Tuesday 19 December 2017

Round 2 Previews Part 3 - Now featuring more LIM

This evening seems like a bit of a rubbish session with all the seeds being heavy favourites and only the prelim slated as being competitive, so let's get half way through the round two previews with two more games with what is post 180 of this blog:

(5) Mensur Suljovic v (28) Robert Thornton (evening session, Friday 22nd)

Round 1 - Suljovic 3-0 vs Painter, Thornton 3-1 vs Dolan

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Suljovic 65.44%, Thornton 48.42%
Matchplay to date - Suljovic 62.94%, Thornton 54.34%
European Championship to date - Suljovic 59.78%, Thornton 57.09%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 11.39% Suljovic 4-0, 39.92% Suljovic 4-1/4-2, 28.92% 3-3, 16.97% Thornton 4-1/4-2, 2.80% Thornton 4-0
Matchplay to date - 8.26% Suljovic 4-0, 34.30% Suljovic 4-1/4-2, 31.11% 3-3, 22.27% Thornton 4-1/4-2, 4.06% Thornton 4-0
European Championship to date - 6.58% Suljovic 4-0, 30.11% Suljovic 4-1/4-2, 31.73% 3-3, 26.31% Thornton 4-1/4-2, 5.27% Thornton 4-0

Interesting numbers, I thought that Suljovic would be a more dominant favourite than that (the market has it at nearly 75/25 in favour of Mensur), and that the stats would be trending further that way the nearer we got to the present, not shifting in favour of the Scot so much that there's not much to split them at all. But let's add some caveats - Thornton's data for the whole year is only from 38 legs plus those that he won against Brendan Dolan in the first round, that's not much of a sample at all - Suljovic has a sample five times that size, and it is likely to be more reliable. Thornton's finishing against Dolan was very good, with eight of nine legs won within fifteen darts including two twelve dart legs, and with him not playing either the Grand Slam or the European Championship, the only other data in the last sample is from the Players Championship, where he didn't win many legs at all. Suljovic's overall data doesn't include the major he won as it was unranked, while Thornton's best run was in the double in Grand Prix, so that's not in the data either. If you take the full data set, Suljovic wins within the distance at about a 51:20 ratio - that's not a million miles off the market price. If you want to look at whether Thornton would keep things as tidy over a larger sample, season long his losing average was less than two points off his winning average, so it's probable that he does, and that he's maybe been unlucky in places to run into decent opponents. I didn't watch the Thornton game, but Suljovic didn't look in complete red hot form against Painter, who was quite bad, while Thornton at least averaged 98 in his game. Seems mad to suggest it, but if it's a bet either way, it's a bet on Thornton at the underdog price of nearly 3/1, but I'm not in a habit of backing Thornton (the last time I did it was in the 2016 Matchplay, where he lost 11-2 to Chisnall) and I'm not going to start now.

(3) Gary Anderson v Paul Lim (evening session, Friday 22nd)

Round 1 - Anderson 3-0 v J Smith, Lim 3-2 v M Webster

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Anderson 74.99%, Lim 38.21%
Matchplay to date - Anderson 75.48%, Lim 37.55%
European Championship to date - Anderson 72.89%, Lim 40.08%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 21.47% Anderson 4-0, 50.09% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 20.30% 3-3, 7.23% Lim 4-1/4-2, 0.91% Lim 4-0
Matchplay to date - 22.22% Anderson 4-0, 50.44% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 19.68% 3-3, 6.80% Lim 4-1/4-2, 0.85% Lim 4-0
European Championship to date - 19.08% Anderson 4-0, 48.57% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 22.34% 3-3, 8.84% Lim 4-1/4-2, 1.18% Lim 4-0

A game where there's a big sample size issue - as an international qualifier, the only data I have on Lim is his amazing performances last night, but also for Anderson, he's not played a great deal of ranked darts either - at less than 100 legs in the 2017 to date sample (early busts in several majors, if he played them at all, no European Tour) there's not much to go on, hence the stats don't change a great deal throughout the year. Anderson took Smith apart with a 100 average despite needing seven visits to win three of his legs won - a blistering second set having a lot to do with that, while Lim came through an edgy game against former Lakeside champion Mark Webster, missing a match dart that let Webster back in but not making more mistakes after that, and slamming in maximums for fun. But let's put things in perspective - Lim won 19 legs yesterday, but only managed ten of them in fifteen darts or less, and was averaging under 90 in the legs he lost. That might cut it against a struggling, nervous Webster, but won't work against a truly elite player like Anderson. The bookies make this game the same line as the van Gerwen v Wilson matchup, and I really don't know who that's being unkind to, if anyone, I'm going to ignore it as even in Lim's best projections he doesn't get home anywhere near enough to consider a punt, and 1/25 on Anderson doesn't seem worth any sort of bet as it's so short. After all, stranger things have happened - see the World Cup for one.

Some things to look for on Thursday/Friday once round one is done - I'll post an updated FRH ranking list to show who's making strides in the right direction, and I'll also post up the Peak Boo rankings which I've previewed on Twitter, highlighting who has got the biggest boo for coming closest to a nine darter but failing. As Oreshkin has just lost, despite M√ľnch missing a trillion doubles for the game, he's become the first player not to even register a 1 on that ranking. Possibly be back later for previews of Kyle Anderson and Daryl Gurney against their respective opponents.

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