Sunday 17 December 2017

WC day 3 recap, first three round 2 previews

edit - I've added a link to the fantasy scoring on the links bar

Briefly before I start, thanks to anyone viewing from Reddit, and thanks for the tip that Argos are selling some cheap Winmau darts that I've ordered, will see how they go.

Urgh, ugly day on the betting. I guess hope that if you followed me on the King bet that you were with a bookmaker that paid out if you're two sets up at any point? Can't really factor in someone's game disappearing quite as King's did, I think that just goes down as unfortunate, but give credit to Lerchbacher for stepping in and taking the chances that were given. The Cullen game sounded like a right cracker, but missing four match darts, oh my. Cullen had the draw open up and couldn't take the chance, which is unfortunate, a possible last 16 tie against Anderson would have been fun to watch.

Speaking of Anderson, how good was he? That second set in particular was spectacular. In that sort of form he's got to be a huge favourite to reach a minimum of a semi final - the only seed left in the eighth of his draw is Mark Webster, and Taylor showed nothing against Dobey that made us think that he'd be able to live with Gary in a best of nine set match. Smith looked OK in the prelim just based on the numbers (I didn't get back to a TV until the last match of the evening session) but simply couldn't score.

Dekker coming through against Klaasen is one that I hope you were on which salvaged something from the day from a betting perspective, and his match against Dimitri in round two should be a corker, that's one that I can see going a fair bit of distance if both retain their form and should be a highlight. The Thornton/Dolan/Ljubic combination was one that went kind of how I thought it would have done - Dolan looked pretty solid in the prelim game with Ljubic not offering the kind of scoring that's going to hack it at the worlds level, while Thornton brought the game that he's shown sporadically which proved to be enough, despite Dolan hitting several nice checkouts. That just leaves the van de Pas/West matchup, completing a horrible season for the Dutchman as his streak of third round appearances comes to a halt while West was able to get his first world championship win. Will he get a second? As we know his opponent, let's look at his game first.

Steve West v Jermaine Wattimena (afternoon session, Saturday 23rd)

Round 1 - West 3-1 vs van de Pas, Wattimena 3-2 vs Cullen

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - West 61.30%, Wattimena 50.83%
Matchplay to date - West 68.58%, Wattimena 43.70%
European Championship to date - West 71.69%, Wattimena 44.22%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 9.09% West 4-0, 35.47% West 4-1/4-2, 30.49% 3-3, 21.08% Wattimena 4-1/4-2, 3.87% Wattimena 4-0
Matchplay to date - 14.91% West 4-0, 44.62% West 4-1/4-2, 25.98% 3-3, 12.61% Wattimena 4-1/4-2, 1.88% Wattimena 4-0
European Championship to date - 15.99% West 4-0, 46.25% West 4-1/4-2, 24.98% 3-3, 11.21% Wattimena 4-1/4-2, 1.57% Wattimena 4-0

Interesting to see that West's figures get better the more recent and smaller a sample size we take, even after we remove the Matchplay where West was throwing some amazing stuff. It goes from West cleaning up before a deciding set less than twice as often to around five times as often, which is quite a big swing, and surprising given that the match has been set up in the markets as close to a coin flip, with West being the favourite at a 5/6 v 6/5 line. So we should pile on West? Let's look at some other things that might make our mind up:

- Both players are pushing to get into that top 32 elite tier, with West probably being a bit closer, it's a big psychological step, Wattimena certainly has more time on his hands so might not have quite so much pressure.
- The two players finished 5th and 6th on the Pro Tour rankings with just 500 quid between them.
- Their head to head record is one win a piece, both in early rounds of UK Open qualifiers, the first a West win in 2015, the second, oddly being exactly a year later, going to Wattimena.
- In their first round games, West was able to punch in more fifteen dart legs, seven to Jermaine's five (one of those being the key twelve dart leg to break back to 1-1 in the deciding set), but Jermaine was putting Cullen under more pressure, averaging 96 on the legs Cullen won in comparison to West's 90. This makes their orthodox averages quite similar.
- Their consistency scores from the previous round analysis are similar, West's average in losing legs being within two points of his winning average, while Wattimena's is within three points.

I think this has to go to Steve - 1u West 5/6. His numbers just look better, he's got a lot more stage experience, particularly this year, he's got that "never won at the worlds" monkey off his back.

(1) Michael van Gerwen v (32) James Wilson (evening session, Friday 22nd)

Round 1 - van Gerwen 3-1 vs Kist, Wilson 3-1 vs Ratajski

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - van Gerwen 83.24%, Wilson 27.22%
Matchplay to date - van Gerwen 71.14%, Wilson 41.29%
European Championship to date - van Gerwen 65.52%, Wilson 49.81%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 36.71% van Gerwen 4-0, 51.01% van Gerwen 4-1/4-2, 10.01% 3-3, 2.06% Wilson 4-1/4-2, 0.21% Wilson 4-0
Matchplay to date - 17.45% van Gerwen 4-0, 47.20% van Gerwen 4-1/4-2, 23.77% 3-3, 10.17% Wilson 4-1/4-2, 1.42% Wilson 4-0
European Championship to date - 10.82% van Gerwen 4-0, 39.12% van Gerwen 4-1/4-2, 29.83% 3-3, 17.73% Wilson 4-1/4-2, 2.95% Wilson 4-0

Now to a game where the bookies don't have it close at all. But weirdly, despite van Gerwen coming into form later in the season winning everything in sight, Wilson's chances based on my model seem to improve as the year goes on as well. This seems ridiculously counter-intuitive, and the 1/25 line that van Gerwen's currently add makes sense in the context of the all 2017 data set, but on the last couple of months data set, he's not even getting to winning half the time without needing a deciding set. That doesn't seem right. Let's look why, and there's one very, very obvious reason - sample size. Wilson's matches that are in my sample look as follows:

First round here - won 10 legs, 1 being a twelve darter, 7 being fifteen darters
First round at the Players Championship - won 5 legs, 2 being twelve darters
Grand Slam matches - won 12 legs, 3 being twelve darters, 7 being fifteen darters

That's a total of 27 legs won, 22% of them being in twelve darts or less and 74% of them being in fifteen darts or less. Repeated over a big sample and that is world class elite play. Can he? And is he putting in the sorts of numbers needed when he's not winning? Not really. When he's losing legs he's only averaging 86, and he has won only one more leg than he's lost. The model only considers the legs you've won, so you need to take care to look at what they're doing when players are losing as well. Wilson's had, on average, nearly 5 visits per leg lost. If he was at a level where we'd start thinking that 18/1 is a sensible bet, then he would have taken a few of those legs and actually won them.

Jan Dekker v Dimitri van den Bergh (afternoon session, Friday 22nd - nobody told me about this! I'm at work, bastard!)

Round 1 - Dekker 3-1 vs Klaasen, van den Bergh 3-1 vs Bunting (funny how everyone we're previewing here has lost a set, even the world champion)

Set winning chances on throw:
2017 to date - Dekker 48.41%, van den Bergh 65.33%
Matchplay to date - Dekker 20.49%, van den Bergh 87.84%
European Championship to date - Dekker 10.12%, van den Bergh 96.17%

Match score calculations:
2017 to date - 2.82% Dekker 4-0, 17.04% Dekker 4-1/4-2, 28.94% 3-3, 39.85% van den Bergh 4-1/4-2, 11.36% van den Bergh 4-0
Matchplay to date - 0.06% Dekker 4-0, 0.69% Dekker 4-1/4-2, 5.01% 3-3, 45.56% van den Bergh 4-1/4-2, 48.87% van den Bergh 4-0
European Championship to date - 0% Dekker 4-0, 0.02% Dekker 4-1/4-2, 0.49% 3-3, 24.76% van den Bergh 4-1/4-2, 74.72% van den Bergh 4-0

First things first, let's throw those last two sets of stats right out of the window. Dimitri has played four matches since the Matchplay which count in my stats - one loss on the European Tour where he lost 4-6 but hit two twelve darters, another loss in Europe where he lost 3-6 but hit two fifteen darters, his European Championship loss to Clayton where his only leg won was a fifteen darter, and that European Championship loss is the only other game that counts towards that last stat apart from his god mode antics against Bunting, so let's just look at the overall 2017 information and Dekker's information. Dekker's sample in that last data set is 40 legs, at a 10% clip in four visits and 50% in five visits - which is probably running a bit hot given his oft mentioned great doubling percentages which I kind of feel are unsustainable, drop some of those off and the four visit legs may turn into five, the five visit legs into six, or they may just turn into lost legs full stop. Over the whole sample, van den Bergh's now created a good edge for himself following that great first round performance - before then Dimitri was slightly over 50% on five visit kills compared to Dekker being bang on the line, Dimitri added ten legs in under fifteen darts including three legs in four visits - Dekker added two twelve darters but only four more legs in fifteen or less, with Klaasen allowing two legs in six visits and one in seven (which, if Klaasen had have hit any of the six darts he had at double in it, would have made it 2-2 in sets). Dimitri's 8/11 against Dekker's 13/10, and like the first game it's a big chance for either player to push up towards the top 32 (albeit they're a bit further off than both West and Wattimena). I feel Dimitri has the edge, and having had that run in the World Series to finally do something on TV he might not be quite so nervous about reaching a key stage in a TV event, so I'll go for 1u van den Bergh 8/11.

Afternoon session is already underway so will be back later with more updates.

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