Tuesday 26 December 2017

Round 3 Previews Part 3 - Henderson/Cross, Suljovic/van den Bergh

(20) Rob Cross v (29) John Henderson (afternoon session, 28th)

Round 1: Cross 3-0 vs Asada, Henderson 3-0 vs Kantele
Round 2: Cross 4-3 vs M Smith, Henderson 4-2 vs Gurney

2017 head to head record: Cross 2-1 (all minor ranked games)
All time head to head record: Cross 2-1 (all minor ranked games)

Set winning chances on throw (all 2017): Cross 70.17%, Henderson 44.31%
Set winning chances on throw (Matchplay onwards): Cross 72.12%, Henderson 41.79%
Set winning chances on throw (Euro Champs onwards): Cross 75.32%, Henderson 37.01%

Scoreline projections (all 2017): 15.27% 4-0 Cross, 45.29% 4-1/4-2 Cross, 25.64% 3-3, 12.06% 4-1/4-2 Henderson, 1.75% 4-0 Henderson
Scoreline projections (Matchplay onwards): 17.62% 4-0 Cross, 47.53% 4-1/4-2 Cross, 23.58% 3-3, 9.91% 4-1/4-2 Henderson, 1.36% 4-0 Henderson
Scoreline projections (Euro Champs onwards): 22.51% 4-0 Cross, 50.50% 4-1/4-2 Cross, 19.48% 3-3, 6.68% 4-1/4-2 Henderson, 0.83% 4-0 Henderson

Now for what's easily the most interesting quarter of the last sixteen that's come up so far, if only because the previous analysis features three huge odds on favourites, and the first match we'll look at is Rob Cross, who cruised through his first round game but then needed to survive match darts from Michael Smith in the second round in a high scoring instant classic featuring a staggering 29 180's, against John Henderson, who after a routine win against Marko Kantele, produced the biggest shock of the tournament so far in terms of the highest seed going out (if you think that Münch > Lewis wasn't a bigger shock then you're wrong), avenging his Grand Prix loss against Daryl Gurney with relentless ton scoring. His reward for that win is to be priced as an even bigger underdog in this round.

Henderson needs to win this game 15% of the time for us to even start to consider a bet, and he's nearly there in the largest sample and would easily make up the difference in those games he wins 4-3, but the figures become more and more in favour of Cross as the year goes on, with the most recent sample where Cross is in peak form reckoning Henderson doesn't even get to 8%, leaving him needing to win a deciding set more than one time in three, which would seem a big ask. Henderson has at least got a win over Cross this year, where he won 6-4 in the first of the Ireland Pro Tour events, and kept him close the following day, only losing a deciding leg. The other game was 6-1 in favour of Cross, but that was right at the start of the year. As ever, also bear in mind that the stats don't include the Grand Prix, so while it doesn't include Henderson's best run, it also doesn't include Cross bombing out in the opening round, then again as he only won two legs there it's not going to dent the figures in the slightest.

I can't recommend a bet either way. Henderson probably has the game to get there just about often enough that the line looks close enough to accurate. It's not going to be one where the Henderson, after pulling off an upset, is then spent and can't go further, he'll have had plenty of time between games and it wasn't a factor after beating Michael van Gerwen in Dublin. Then again, Cross is so good that I really don't think he messes this one up.

(5) Mensur Suljovic v Dimitri van den Bergh (afternoon session, 28th)

Round 1: Suljovic 3-0 vs Painter, van den Bergh 3-1 vs Bunting
Round 2: Suljovic 4-2 vs Thornton, van den Bergh 4-2 vs Dekker

2017 head to head record: 0-0 (most recent game: 2015)
All time head to head record: 2-2 (all minor ranked games)

Set winning chances on throw (all 2017): Suljovic 64.95%, van den Bergh 50.94%
Set winning chances on throw (Matchplay onwards): Suljovic 49.90%, van den Bergh 66.46%
Set winning chances on throw (Euro Champs onwards): Suljovic 48.19%, van den Bergh 69.93%

Scoreline projections (all 2017): 10.15% 4-0 Suljovic, 38.00% 4-1/4-2 Suljovic, 29.88% 3-3, 18.78% 4-1/4-2 van den Bergh, 3.19% 4-0 van den Bergh
Scoreline projections (Matchplay onwards): 2.80% 4-0 Suljovic, 17.20% 4-1/4-2 Suljovic, 29.18% 3-3, 39.73% 4-1/4-2 van den Bergh, 11.09% 4-0 van den Bergh
Scoreline projections (Euro Champs onwards): 2.10% 4-0 Suljovic, 14.14% 4-1/4-2 Suljovic, 27.49% 3-3, 43.14% 4-1/4-2 van den Bergh, 13.13% 4-0 van den Bergh

Hmm, now for the first time in this round we've got a game where the figures look a bit different to what you might expect. Mensur's around a 65/35 favourite in the market, and looking at the whole year's worth of stats, he gets home 48/22 before a deciding set, which is nearly the same ratio, but from the Matchplay onwards, Dimitri comes in as a very tidy favourite. We only need to look at the preview for the previous round's game against Jan Dekker - Dimitri has not played a lot of darts at all since the Matchplay, and the primary chunk of data then was his first round match, where he was godmoding. That Dekker match wasn't quite the same story, but was still solid - nearly a 95 average, 50%+ on doubles, six maximums, half his legs won in fifteen darts. That summarises Dimitri's run, Mensur's has been mediocre by his own standards, not breaking 95 in either game on standard average metrics, needing a huge out to avoid a final set against Thornton who'd just missed bull to force the issue, only just getting over 50% in legs won in fifteen darts or less (12 from 23), and he's only managed the one twelve dart leg - the final leg against Thornton where he needed it the most.

The market has already adjusted quite a bit as mentioned, so the take people have to make is whether van den Bergh, if he had more sample than the 150 legs (split evenly between wins and losses) isn't enough to give a true idea of form over a long period and that he wouldn't be able to sustain his stats and Mensur should thus be the favourite, or whether the more recent information is more pertinent, and that Dimitri's form (and Mensur's lack of it) is the critical bit of data that you're looking for and he's a very live underdog. The obvious thing is that Mensur will need to improve - if he plays as he has been doing, Dimitri's current game, even the not quite so excellent one he showed against Dekker, should be enough to win. I think Mensur will improve, but I think to about the point where he makes it such that it's not a bet. My stats don't include the world youth, which Dimitri won, or the World Series finals where Dimitri made the quarters. Mensur's been here in big TV events a lot more than Dimitri has, and while he's full of confidence, this is already the deepest he's run in any major event and the potential enormity of what he might do could easily catch up with him.

Six of the last sixteen written up, and still no bets. Seems odd, but that's where we are. Expect the Whitlock/Wright section to appear tomorrow evening/Thursday morning, I'll likely push to get the Whitlock game up first as all the information should be ready when I'm back from work and it's the first game on on Thursday, the Wright game may wait until the morning.

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