Saturday, 23 December 2017

Round 2 Previews Part 5 - Barney/Anderson, Gurney/Henderson

Firstly, what a shame Paul Lim couldn't pin that nine dart event, that would be the greatest story of all time. Oh well. van Gerwen looked truly unstoppable in not losing a leg and only allowing Wilson four darts at double, three of which were at bull and one at double sixteen, ironically after hitting two bulls trying for 132 in a route that I'm still not convinced by. Suljovic didn't have it all his own way against Thornton, doubling being OK but scoring still off kilter, he's still not managed to kick a leg off with three perfect darts and only hit the single 180 yesterday. Was a tale of 121's - Thornton missed his for 3-3 in sets, Suljovic hit his for the match. Who knows what happens if Thornton pins the bull? Suljovic definitely needs to improve or Dimitri beats him next round.

(9) Raymond van Barneveld v (24) Kyle Anderson (evening session, today)

Round 1 - van Barneveld 3-0 vs North, Anderson 3-1 vs Jacques

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - van Barneveld 68.33%, Anderson 46.04%
Matchplay to date - van Barneveld 60.94%, Anderson 55.32%
European Championship to date - van Barneveld 78.25%, Anderson 33.63%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 13.60% van Barneveld 4-0, 43.24% van Barneveld 4-1/4-2, 27.10% 3-3, 13.94% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 2.13% Anderson 4-0
Matchplay to date - 7.41% van Barneveld 4-0, 32.17% van Barneveld 4-1/4-2, 31.64% 3-3, 24.29% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 4.67% Anderson 4-0
European Championship to date - 26.97% van Barneveld 4-0, 51.80% van Barneveld 4-1/4-2, 16.06% 3-3, 4.64% Anderson 4-1/4-2, 0.54% Anderson 4-0

An intriguing matchup to close the evening session. Both players came through domestic Pro Tour debutants with relative ease, Anderson having a little bit more trouble with Jacques able to get a set, while North continued to struggle to translate his form game to the stage - scoring was OK but doubling was a bit of an issue for him. This has become a big opportunity for either as, despite his decent form in running off seven straight sets, you'd have to fancy either against Vincent van der Voort, it's probably more critical for Kyle as he's one of many that are on the borderline of in/out of the Premier League, a win over Barney and then a run to the quarters where, against a probable opponent of Michael van Gerwen, anything can happen as we saw at the European Championship.

Those numbers are fluctuating wildly. The first and the last data set indicate this is a very strong van Barneveld bet with the veteran Dutchman installed around a 70/30 favourite, whereas the middle sample, while still favouring Barney, isn't doing so by much and thinks that Anderson can pull the upset enough to be worth betting on the underdog. Let's drill down into the samples a bit more - Barney's early figures (compared to later ones) come from the UK Open primarily where he was blisteringly hot, checking out in twelve darts nearly 25% of the time and fifteen darts over 75% of the time. There's a rare European Tour outing in there where he was playing OK, but that's not a huge chunk of the sample. By comparison, Anderson only has some middling European Tour runs in there. In the section that looks best for Anderson, he's including some much better European Tour runs in terms of the numbers he's put up, whereas Barney just had a mediocre Matchplay. In the most up to date stats, Kyle had most of his numbers from the European Championship, where despite making a semi final his numbers were nothing special, nor were they in round 1 where more of his legs were won in more than five visits than otherwise, whereas van Barneveld had a solid 7/9 legs in fifteen darts or less against North and similar very good numbers at the Grand Slam.

It's hard to say which of these are the truest reflection, the best Anderson one came from the section where we're still counting the form he was in during the summer where he got his Pro Tour win and his unranked TV title, which gives us a simple conclusion I guess - if Anderson can bring his best game, he can win this often enough, if not, van Barneveld's solidity makes this too hard a task, if Anderson has the sorts of games where he's missing doubles, having a couple of visits where he doesn't hit a big treble in a leg, then Raymond will not let him off. There's enough uncertainty here for it to be a no bet.

(4) Daryl Gurney v (29) John Henderson (evening session, today)

Round 1 - Gurney 3-1 vs R Huybrechts, Henderson 3-0 vs Kantele

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Gurney 60.70%, Henderson 54.40%
Matchplay to date - Gurney 58.49%, Henderson 57.15%
European Championship to date - Gurney 61.26%, Henderson 53.65%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 7.66% Gurney 4-0, 32.63% Gurney 4-1/4-2, 31.31% 3-3, 23.83% Henderson 4-1/4-2, 4.57% Henderson 4-0
Matchplay to date - 6.28% Gurney 4-0, 29.13% Gurney 4-1/4-2, 31.70% 3-3, 27.25% Henderson 4-1/4-2, 5.63% Henderson 4-0
European Championship to date - 8.06% Gurney 4-0, 33.55% Gurney 4-1/4-2, 31.12% 3-3, 22.95% Henderson 4-1/4-2, 4.32% Henderson 4-0

Gurney is a 6/1 on favourite here. I've said this before that, for reasons I've not been able to work out yet, my stats seem to underrate Gurney by quite some distance. Even accounting for that though, we still need to find a way to knock Henderson's winning chances, which even in the worst sample that's the most recent, give him a 1 in 4 shot before we consider what might happen in a deciding set, down to the lower teens where it becomes incorrect to punt on the underdog.

Firstly, that the stats do not include the Grand Prix negates both of them, as that was both of their best tournaments. Next, let's talk sample size - I've got over 100 won legs from Henderson in the largest sample, while it's not as big as the 300+ I have on Gurney, it's a significant enough size that we can run with it (although Henderson's in the last sample does get a bit small due to early exits/not qualifying for the main tournaments in the sample). How about consistency? Gurney's losing average is a lot tighter to his winning average than Henderson's is. Could it be the case that Gurney is such a tidy player that, in the event that he doesn't kill in five visits (which he does nearly 60% of the time when he wins a leg), he does so in six visits quite a bit as he's left himself a lot of easy outs? As an all round solid finisher, that's a possibility I guess, he's played a lot of the European Tour and will have had lots of chances to take legs a bit easier against a generally weaker opponent, then again at the same time Gurney has gone real deep in all relevant majors so will need to have played against top players in longer matches.

Hendo's played Gurney four times previously. One was the Grand Prix, obviously, but before that there was a game in Europe earlier this year where Gurney got home 6-4 but only had the two good legs in comparison to Henderson's three, and in 2015 Henderson won a deciding leg in the UK Open 9-8 (the previous game being too long ago to be relevant). In that Grand Prix game, the score is a lot more one sided than I think it should be - Henderson's big scoring visits were as close to Gurney's to call it a wash (Gurney having slightly more really big scores, Henderson having more 100+ scores overall), it was just checking out and Henderson missing clumps at times - he missed seven in one leg in the first set (in fairness Gurney missed a bunch as well to let him), Gurney let him in in the third set and he missed two more that would have made it 2-0 in legs, then in the final set he had a dart to take both the fourth and fifth sets which would have made it 3-2 in sets with Henderson to have the throw in the sixth. This is clearly reliant on a few things to go right, and doesn't happen all that often, but at the price we're offered it doesn't need to either - 0.1u Henderson 5/1

That's the lot until after the Christmas break. I'll round up the remaining round 2 games probably tomorrow and also get started on the round 3 games that we know - right now it's only van Gerwen against Price and Suljovic against van den Bergh, but by tonight we'll also know who plays Vincent van der Voort and Gary Anderson, who'll play in what'll likely be the Phil Taylor game, and then the Gurney/Henderson/Smith/Cross section as well.

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