Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Round 3 Previews Part 2 - Taylor/Brown, Anderson/West

Wanted this up yesterday but dartsdatabase was down all evening and I couldn't get the head to head stats, oh well, it's here now!

(6) Phil Taylor v Keegan Brown (evening session, 28th)

Round 1: Taylor 3-1 vs Dobey, Brown 3-2 vs Wade
Round 2: Taylor 4-0 vs Pipe, Brown 4-2 vs Lerchbacher

2017 head to head record: 0-0 (most recent game: 2014)
All time head to head record: 2-2 (all minor ranked games)

Set winning chances on throw (all 2017): Taylor 79.55%, Brown 32.30%
Set winning chances on throw (Matchplay onwards): Taylor 79.84%, Brown 31.79%
Set winning chances on throw (Euro Champs onwards): Taylor 83.16%, Brown 29.67%

Scoreline projections (all 2017): 29.00% 4-0 Taylor, 52.03% 4-1/4-2 Taylor, 14.62% 3-3, 3.91% 4-1/4-2 Brown, 0.44% 4-0 Brown
Scoreline projections (Matchplay onwards): 29.66% 4-0 Taylor, 52.03% 4-1/4-2 Taylor, 14.19% 3-3, 3.71% 4-1/4-2 Brown, 0.41% 4-0 Brown
Scoreline projections (Euro Champs onwards): 34.21% 4-0 Taylor, 51.80% 4-1/4-2 Taylor, 11.27% 3-3, 2.47% 4-1/4-2 Brown, 0.25% 4-0 Brown

The first of two games which are so one sided that Taylor's a 1/12 shot and is the longer price sees the reigning Matchplay champion look to get a seventeenth and final world title, against surprise package Keegan Brown, who's doing a good job of rebuilding a career that peaked 2-3 years ago but has gone off the boil since. Taylor has had little trouble so far, only dropping the one set against Chris Dobey when he was already cruising in the match, and not dropping a set against Justin Pipe who played OK in patches but missed far too many doubles. Brown produced a great performance to see off James Wade in the opening round, but regressed quite a lot and was tangled up in a scrappy affair against Zoran Lerchbacher in the second round, each set going with throw until, at 3-2 in sets in a deciding leg, the Austrian missed one dart at tops for the set and let Keegan in to pin a 108 outshot for the match.

If Keegan is going to stand any chance, he's going to have to play with freedom and the quality that he showed in the first game - if he plays like he did against Lerchbacher, then this match may not go on very long at all. That said, if he does play as he did against Wade, then his chances are not completely zero - in that game he managed eight out of twelve legs won in fifteen darts or less (including one twelve darter), and was there or there abouts when Wade was winning with a 91 average in the losing legs. Phil so far this tournament has managed 16/23 legs in fifteen darts or less for about that same two in three ratio as Keegan managed against Wade, and only had the two twelve darters, and also averaged 90 in the legs that he lost, so overall their stats seem close to identical if you compare Phil's current tournament and Keegan's best game. This said, Phil hasn't been firing on all cylinders and may opt to try to crank it up a bit to warm up before a potential quarter final with Gary Anderson, Keegan may potentially be overawed with playing Phil (as Pipe appeared to be, at least in interviews) in what is the biggest match of his career to date, and will not have the crowd on his side - there's a lot of things that need to go perfectly for Brown to realise his best case scenario - which only puts him at a coinflip.

(3) Gary Anderson v Steve West (evening session, 28th)

Round 1: Anderson 3-0 vs J Smith, West 3-1 vs van de Pas
Round 2: Anderson 4-1 vs Lim, West 4-1 vs Wattimena

2017 head to head record: 3-0 Anderson (all minor ranked games)
All time head to head record: 5-1 Anderson (1-0 major ranked, 3-1 minor ranked, 1-0 unranked)

Set winning chances on throw (all 2017): Anderson 71.85%, West 39.59%
Set winning chances on throw (Matchplay onwards): Anderson 70.86%, West 40.66%
Set winning chances on throw (Euro Champs onwards): Anderson 71.87%, West 40.68%

Scoreline projections (all 2017): 18.84% 4-0 Anderson, 48.22% 4-1/4-2 Anderson, 22.58% 3-3, 9.11% 4-1/4-2 West, 1.24% 4-0 West
Scoreline projections (Matchplay onwards): 17.68% 4-0 Anderson, 47.31% 4-1/4-2 Anderson, 23.58% 3-3, 10.03% 4-1/4-2 West, 1.40% 4-0 West
Scoreline projections (Euro Champs onwards): 18.18% 4-0 Anderson, 47.83% 4-1/4-2 Anderson, 23.13% 3-3, 9.56% 4-1/4-2 West, 1.31% 4-0 West

Our second game sees twice world champion Gary Anderson looking to reclaim his title, facing winner of now two games on a world stage, Steve West. Anderson's looked very smooth so far defeating a pair of dangerous preliminary qualifiers, obliterating Jeff Smith in a second set for the ages, and putting two sets on the board without reply and holding off a nine dart attempt against Paul Lim before coming through 4-1. West has had a couple of young tricky Dutchmen to come through and they've been a bit different to each other - the opening game against Benito van de Pas saw him average over 95 as he slotted in seven out of eleven won legs in fifteen darts or less, whereas in his second round game against Wattimena, he won 4-1 but averaged under 88 despite hitting 50% of doubles - only hitting five legs out of twelve in fifteen darts or less.

I'm thinking that Anderson's playing far too well for West to stand any sort of chance in a first to four sets match. We've seen glimpses of what Anderson can do, and while we've also seen what West can do, both here and in spots throughout the year, I get the feeling that West may just be content to have reached this stage, and that if West's top game shows up, Anderson can just kick into another gear if needed. The stats are fairly consistent throughout the year (the only difference for Anderson between the first two samples being one UK Open match helps for that, with West not qualifying for that at all), and they all indicate that Anderson should be a prohibitive favourite. Maybe not quite as much of a favourite as the line suggests, but we don't have a whole lot of edge to start punting West at 12/1, especially when the non-stat part of the head can't really see a realistic path to victory for him.

Coming up later are previews of the Suljovic and Cross matches - stay tuned.

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