Stephen Bunting v Peter Wright

Legs won: Bunting 15 (1/5/8/1), Wright 12 (1/7/4/0)
Legs lost: Bunting 10 (98.43), Wright 9 (101.40)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: Wright 62.70%, Bunting 20.06%

Two players who could easily not have qualified, which seems odd given that Bunting swept his group and nobody else won more than one game - Bunting survived match darts against de Zwaan, and in a decider against Mitchell, had Scott throw probably his worst leg of the entire tournament to only leave 86 on throw after eighteen darts. Wright coasted against Cadby but was outplayed against Durrant and survived a match dart against Norris in a win or go home scenario. The bookies have Wright as a 3-1 favourite, if you look at the chances of winning then Wright's about three times more likely to do so based on the numbers we have, Bunting's numbers are a lot closer in this event than overall, but Stephen simply doesn't finish enough legs in fifteen darts to be able to hold on for long enough against someone of Wright's quality.

Mensur Suljovic v Berry van Peer

Legs won: Suljovic 15 (2/10/2/1), van Peer 11 (0/4/3/4)
Legs lost: Suljovic 10 (93.00) van Peer 13 (74.20)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: Suljovic 96.28%, van Peer 1.08%

Let's take that last figure first - van Peer didn't qualify for any of the European Tour events, so the only sample we have is from this event, where it's fair to say he's not had the best of it. Suljovic swept his group but hasn't had things entirely his own way, being forced to a deciding leg twice, but realistically the van Peer story ends here, Suljovic is so incredibly consistent now that even if he threw in two or three duff legs and gifted Berry a chance, Suljovic will be able to grind it back pretty quickly, while he's got through, he's not killed quickly and will give Mensur more than enough chances. 2u Suljovic 1/16

Gary Anderson v Michael Smith

Legs won: Anderson 15 (4/7/3/1), Smith 14 (2/7/4/1)
Legs lost: Anderson 6 (97.10), Smith 12 (102.65)
Chances of winning before a deciding leg: Anderson 62.64%, Smith 20.33%

Similar betting scenario to the Bunting/Wright game where Anderson's around a 3-1 favourite and the chances of winning my model generates are somewhat similar. Anderson, however, has a limited sample size, consisting of more or less just the Matchplay and this, but in this he's looked excellent. Smith, however, has been no slouch himself, only missing out on sweeping the group by tiny margins, and it's excellent news that he appears to be returning to form. There might be very small Smith value, but given how quickly his form can disappear and that he is facing what looks to be a peaking Anderson, I'm not going to rush out to bet on it.

Grand Slam Day 4

Bottom half's now done, huge congrats to Berry van Peer, unbelievable what the lad's done. Nothing overly shocking elsewhere, last 16 preview will follow, but tonight's games first:

Mark Webster and Noppert are priced as a flip, don't want to get involved in this one but if I did it'd be on the Welshman, if he gets a couple of legs Noppert would be eliminated and might start mailing it in.

The other Webster's greater than 2/1 vs Gurney, who he of course beat to win his Pro Tour title this year, seems like a decent shot given he will likely need to win to advance, the only problem would come is if Mark won big and forced him to win big himself, so will avoid this one as well.

van Gerwen's basically never losing against Murnan, so straight on to Cross/Montgomery. Ross is longer than 4/1 in a race to five that's a straight elimination match. He's won six legs, five of those in fifteen darts of less, three of those being twelve darters or better. He's only averaged 86 in his losing legs though, which is a big gap, although if he nailed some of his doubles against van Gerwen like he did against Murnan then it might be a lot higher. He'll have to continue to play this standard, keep tight on the doubles as he did in game two, and probably hope that Cross has a slip or two, but I'm comfortable enough recommending a tiny underdog punt - 0.1u Montgomery 22/5.

Green should cruise against Machin, he's simply putting enough points on the board to get home - 0.5u Green 8/15. Wade needs to win against Taylor and I can't see how that happens ever, 0.5u Taylor 1/3.

Gerwyn Price is a big favourite against Jamie Hughes, I'm not sure that I love the odds enough despite Hughes struggling and already being out, the pressure will probably be off and in a home venue the crowd should become a factor. That just leaves Barney against Lennon, a similarly priced game and one Lennon probably has to win. He's looked OK and it could happen but it's the biggest game of his career and the pressure may tell, so I'll avoid this game as well.

Sunday 12 November 2017

Grand Slam Day 3

The group stage is now already two thirds done, and we drop to a more sedate pace now with groups E-H finishing tomorrow. Two of these are half finished already, with Durrant and Anderson advancing and Cadby and Whitlock being eliminated respectively - these face off respectively and I'm not touching them as they're close to dead rubbers, although the Durrant price being offered up by BetVictor at 8/13 is mighty tempting. These two groups have straight elimination games between Wright and Norris, and Menzies and van Peer. Berry's dartitis issues have been talked about plenty and I won't go into them here, Menzies has been playing solidly enough to get it, but at 1/3 there's just about enough doubt to ignore the game. Norris comes in as a very big underdog to Wright, even longer than van Peer is against Menzies, but Peter's playing excellent stuff while Norris has been pretty ordinary throughout, so I think the line here also looks fair.

This leaves the Suljovic and Bunting groups - Mensur's up against James Wilson, needing just the four legs to be absolutely safe on leg difference, and he's nearly as big a favourite again. Suljovic has slotted in 7/10 won legs in under fifteen darts, including two four visit kills, while Wilson's at 6/8, also with two four visit kills, so the averages might be misleading a bit. Wilson's on the same leg difference as Smith who has the easier out against McGeeney, and I think it might be worth a small punt - 0.25u Wilson 5/2, only needing 30% for it to be profitable I'm fancying it. On that Smith/McGeeney game, Mark has been very disappointing and I expected more, only winning the four legs and two of them were 19+ dart gifts, Smith's around the same price as Mensur but I think the differential here is much greater, his kill speed against Wilson was not as good as against Mensur, but in the legs he lost against Wilson he was averaging over 112 so the game was still clicking well throughout - 0.5u Smith 4/11.

In the Bunting group, Stephen plays Scott Mitchell knowing three legs will see him through, he's looked pretty decent if not killing quite as quickly as I'd want him to, but it's a fair bit quicker than Mitchell was, who did alright against Chisnall but just got outplayed, while against de Zwaan he was flat out ordinary with just one of his five won legs in fifteen darts or less. Bunting's a small favourite and I like the chances of him locking the group up - 0.25u Bunting 8/11. The final game is Dave Chisnall against Jeffrey de Zwaan, Chisnall's a big favourite and too big to contemplate betting, de Zwaan has enough that he can get home enough to make it not a Chisnall bet, but I think that Dave should come through, Jeffrey's got to feel a bit disappointed, missing match darts in game one and missing 13 at double in game two, it'd be a statement win if he could get there but he must win at least 5-3 and hope that Bunting wins, which isn't too ridiculous but a bit of an outside shot.

Of the groups that finish on Tuesday, Cross will play Montgomery in a straight fight to join van Gerwen in the last sixteen, Cross having missed match darts tonight (sigh) while Montgomery hit a third twelve darter of the tournament tonight to power home against Murnan. This may be closer than the line looks but it's hard to back against Cross at this stage, and van Gerwen/Murnan isn't worth betting on. The other groups have all seen real disappointing performances from the BDO lads with only Noppert still technically alive but needing at least a 5-1 win and a big win from Gurney as well. Gurney I think should have enough to handle Darren Webster which would make the equation simple for Mark Webster, beat Noppert and you're through. In the Barney group, Lennon's whitewash of Hughes has given him a chance if he can upset Barney, while Price can lock up a spot with a 5-1 win over Hughes regardless of results elsewhere. In the Taylor group, you'd think he should have enough to handle James Wade, who's looked pedestrian in both games, which leaves Robbie Green with close to a free pass, having a three leg advantage over Wade already, meaning that the only Taylor win that'd not advance him is a 5-4 Taylor win, and even then he'd need to lose every leg against Machin.

Grand Slam Day 2

Day 1's in the books, won't get too greedy and complain about de Zwaan's missed match darts, he got himself into a position which is all you want really, Durrant saved the day with what bad stats will call an impressive performance (pending looking at good stats myself), not a huge number of surprises but van Peer over Whitlock came out of nowhere, Menzies keeping it fairly close against Anderson raised somewhat of an eyebrow, while Robbie Green and Mark Webster's wins are a bit of a surprise.

Oddschecker's still unable to split games by day so it looks horrible, will try my best to interpret what they're saying:

0.25u de Zwaan 6/4 v Mitchell, Scott's two won legs were five visit legs and he was in position to get another couple if Chisnall hadn't killed first waiting on 24 and 64 after twelve darts, but the other three legs were nothing special, leaving 101 after 12 , 46 after 15 and 138 after 15 (!), so de Zwaan, who's in form, should have the game to nick this 40% of the time.

0.25u Menzies 2/1 v Whitlock, against Anderson he was putting himself into positions to finish in fifteen darts quite well, although he only actually got one of his legs in five visits - leg three he had a dart for it, leg four he was on double after 12, leg six he was on a finish after 9, while Whitlock really wasn't scoring at all against van Peer - only the twelve darter in leg 6 looked impressive. Seems a decent outside punt.

0.25u Montgomery 6/5 v Murnan, Joe was basically just scoring the entirety of the match, only getting two darts at double in the whole game, at the end of a 137 out and one with his eighteenth dart of the second leg, and he still only averaged high 80's. That's not good, and Montgomery showed enough scoring that he should be able to generate more chances at double in this one.

0.25u Cross 7/2 v van Gerwen, Rob shouldn't be that much of a dog to anyone in the world in a race to five legs. when he's played van Gerwen he's generally been able to keep it fairly close early on so it wouldn't take too much for him to push over the line, and we don't need it to happen that often for it to be a profitable bet.

Friday 10 November 2017

Ten things to watch for in the Grand Slam plus bets

The penultimate PDC ranking event before the worlds is just hours away, here's a few things I'm interested in looking at:

1) Can Michael van Gerwen claim a big TV title?

Sure he won the European Championship, but it was a fairly weak field with a bunch of big names missing. He still got there and you can only beat the players you face, and he looked great in doing so as well as in the unranked World Series finals, but this is a different story - a rapid fire group stage including one opponent in Rob Cross that is easily the worst draw he could face, the slightest slip against either of the outsiders and he could be in trouble. Get through that and he has longer games to play with, but this is going to be tough throughout - the only top 20 FRH players missing are van de Pas, Huybrechts, White, Klaasen, Cullen and Lewis, chuck in the best of the BDO as well and it's not straight forward in the slightest.

2) How's Phil doing?

He's not thrown a ranked dart since winning the Matchplay, and since then he's lost in exhibitions to Cadby, Barney, Anderson and Wright. Not bad players in the slightest, but people will surely turn it on a bit more on the ranked stage, and if Phil at this stage is losing in tournaments he's prioritising, then who knows what's going on?

3) Will Cadby make a statement?

I'm not sure on whether Corey can join the PDPA tomorrow and play their last chance qualifier, but I would guess not, so it leaves this as the last time we'll see him before Q-School (if that's the route he chooses to take). He's in a group jammed through of great players who he'll see (rightly) as his peers, he just needs to do it, then try to get out of the group and go from there in longer matches.

4) How will the BDO players do?

I've touched on this at fair length in the previous post, I think anyone that isn't Montgomery or Menzies certainly has at least a shot at making it out of the group stage. They'll all need to play well, and in some cases play a lot better than they have been doing recently, but the talent and the situation is there if they can put it together. As I frequently say, this is a darts blog, not a PDC blog, and seeing the BDO players perform against opponents I know and have good samples on will always be useful for analysis, and fun to see full stop.

5) How will the "unknowns" do?

There's a few players that have made it, either by qualifying or outright, that we've not seen much of, at least on the big stage - Joe Murnan's been around for a couple of seasons and while he can't expect to advance, would at least like to beat Montgomery and get cash in the bank to help retain Tour Card status in 2019 after a bad year. Lennon's in a group that doesn't have an unwinnable game, and this will surely help him in terms of stage experience before the worlds. de Zwaan's a bit like Murnan in that he's played on the world stage before, but has dropped in form a bit before really peaking this autumn, at just 21 it's still incredibly early in his career and he will be a threat to everyone in his group. van Peer got to the world youth final last time out, and will surely just be looking to get over Menzies and gain stage experience, his 2017 is a lot worse than his 2016 so whatever he can get will be useful.

6) How much LOL can we have with potential rematches?

In their infinite wisdom, the PDC appear to have set things up so that group opponents who advance will rematch in the quarter final stage. This is beyond ridiculous and would be very, very easy to avoid, but they're not known for being the smartest in tournament formats.

7) Webstermania!

Always fun when you've got two players with the same surname face off against each other in a group stage.

8) Netherlandsmania!

As the #1 and #8 seeds, and with point six in mind, if van Gerwen and van Barneveld both make it through and don't finish in the same spot in their group, they'll meet in the last 16, or, if they're both winners or runners up, would meet in the quarters assuming Rob Cross doesn't throw a spanner in the works (or, knowing Cross, the whole toolkit).

9) Can Wade get going?

Interesting group he has with Taylor, Machin and Green, there's little reason why he couldn't make it out of the group and face someone in the Gurney/Websters/Noppert group, and who knows from there?

10) Will the commentators make stupid comments about BDO players needing to raise averages to compete with the PDC elite?

Of course.

Oddschecker is a trainwreck to try to work out who's actually playing tomorrow, so I'll not even try to comment on all games, just place bets:

0.25u de Zwaan 13/8 vs Bunting- he's in form, and while Bunting is improving, it's not enough
0.25u McGeeney 10/3 vs Suljovic - he's the BDO number 1, that is surely enough against anyone that isn't MvG in a race to five at that price
0.25u Durrant 23/10 vs Wright - he's the BDO world champion, that is surely enough against anyone that isn't MvG in a race to five at that price

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Grand Slam draw and random comments

The PDC had the final qualifier for the Grand Slam yesterday, and with that, barring weird withdrawals, the last chance for anyone to get into a position to get any more ranking cash prior to the worlds. Jenkins didn't even enter it, so he's done, Dolan managed to lose to Caven so he's out barring a great run at Minehead, anyone else was probably too far back but Robbie Green has two shots to perform a miracle at least. In other random news, Josh Payne has managed to keep his worlds hopes alive by reaching the world youth final, where he'll face Dimitri van den Bergh, I believe that if Dimitri wins there's no spot for Josh and the slot will just go to the PDPA qualifier, so it's win or bust really, shame for Cadby but oh well. The Chinese qualifier has produce a random kid who got whitewashed by Wade in the Shanghai World Series event, and it looks like Marko Kantele got the second SDC slot. Also, it seems that the site that Burton wrote for is on hiatus, which is a shame. Also, as mentioned in a previous post, Rob Cross is now up in the FRH top 10.

So, the draw, what do we have?

Group A: van Gerwen/Cross/Murnan/Montgomery

Seems to be two clear favourites here, van Gerwen and Cross everyone knows about, and should have more than enough to advance from this field. Murnan's a bit of a surprise qualifier, having beaten Benito in a deciding leg first round up and then getting nobody decent following, needing a decider against Ryan Palmer in the last round and only making a single last sixteen all season, so I can't see how he can get close. Montgomery's been around since forever but is on debut here, the limited stats I have on him aren't great and his performances in BDO majors are pretty mediocre, so his game against Murnan could be an early contender for worst of the tournament.

Group B: van Barneveld/Price/Lennon/Hughes

Think there's realistic chances for Hughes here, who's a back to back BDO semi finalist and looked good this time last year, in as close to a home field as he'll get. Barney's maybe a touch rusty and Price hasn't really cracked through into the threat to anyone level, so over a short race Hughes may have some equity. Lennon's going to make his PDC worlds debut this year after a solid season, coming through van den Bergh, Beaton and Cullen in the qualifier, his numbers from the European Tour seem solid so this group could be wide open.

Group C: Taylor/Wade/Green/Machin

Taylor's going to still be solid, and I can't see any of this lineup troubling him even over a short distance, so it's probably a race for second. Wade looked OK in spots last weekend so should probably be the favourite, but Green had to come through a tough qualifier facing North, Temple, Klaasen and van der Voort, so may be returning to some of the form he showed around this time last year. Machin's here on account of winning the World Trophy, where he showed some ability to finish quickly and consistently, so if he plays like he did then he could have a shot, but such is the comedy of the BDO's qualifying system he's never even played Lakeside, so this could be a huge shock in terms of big stage play.

Group D: Gurney/Webster/Webster/Noppert

Interesting group, let's deal with the seed first - Gurney's not a lock to advance out of the group by any means but should do so, I feel only Darren has the explosiveness to threaten him. Noppert has had a really disappointing year, not winning a thing or even making a final, so while he clearly has the game he's not shown it since Lakeside. Mark Webster is in on account of making the World Cup final, which doesn't mean a great deal, while Darren needed to qualify, and did so very comfortably, dropping three legs to Caven but whitewashing both his other opponents. I think the Demolition Man also gets through, but all four could advance if they find form.

Group E: Wright/Norris/Cadby/Durrant

Jesus Christ this group is stacked. I'll look at who I think is the weakest player here in Norris, who has an FRH ranking of 11 so has clearly been doing enough, mostly on TV, so may do alright on the stage. Cadby has had multiple chances to make the worlds but couldn't take any of them, so something might not be right, but did make a World Series final so when the cameras are on he can show up. Durrant needs no introduction, the current Lakeside champion has had a solid season when he's played and showed this time last year that he can hang with the elite players, which leaves Peter Wright, who's won more than ten titles this year. It wouldn't surprise me to see any combination of these players qualify, this is a brutal group.

Group F: Chisnall/Bunting/de Zwaan/Mitchell

Chizzy should have enough to advance, although in a short race it doesn't take too many misses at double to break things badly. Bunting had a fairly comfortable qualification with wins over Richardson, Shepherd and Kamphuis, and has shown occasional glimpses that he's getting back to form, so should probably be the favourite to take the second spot. de Zwaan is on fire right now, reaching Minehead with a semi final Pro Tour run, needing Cadby to knock him out of the world youth at the quarter final stage, having drawn the number 1 seed in the first round and won, and made it here by beating Clayton, White and Thornton, a very respectable combination. Mitchell's a former Lakeside winner who's had a good season, and given this group isn't the toughest, he could upset the apple cart if he plays his A game.

Group G: Suljovic/Smith/Wilson/McGeeney

I'm thinking the first two here are favourites to advance, but in a short format the others aren't out of the equation. Mensur's in too good form to not grab one of the spots, while Smith's been very up and down and can't afford to be down against Wilson, who seems to do his best work in shorter formats, qualifying with a last round victory over a resurgent Keegan Brown, on TV he's kept a lot of games close before falling away so in a race to five he could fall over the line just enough to nick second. McGeeney's a player a lot of casuals may not know about with just two Lakeside appearances where he went out in the second round two times, but he's been very good for a while now, winning the Dutch Open, big events in Germany, England and Switzerland as well as making the World Masters final, to reach the top of the BDO rankings.

Group H: Anderson/Whitlock/van Peer/Menzies

This group doesn't seem too interesting really, Anderson and Whitlock should have far too much for both the world youth finalist from 2016 and the last of the BDO qualifiers on rankings, winning some events in Scotland to push him up the ranks. Whitlock's form is enough that I can't see him struggling against anyone but Anderson, which should be a straight face off for the group win. van Peer's been gaining a lot of floor experience but hasn't matched anything like what he was doing in 2016, so could have issues getting a point in this one.