Sunday 29 April 2018

Players Championship 9-10 - Double Dutch

So that thought that Jeffrey de Zwaan had the potential to go deep in one of these things turned out to be correct - sure, I chucked out a lot of names but I'll claim credit for this one, he's been there or there abouts but he got the luck he needed, and after coming close a couple of times managed to hold his nerve - obviously Johnny Clayton taking out Michael van Gerwen opened things up, but a lot of other things fell into place - James Wilson cleared out Gary Anderson, Martin Schindler made a quarter and cleared out Rob Cross (6-0!), his semi final opponent Gabriel Clemens took out Peter Wright and James Wade, while he dealt with Michael Smith himself. Congrats to the lad, with us already up to 14 qualifiers for the Grand Slam of Darts from the Pro Tour events, it's not sure that he'll make that for certain (you'd have to think that Gurney, Suljovic, Wright and Wade will all bag something before the cutoff), but added on to his other results he should be good to get into most of the other premier events.

On the Saturday van Gerwen won and wasn't really troubled, only Wade managing to take four legs off him, and beat surprise finalist Scott Taylor to claim the title. In a weird event, Jason Lowe made a semi, while Ryan Joyce won his board again, along with Michael Barnard and Stephen Burton. Ian White joined the "hit four twelve darters" club in his win over Alan Tabern, while Benito had another poor weekend, getting no cashes along with Mervyn King, John Henderson and Dimitri van den Bergh (although he did at least draw Chisnall today).

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Phil Taylor
5 Gary Anderson
6 Daryl Gurney
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Michael Smith
9 Simon Whitlock
10 Gerwyn Price
11 Dave Chisnall
12 Ian White
13 James Wade
14 Darren Webster
15 Raymond van Barneveld
16 Johnny Clayton (UP 2)
17 Alan Norris (DOWN 1)
18 Kim Huybrechts (DOWN 1)
19 Joe Cullen
20 Jelle Klaasen

Adie's solid weekend has brought him back to within two grand of the top 20, Bunting's semi final has brought him within fifty quid of the top 25. de Zwaan now rounds out the top 50, Clemens and Taylor enter the top 100. Lowe is just outside the top 120 following his semi final.

A bonus feature - the top 32 in the PDC this season in points per turn to date this season - this includes all six UK Open qualifiers, the UK Open proper, ten Players Championship events and four European Tour events (minimum of 150 legs played):

Some names are surprising you, no?

Thursday 26 April 2018

Things to watch in the Players Championship

Was going to make this post and include a "let's see how the Challenge Tour players do", but first I want to comment on the whole way in that the PDC pulls through the players to fill the remaining spots. While I think it's a whole lot better than the previous version, I do wonder if, with the hugely top heavy prize structure with 30% of all the prize money going to two players in each event, that it doesn't just favour those players which have one lucky run. Perhaps after the third weekend these will get filtered out somewhat, but why not do it a bit differently? Here's what the order would look like if we sorted by total wins - just considering the round of 128 onwards so those that don't get a bye don't get extra points against what will be a relatively easier opponent:

One argument in favour of the current system is that it allows players who can't necessarily play every Challenge Tour event (like, say, Ratajski when it clashed with the European Tour qualifiers) to have one or two good runs and get up there. Then again, the system above would allow players (like, say, Ratajski) to get in through consistency rather than just one good run. I think we all appreciate that Pallett's in good form from the UK Open, but he can't get near the Pro Tour - he'd get a spot under this system. If we break ties by money, Ratajski would also get a spot on the Sunday where Richard North is additionally skipping it, instead that last spot goes to Ted Evetts, who despite winning an event isn't even in the top 30 for most wins (that is every player level on ten wins by the way).

So what else should we look for? Cadby and Barney are skipping, otherwise apart from North on the one day and Terry Jenkins it's mostly weaker foreign players that don't threaten to do much anyway, so it's a high quality field. Let's go:

- Who's going to win? I think with the strength of the field it's unlikely that we're going to see another new winner up there, barring any further withdrawals - the seedings make it look like we'll get van Gerwen, Cross, Gurney, White, Clayton, good Webster, Price and Wade on one side of the draw, while the other sees Wright, Smith, Suljovic, Cullen, both Andersons, Chisnall and Adrian Lewis. Fairly even stuff.

- The race to Blackpool is heating up. It's important for Norris to put some work in, currently safe as a seed by about 20k but that could go away quickly if he's not careful and he wouldn't make it through the Pro Tour rankings, Lewis and Cullen are getting close to being seeded, van de Pas just behind but going the wrong way and not really close on the Pro Tour rankings, for the Pro Tour spots the likes of Jamie Lewis, Chris Dobey and Vincent van der Voort would like a solid weekend to get ahead of Ron Meulenkamp who's currently taking the last spot. With Cadby likely returning soon and likely to grab enough money to come from outside (he's currently £4k behind Meulenkamp) then pushing forward right now is key, particularly for Dobey without any European Tours upcoming. Similar could be said for Keegan Brown and Richard North, they're in now but miss the next two European Tours so will lose ground to players around them.

- How will the new winners do? Hopp and Clayton are in the same pods of the draw as the #2 and #1 seed respectively, so will crash into very good players better than they'd like. Can Mansell back things up?

- Will Whitlock and Wright rebound if they're eliminated from the Premier League tonight? We've already seen Price improve his game once he was knocked out and Suljovic, although he wasn't playing badly, has been a bit better in terms of results - we could ask the same about Barney but he's not playing.

- Can someone make a deep run that hasn't won before? As mentioned above, I don't think it's likely that anyone will actually win one, but Dimitri, de Zwaan, Aspinall, Lewis, Dobey, West and Wilson are all up in the top 25 of overall points per turn in the PDC this season and could put together a string of wins, and if there's some upsets and carnage, who knows?

Stay tuned for an update on Sunday evening.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Welsh redbit

Not sure anyone saw a Price/Clayton final coming, but that's what we got and it was the Ferret that came out on top, binking his second ranking title and locking up a spot in all of the majors for the rest of the season, which'll allow him to more than consolidate a top 32 in the world spot. Having to do it the hard way in overcoming Mensur Suljovic in the semi final, having already defeated Hopp, Wade and White, this is absolutely deserved.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Phil Taylor
5 Gary Anderson
6 Daryl Gurney
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Michael Smith
9 Simon Whitlock
10 Gerwyn Price (UP 1)
11 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
12 Ian White
13 James Wade
14 Darren Webster (UP 1)
15 Raymond van Barneveld
16 Alan Norris
17 Kim Huybrechts
18 Jonny Clayton (NEW)
19 Joe Cullen (DOWN 1)
20 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 1)

Adrian Lewis gets bumped from the list after only just getting back in, and isn't even next in line now after Benito van de Pas and Mervyn King have overtaken him. Not a huge deal of significant movement lower down, Wayne Jones is up to #90, while there's no less than six players who played this weekend that are within fifteen spots of hitting the top 100.

A short update, but something interesting to consider as a bonus subject - Burton mentioned on Twitter this week during the Premier League that McDonald wasn't mentioning Unibet as the Premier League sponsor at all, which is seemingly due to local Dutch laws regarding gambling sponsorship. The question posed is this - if the government were to lose their mind and ban gambling sponsorship in the UK tomorrow, would the PDC (or, for that matter, Matchroom as a whole) see out the year without going broke?

Let's look at the PDC's current sponsor lineup:

Yep, that's six different bookmakers and an online casino. Amazing level of diversity. But does anyone have any sort of brand loyalty to a single bookmaker? I'd certainly hope they don't - I'll bet wherever has the best price. I can't think of any of these that have stayed with a given tournament for long enough to establish any sort of connection with the tournament. The world snooker (now also run by team Hearn) will always be known as the Embassy to me. The English one day cricket cup will always be the Benson and Hedges. I've not watched Formula One in years, but if you asked me which brand I'd most associate with, say, Ferrari, I'd say Marlboro. I couldn't tell you who sponsors any of those any more, but it's been over 15 years since tobacco advertising went away and it shows how well the new sponsors have caught on. Would it really be that hard for Matchroom to get a bit of insurance and have something other than a bookie sponsor their tournaments? Singha certainly used to sponsor the Grand Slam (not that you can buy the thing anywhere), Cash Converters used to cover (I think) the Players Championship, surely darts is at the level of interest that they can look to attract more mainstream sponsorship deals? I'll leave that one for you all to discuss.

Austria quarter finals

Thank you Johnny Clayton!

Wouldn't be a PDC European Tour event without something going wrong, in leg 2 of the Price/Jones game I'm guessing the whole internet died, with all streams dying and sportradar not continuing to update. Why they couldn't write down the scores and plug them in later, I don't know (it's exactly what the Dart Connect guys did on the stage board in the UK Open), but hopefully what I need will show up, there's enough nerds out there that want this information so hopefully it appears in due course.

Quarter final odds are out - Smith/Cullen's coming in with Smith having a 2-1 advantage, this looks pretty much on the money so nothing there whatsoever. Price is listed as being a 3-1 dog against Cross, he seems much more live than that, but without seeing how Price played I'm a bit hesitant to fire. Cross has come through two 6-5's and will probably hold it together. Gurney/Suljovic is listed at close to a coinflip, Gurney being the slight favourite. He should be shorter than that in any other venue, but Suljovic has been killing it on home soil so I don't really fancy that one either. That just leaves White against Clayton, I don't think we have quite the price to bet on White, I'm only getting him at 63% and the best price is 4/6, it's almost tempting to go with the 7/4 on Clayton that Boyles are offering given the 105 average he just put in. So that leaves no bets, and I'm not going to be in a position to offer anything on the semis or final, so I'll update the tracking and get back after the tournament is done to update the FRH rankings. A few things can happen there - Price can get top 10 if he makes the final, as could White if he breaks his European Tour title duck, Gurney doing so would get him up to fourth, Smith can get ahead of Suljovic if he goes a round deeper, while Cullen can get above Huybrechts with a final appearance. Finally, a Clayton win would see him up into the top 20 for the first time. Stay tuned!

Austria last 16

Steve, Steve, Steve, why do you go and miss seven match darts? That could have made a good day into a great day (see also Nicholson, Paul, this time last week). No real complaints as everything else either came in or we were on the right side of it (apart from Lennon not really showing up), Dimitri was a bit closer than it needed to be, with Beaton we were lucky that Humphries ran out of steam a bit (nice to see that Luke posted a good assessment on Twitter of where his game is at, seems like his head's screwed on right for someone still very new in the pro game), but even Burnett managed to get a match dart, albeit at the bull.

I already posted some match projections on Twitter, so I'm just going to look straight at the odds and reference them:

Smith v van den Bergh - honestly think we're at the stage where we can auto-bet on Dimitri every game until the market adjusts, he's priced as an underdog but he is nowhere near as much of an underdog as the market suggests, Smith's a tough ask and van den Bergh can't play as badly today as he did yesterday, it'll also probably need Smith to not play quite as well as he did when steamrolling Barnard and not losing a leg, but the price is there - 0.25u van den Bergh 9/4.

Cullen v King - tough one to call, on form this year they're extremely evenly matched, Cullen being a slight favourite and the market being priced as such. There's absolutely no value here either way, can't really draw any conclusions from round 2 as neither were really tested and just did what they needed to do with minimum fuss. Next...

Jones v Price - Wayne got a controversial bye and will come into this one a bit cold against Price, who's probably priced as a bit too short of a favourite, but then again he averaged a ton yesterday and seems to be playing a little bit better recently than he has been, and Jones is possibly the other way, an 81 average (albeit with no help from the Austrian qualifier) isn't going to scare anyone.

Cross v Beaton - Both players can probably think themselves lucky to be here, Cross as mentioned surviving a bunch of match darts against Steve West, while Beaton needed to come back from a 4-2 deficit. The market seems to have Cross priced as too short of a favourite, but I'm really not thinking that Beaton can actually produce enough of a game to pip Cross to the line, Rob will surely step it up in a tournament where, with Wright now out, he can get a first European title.

Gurney v Webster - Darren finished pretty quickly yesterday but didn't score too well when he wasn't winning the legs and nearly managed to lose to Burnett, Daryl on the other hand had a bad start against Meulenkamp, losing the first two legs before having little trouble winning six of the next seven to get home, should really have been six straight legs but he missed a ton of doubles in the one Meulenkamp won (a 24 dart hold of throw, yikes). This looks to be 70/30 on the projections and the odds are around there so nothing on this one.

Suljovic v Reyes - Mensur, backed by a passionate crowd who he was playing up to hugely, only lost the one leg against Labanauskas in the performance of the round, winning every leg in fifteen darts or better with two in four visits. The only other player to manage two twelve dart legs in this tournament, other than West's ridiculous four in the first round was, you've guessed where this is going, Cristo Reyes in the first round, who saw off Jelle Klaasen 6-2 yesterday in what was an OK game on the scoring but really bad on the doubles, which dragged the averages down a lot. Suljovic is priced at 1/3, while he shouldn't be that short, I think that the stats are still underestimating him and he does have homefield advantage, and I don't think Reyes is consistent enough at this time to be able to keep it close enough. Probably end up regretting it when he throws like he does against MvG in the worlds a couple of years back.

White v Whitlock - White's also at a stage where we should probably be auto-betting him until the market adjusts. I don't think there's quite as much of an edge as there is in Dimitri games, but I've got this as White winning around 5 in every 8 trials and he's only priced a little bit shorter than evens, so with White being the form player and Whitlock not really doing anything convincing (from 4-4 he could easily have lost the last two legs he won against Adam Hunt), we'll go again - 0.25u White 4/5.

Wade v Clayton - James dumped out Peter Wright in a game where he didn't finish his winning legs that well, but it was Wright that had everything to do with that - in the four legs Wright won Wade was averaging over 120 and so was a huge favourite to finish all of them in a fifth visit, which Peter didn't allow. Clayton got through Max Hopp, it was a decent enough display, getting out to a 5-1 lead and then grabbing a fourth five visit kill to hold and prevent a comeback effort, he needed that with Hopp waiting on 46 to make it 5-4 with the darts in the tenth. Clayton seems to be closer to Wade than the market suggests, looked good yesterday and has got to have gained confidence from that win, let's go 0.25u Clayton 23/10.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Austria round 2 bets

Let's have a look at the matchups we have:

King v Cullen - Jason didn't have much trouble yesterday but didn't need to do a great deal, Mervyn's a different proposition. The line looks decent, I've got King at nearly 70%, perhaps there's tiny value on Cullen, especially if you factor in that King's back can start playing up at any moment, but Mervyn looked decent last week so I'll avoid.

Price v Taylor - Tough ask for Taylor, who didn't play too badly yesterday in fairness, but a Price that's returning to form is a whole different proposition. Price is 1/4, I've got it up at 83%, so there's a little bit of value - 1u Price 1/4

Chisnall v Jones - That's a real short price for Dave, even shorter than Price is. I'm not getting Chisnall as much of a favourite as Price though, but he's still easily over 75% to win the game. There's probably tiny underdog value on Jones at 4/1 but he didn't put Burger away easily enough for my liking. (11am edit - Chisnall's withdrawn so ignore this)

Beaton v Humphries - Luke's the favourite, which given the experience difference says everything about their current form. The projections however call this a coinflip, maybe even having Steve a small favourite, I'm a bit cautious as Luke looked very good yesterday slamming in four ton plus finishes, but we have big odds and we usually take them when given, 0.25u Beaton 7/5

White v Dolan - Brendan came through a tough ask in Tabern without needing to throw more than one leg in fifteen darts, White's hugely tougher though, and I don't even give Dolan a 20% shot at this one. The price looks very good here, I won't go quite as strong as on Price given Dolan has shown in the past he can show up on occasion, whereas Taylor has yet to do so - 0.5u White 4/11

Cullen v Lennon - These are the sorts of matches Lennon needs to be winning if he wants to make the next step in the game up towards the top 32, he's a dog against Cullen but not as much of a dog as the market makes out having better than a 45% shot, so we'll take this all day - 0.25u Lennon 13/8

Smith v Barnard - Michael is in surprisingly good form, easily dealing with John Henderson, but even being offered 9/2 I can't suggest a bet in this Michael derby, such is the form Smith is in - the line looks close to perfect.

van de Pas v van den Bergh - Bet of the century, 1u van den Bergh 8/13, simple as, I'd bet Dimitri all the way to 1/5, 1/6 sort of level, that's how much better he's playing than Benito right now.

Webster v Burnett - Burnett looked good in spells yesterday against Steinbauer where he wasn't really tested, and has better chances here than the market thinks against Webster, who's looked a bit better of recent, but Ritchie seems the bet here, 0.25u Burnett 23/10

Gurney v Meulenkamp - A bit surprised at how easy Ron made it look against Gabriel Clemens, but he'll need to step it up again to stand a chance against Gurney, who's nearly a bet, having a projection at just a spot over 80%, 2/7 isn't quite the edge I'm looking for, if the market moves in favour of the Dutchman then get on Daryl.

Whitlock v Hunt - Adam came through a tough out in Menzies in a deciding leg, Whitlock is the next test and he's not completely drawing dead against the indifferent Aussie, we're being offered nearly a good price at 11/4 with Hunt probably having about a 30% shot, it's not quite enough given the value elsewhere.

Klaasen v Reyes - This has the potential to be a game where both are averaging over 105, both are averaging under 80, and literally every possibility in between, I've got this as a flip, the market favours Jelle, so 0.25u Reyes 6/4, should go larger but this is the sort of match which could drive the betting man nuts so I'll just go small.

Cross v West - Steve became only the third player this season to throw four twelve or better dart legs in a race to 11 match, unfortunately for him he's facing one of the other two (Dave Chisnall being the third). The tournament favourite can probably think himself a bit unlucky to get such a tough draw, and I think there's value laying the world champ, 0.1u West 4/1 - Steve's got about a 29% shot I think so let's have a flyer.

Clayton v Hopp - Third game so far where the non-seed is the favourite and we've bet 1-1 so far, I'm not adding to this, Clayton has been quiet so far but projects to win, but isn't an overwhelming favourite (not even 60%) and given Hopp's form it's safe to avoid this.

Wright v Wade - Another big candidate to win the event gets a brutal draw as Wright faces Wade in the match of the night, I'm getting it at about 60/40 Peter, 2/1 Wade looks tempting but with Wright for all intents and purposes being eliminated from the Premier League I do wonder if he switches focus to the ranked events now, especially with no van Gerwen opening things up. No bet.

Suljovic v Labanauskas - Lacking data on Darius, five legs in fifteen darts yesterday looks convincing enough to at least consider a punt at 3/1, but Mensur's on home soil, so I won't.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Austria round 1 bets

Unsurprisingly, the bookies are not forthcoming in offering lines on the matches involving Austrian qualifiers, would have thought they'd have thrown out Wade 1/20 or Lennon 1/10 or similar, but obviously not. This doesn't give us that many first round games to have a look at, but let's go:

Tabern/Dolan - as expected Tabern is the favourite, now I've run the projections he does come in as a favourite as I'd have expected, the value is probably on Dolan but only getting about 6/4 with about a 43% win chance isn't huge value, avoiding.
Henderson/Barnard - line looks pretty plumb here, Hendo's installed at 4/7 and I've got him at about 65%, let's move on.
Meulenkamp/Clemens - the model's spitting out Clemens as a favourite. He's priced as an underdog. First bet here, 0.25u Clemens 11/8.
Taylor/Heinz, Cullen/Alexits - not touching these as no data on the Euro guys and the home nations guys aren't exactly great so won't be lumping on at odds on (hugely odds on in Cullen's case).
Edhouse/Labanauskas - Darius is the underdog. Edhouse isn't a name that is hugely familiar to casual darts fans and isn't a bunny, but the Lithuanian should have more than enough to get through as often as required, 0.25u Labanauskas 11/8.
Humphries/Munch - not a huge deal of data on Munch post the worlds, and it favours Humphries, but as there's not much data then if I extended it to include the worlds then it'd probably turn away from a bet on Luke, so will pass.
Huybrechts/West - This looks like a pretty good spot here for Steve, we've got good data on both and I've got Steve at just over 70%, and the odds aren't that close to it - 0.5u West 8/13.
Hunt/Menzies - Think that Hunt is a decent live dog here. He's got enough equity based on the winning legs to bet on, just about, and he's much tighter on the losing legs so could be underestimated - 0.25u Hunt 15/8.
van den Bergh/Stevenson - Not quite as much of an edge on Dimitri as I thought I'd have, mainly due to Stevenson being pretty competent. Will pass on this as if I'm wanting to punt on Dimitri being able to bring what he can do when I have an edge, I probably want to do it when he's a dog and will raise his game to match.
Burton/Hopp - We're lacking a lot of information on Burton, to the point where over the season he rates to be the favourite. I'm chucking that out over a smaller sample for obvious reasons.

Austria quick thoughts

van Gerwen is confirmed out so Clayton gets the last seed, I've not seen a draw for the qualifiers yet but you'd have to assume that Lerchbacher gets through as all of the other semi competent Austrian players are, in their infinite wisdom, playing a tournament in the Philippines, because reasons. So chuck out the two good Rodriguez brothers, Rasztovits, Langendorf played the European qualifier and lost and there's not a great deal left that we know about. The main draw is out so let's have a look at what's going on:

Smith v Henderson/Barnard - three players in form, Smith's fourth in the PDC in overall points per turn right now but Hendo's above 90 and Barnard has just been murdering the Challenge Tour, and is only a couple of points per turn behind the big Scot so the bigger name player in each round won't have it all their own way.
van de Pas v van den Bergh/Stevenson - Benito has to be in trouble here, van den Bergh is averaging a shade under 93 which puts him in the top 10 of the whole PDC, while Stevenson has had some good floor results and a competent 89 points per turn, seven more than the Dutchman.
Cullen v Lennon/HNQ4 - Cullen is averaging less per turn than Lennon, less than a point in fairness but this could be very close between two players with similar statistics if Lennon doesn't hit a banana skin, which he shouldn't.
King v Cullen/Alexits - This is Jason Cullen, who's won a Challenge Tour event this year, while Alexits won the eastern European qualifier to make it, but we know little about him. From what we've seen of Cullen on the main tour he lacks explosive leg power but gets home in 15 more than half the time and has a so-so 86 overall average, nothing that should trouble King though.
Chisnall v Jones/HNQ3 - Wayne is doing OK and is looking pretty consistent, up at 9% four visit kills but under 50% for five visit kills, if he can pull that up to 55-60% that'd be a huge help. He should beat any qualifier but Chisnall ought to have more than enough.
Price v Taylor/Heinz - Taylor we saw earlier this month and he wasn't too impressive, but against a German that we don't know he ought to be OK (although Heinz did beat Kist and Noppert in the qualifier), but Price will overpower either of these.
Cross v Huybrechts/West - Ronny's got a losing record in terms of legs and his overall stats are well below those of Steve, who's up in the top 25 of overall average at 91 plus change. He'll need to do a bit better than that against Cross, who's ahead of all but MvG in that category and should come in as the tournament favourite.
Beaton v Humphries/Munch - The slayer of Adrian Lewis makes a return to the European Tour, and will come up against another World Championship contender in Humphries, who is averaging a lot more than Munch did in the UK Open qualifiers, and would certainly be live against Beaton, who's a couple of points better but the ratio of 4 visit and 5 visit kills are virtually identical.
Gurney v Meulenkamp/Clemens - Fun intra-European qualifier first round game, Clemens averaging 90 to Meulenkamp's 88, Clemens with a bit more consistency compared to Meulenkamp's ability to fire twelves for fun when he wants. Gurney should have enough but if he takes any liberties both have the game to challenge him.
Webster v Burnett/HNQ5 - Burnett is not actually that far behind Webster in terms of averages, but Darren looked good in spots last weekend and if he shows up should hold him off.
Suljovic v Edhouse/Labanauskas - Really interested to see what Darius can do, who had a ridiculous average at Lakeside in a losing effort, Edhouse however has been perhaps a bit unlucky with all three of his winning, losing and overall averages at 89. Suljovic looks to be returning to close to his best but could potentially allow either of these enough chances to get home.
Klaasen v HNQ1/Reyes - Assuming Reyes gets through, this could be pretty interesting - both not in great form, averages within a point of each other on all stats, still being able to finish legs quick when they need to but not putting the bread and butter stuff away.
White v Tabern/Dolan - Ian's quality has been highlighted quite a lot recently, and he should easily be better than either qualifier. Tabern may end up coming in as a favourite but this is close - both with an overall 88 average, Tabern a point better when winning but a couple worse when losing, resulting in a slightly better kill speed.
Whitlock v Hunt/Menzies - We've seen Cameron a few times on tour and he's very up and down - both are within a fifth of a point on overall average, but Menzies finishes in five visits in 10% more legs. Whitlock's below 90 on overall average and having withdrawn last week through illness and looking ordinary in the Premier League, could be there for the taking.
Wright v Wade/HNQ2 - Wade/Wright could be the game of the second round assuming James advances, Wright's stats are a bit better, but it's not by much at all.
Clayton v Burton/Hopp - Our newest tournament winner faces Burton, who shouldn't be a free win - after not playing the UK Open qualifiers he's managed to win a board on the Pro Tour and is just the right side of 90 on overall average this season. Hopp isn't, although more recently he's clearly better and should have the confidence and maturity needed to advance now. Clayton's stats are similar to Burton's with a bit better winning average and a bit worse losing average - if he takes a few legs off Hopp could have him, and maybe even if he doesn't he could have issues.

Looking at what I think the draw order is looking like in the qualifier, Reyes should get a no-name, Wade will get the same, Jones should have got Lerchbacher but he lost to Dietmar Burger, who's up against Goedl for the spot, Lennon ought to get Roxy-James Rodriguez while Burnett gets another random, possibly some guy called Gorjup who beat Kallinger 6-1. Will check it's right later and come back with bets.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Hopp's improvement

One thing that I didn't mention in the previous post is that Hopp's now going to be positioned in or very near to the top 16 on the Pro Tour rankings - I think I read he's #17, but with Gary Anderson above him who's taking the whole European Tour off, that should make Hopp seeded, freeing up a spot in the home nation qualifiers, which is obviously great news for all the domestic qualifiers in the myriad of German events.

So how much better is Hopp playing now than he used to be? Let's compare some stats - let's look at the year through to Players Championship 6, and then from the European Darts Open onwards.

In the first sample, he really wasn't playing very well at all. He was losing more legs than he was winning with a 98-101 record, barely winning 40% of those legs won in five visits, and he had an overall average points per turn of 87.55, a good two points behind Schindler and three behind Clemens just looking at his compatriots. Other people in the 87 bracket included the likes of Adam Huckvale, Michael Rasztovits, Luke Woodhouse and Mike de Decker.

In the second sample, he's winning consistently more than he's losing with a 114-83 record, claiming just short of 60% of legs within fifteen darts, a huge improvement from below mediocre to getting towards the top echelons of the game. His real quick leg speed, the twelve darter, which he's always been able to get now and then out of nowhere even when throwing trash, didn't change at all, stuck on 7%, but keeping that constant and bumping up the par legs is enough for him to raise his average points per turn up to 90.70 - back up to Germany's number one, but Schindler's third less than a quarter of a point per turn behind, so while he has a hugely larger sample size than him and Clemens, he's not blowing them away. Other players on 90 include Steve West, Chris Dobey, Johnny Clayton and Simon Whitlock. Not bad company.

Next up we have the Austrian event, which van Gerwen has apparently withdrawn from to concentrate on the Premier League - which apparently bumps all the seeds up a spot and brings someone in from the rest of the field to make up the sixteenth seed, who that is being a spot unclear but we'll see. It does also mean that there'll be five Austrian spots, so there'll be Rodriguezes everywhere, much fun.

Sunday 15 April 2018


Holy shit guys, Max Hopp just won a ranking title! What the hell?

Can't state just how much this is going to mean for German darts. First, it's going to give Hopp, who was already on an upswing anyway, all the confidence in the world, and he's only 21. When Southgate had his penalty saved he wasn't even born. The scene there is already great, now that they know that they've got players that can definitely compete at the top level, it's going to explode. For Hopp in general, this qualifies him for everything through to the end of the season (technically not the Grand Slam, but it'd take a very weird set of circumstances for a European Tour win to not get him in), which will see his ranking skyrocket throughout the rest of the year.

It's mostly the way he did it. Two twelve darters in deciding legs, both finishing on the bull for a 121, in what in each case is clearly the biggest match he's had in his life... I think the whole concept of clutchness is garbage, but if it does exist, Max showed it tonight.

In even more unbelievable results, I correctly picked Michael van Gerwen to lose and can now retire happy. Go me.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Phil Taylor
5 Gary Anderson
6 Daryl Gurney
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Michael Smith
9 Simon Whitlock
10 Dave Chisnall
11 Gerwyn Price
12 Ian White
13 James Wade (UP 1)
14 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 1)
15 Darren Webster
16 Alan Norris
17 Kim Huybrechts
18 Joe Cullen
19 Jelle Klaasen
20 Adrian Lewis

Huge amount of chalk so not a great deal of movement, and what wasn't chalk was further down, Hopp is now up to 43, just one place behind Corey Cadby, who's excited to see that potential rivalry for the next few decades? Benito and Mervyn have applied some pressure to Lewis but haven't overhauled him, Tabern is now in the top 90 while Daniel Larsson climbs to #143.

Saarbrücken quarter finals

Ah, that's better. Thanks to Mensur for missing that match dart, has clawed back more than half of what we'd lost on this tournament to date. To the quarters:

One day I'll work out how to size images for Blogger right.

Interesting that the projections have all the matches with the higher seed around a 2/1 favourite, give or take a few percentage points - the King/Smith match (if you ignore William Hill obviously pricing it the wrong way round which will clearly be palped) and the Hopp/Cullen matches are in and around that area so I'll ignore them (possibly very tiny value on Smith at 8/15 I guess). The other two are a bit more interesting. Price has come through two close games, while Cross messed up a couple of attempts at the nine darter (having eight perfect in the final leg, missing double 12 by a mile) in what was a bit of a slug fest. Price and Cross split their series 1-1 on the Pro Tour last year, although both were already in the books this time last year, so it was while Cross had really yet started to motor, obviously Cross smashed Price up in the Premier League but that's an exhibition so who cares. We can get 7/2 Price which when the projections say he wins more than one time in three looks good. The van Gerwen/White game is also priced up with van Gerwen as too big a favourite for my liking. While van Gerwen's 14-4 up all time against White, and smacked him about in their last meeting 10-1 at the European Championship, there's hope here. White beat van Gerwen in their last European Tour match 6-1, and also whitewashed him in a Pro Tour final about two years ago. Some of their longer matches have also been quite close - 16-13 in the 2015 Matchplay quarter (the one van Gerwen won) and 10-8 in the 2014 UK Open quarter. We don't need this to work too often, and it has worked before, also couple in van Gerwen looking pretty ordinary in large parts of the game against Alan Tabern, White looking sublime in whitewashing Dave Chisnall (himself who'd just averaged 108 the day before) and White also having won a title in the last month, then I think for the second time this weekend we can go with the bet. I'm going to go small on both but the bets are:

0.1u Price 7/2
0.1u White 11/2


I suppose that's how I would describe how yesterday went - even in non-darts betting my horse in the National sweep fell at the first hurdle. West running into peak Webster is fine, he'd have needed a twelve to get anywhere before Webster opened up an unassailable lead, White won a scrappy game which is fine, then we have Beaton seemingly unable to find a big treble and getting multiple bounceouts, Humphries pushing Cullen close but Joe held in five visits in the decider so fair play, our two big underdog shots had the expected results (might have hoped for more than 1 leg between the pair though), then Nicholson. Oh dear Paul. Hold to go 5-2 up, analysis is looking accurate, Benito holds in five visits, fair enough, but then you leave 40 after twelve on your own throw, miss all three, get broken, get let back in in the next leg on 80, pin the treble but then miss two more match darts, then in the deciding leg hit four straight tons but then throw 41, then miss two more match darts trying to clear up 60 and lose. That's the difference between a small quarter or so unit loss and being stuck nearly a unit and a half. Oh joy.

Last sixteen kicking off in about an hour, let's see what we've got:

van Gerwen/Tabern - this one shouldn't last long. Tabern might actually have better chances than the 12/1 offered suggests but not by much.
Chisnall/White - actually getting quite close in the race to see who's number 2 in England in the FRH rankings (with Wade and Webster not too far behind either), I'm projecting this as close to evens so there may be some value on Ian, but firing an 83 average yesterday when Chisnall is sweeping someone with a 108 average (so completely unassisted) doesn't fill me with confidence.
Gurney/King - good win for Mervyn yesterday, but Gurney's probably a bit of a tougher ask, I'm projecting 70/30 which is close enough to the line that there's no opportunity here.
Smith/Klaasen - Jelle advanced yesterday over a pretty mediocre opponent to snap a losing streak, Smith isn't a mediocre opponent who was given a tough test by Steve Lennon, who's quietly getting a reputation as a solid challenger, albeit not getting the results. Think Jelle's just too inconsistent to realise his expectation, I think the line could be a bit tighter but there's not much there, if he'd averaged more than 83 and thrown more than one five visit leg then I might be a bit more excited.
Hopp/van de Pas - should be Hopp/Nicholson but let's not revisit that, Max got past Peter Wright from 4-4 with a break to win in the tenth, thanks to Peter managing twelve darts in a row without a treble, which allowed Max to completely whiff on 8 for the match and return to pin double two on a sixth visit. I've got Max up at around 70% and he's not priced like that, 0.25u Hopp 4/6.
Cullen/Larsson - nothing much on Daniel who got a bye thanks to Whitlock's illness, apart from the first leg he won Joe's finishing was very solid, so he should get home in this one.
Suljovic/Price - match up of the two relegated players, Mensur averaging about a point better than Price did, but Price's floor form has been good and I don't get why the market is so far in favour of Suljovic. I don't see anything on Twitter to indicate there's a mystery injury so let's bet, 0.25u Price 5/2.
Cross/Webster - had both of these to lose yesterday, neither did, touched on the Darren match a bit earlier but Cross won 6-0 with all but one leg in fifteen darts, Webster is 4/1 but I'm only getting his chances at around 23% so I don't think there's really enough value to risk it here.

Now to catch up on the stats to date in time for the quarter finals.

Saturday 14 April 2018

Saarbrücken round 2

Not yet had time to put all of yesterday's results into the database, but six legs in the context of a 200, 300+ leg sample isn't going to make a huge difference to any projections. Looks like yesterday was bang on break even, I'm fine with Menzies playing well to come back and Nicholson playing well to pull away from Aspinall, Keegan Brown we'll never speak of again. Today here's what I like:

- West's had a quietly good start to the season, he comes in priced as a small underdog, my model has him as a small favourite, there's not much edge put averaging 99 makes me comfortable enough to think we're getting the better end of his range - 0.25u West 6/5.
- Have talked about White's form quite a bit, Menzies is also doing well but not quite in White's league, he had a great run of legs yesterday but even accounting for that White should still be better than a 2/1 favourite, and he isn't priced that way. Bit cautious given Menzies having a good game and relatively small sample, but 0.25u White 8/13 regardless.
- Price has looked much improved since the Premier League is behind him, he's a big favourite against Shepherd and is priced perfectly to match.
- Kuivenhoven's got no stats other than yesterday, his finishing speed wasn't impressive so I think Klaasen just rolls him here, at 2/9 I won't be betting it though.
- Beaton/Tabern could have been a major quarter final a decade ago, the market has this a bit closer than I think it should be, Beaton's not been spectacular and Tabern's made more noise but I think that's relative to expectations, even taking into account Alan's good finishing yesterday I've still got Steve at over 60% so 0.25u Beaton 4/5.
- Not a huge amount of data on Perales, he won yesterday through getting four legs in over six visits, that's not going to cut it against Chisnall.
- Lennon blitzed Thornton yesterday, Smith's a step up but he looked OK against van Gerwen, he's certainly a live dog but I've got Smith winning more than two times in three so we're not really given an edge to bet on Steve.
- King/Wade is a big clash, Wade looks too short to me but King's back could flare up at any time so I won't touch this.
- Gurney against a home player could be fun, Eidams did nothing yesterday to make me think that he can compete though, this is close to a Gurney bet even at 1/7 that's how one sided this could be.
- van de Pas is a favourite? What? That's the most ridiculous thing I've read all week, there's not a huge sample on Benito winning because he hasn't been winning but his losing average so far this year is 78 which says all you need to know, 0.5u Nicholson 6/5.
- van Gerwen/Noppert should go the way you think it'll go most of the time. It doesn't go that way enough of the time to not make us go 0.1u Noppert 9/1, that's too long, he's got at least a one in six shot.
- Wright/Hopp, oh boy this one will be red hot off the back of a van Gerwen game, the line looks close to spot on though, if Hopp can bring his recent for in then he has a shot but Wright should be too strong.
- Cullen against Humphries is intriguing, Luke threw in six five visit kills to beat Ronny Huybrechts and with Cullen being quite inconsistent this year I think we can value bet this one, I still have Cullen the favourite but more like a 10/11 shot, 0.25u Humphries 11/8.
- Suljovic/Wattimena is a bit of a clash of styles, Mensur's probably a bit too big of a favourite in the market but I do have limited data due to him missing a chunk of the Pro Tour, and he's now not got the Premier League commitments so it might be a bit misleading (see also Price, Gerwyn). Also you don't know how Wattimena will react to facing someone throwing darts that looked like one of my practice sessions.
- Last up is Cross/van den Bergh in a world championship rematch, that showed how close the two of them are relatively speaking and Dimitri has continued to play great stuff despite not getting the results to show for it. Cross is correctly a favourite but some of those prices are a bit silly, 0.25u van den Bergh 18/5.

Thursday 12 April 2018

Saarbrücken round 1

Looks like a fairly solid field of qualifiers, there's a couple of randoms but as they've drawn each other it simply gives us a game to completely ignore rather than a couple we might try to take punts at, some odds are actually out so let's start projecting - everything's from 2018 in terms of sample:

Stevenson/Shepherd - 56/44, neither have had a bad start to the season but Stevenson's been a touch better. Line is way too close to the projections so nothing here.
Edgar/West - 47/53, the line has West as a huge favourite, Edgar's been very good but unlucky with draws, although he has posted on Twitter (probably jokingly) that he has some sort of minor injury. Will pass as such as the line's so wildly off that there's too much chance of shenanigans.
Jenkins/Menzies - 54/46, odds have Jenkins as the slight underdog, Menzies has done decently well so far in his PDC career but Terry's not been slouching and isn't rusty in the slightest, let's go here - 0.25u Jenkins 11/10.
Kuivenhoven/Muller - what the hell is this. Interesting to see new names I guess.
Dekker/Larsson - I don't have anything recent on Larsson. He hasn't been bad when we've seen him and there could be some value given Jan's propensity to not show up in Europe, go with it if you like but I'll hold off for now until we've seen him throw.
Eidams/Williams - 75/25, there's not a big sample on either, both just playing the UK Open qualifiers, but Eidams has a big edge on the stats, homefield advantage and more stage games. Worth the shot - 0.25u Eidams 8/13.
North/Noppert - 48/52, North's finally starting to get it on the stage, 5/4's not quite enough to risk anything against a quality operator.
Perales/Woodhouse - 49/51, this seems like one of these that we'd have no idea about in the pre-dartconnect era, the model has it real close but despite most places putting Woodhouse at 60% there's so much vig that I can't get anywhere near the edge I need to bet Perales.
Horvat/Tabern - Dragutin didn't play the UK Open qualifiers so I don't have recent data, I feel like the line seems right with Tabern being a smallish favourite.
Humphries/Huybrechts - 68/32, Ronny's dropped under the radar of late with just two cashes since the worlds, Luke's understanding the senior game a lot more now and this looks a good spot - 0.25u Humphries 8/13.
Lennon/Thornton - 63/37, Lennon played some proper darts in the last Euro Tour event, and I can only assume the market is this close on name value, seems like value here - 0.25u Lennon evs.
Lerchbacher/Hopp - 47/53, Hopp's returned to form hugely this past couple of weeks so probably has better chances than the projections suggest, Lerchbacher also has the home crowd to factor in so an 8/13 Hopp line doesn't look enticing either way.
van den Bergh/O'Connor - 77/23, van den Bergh has just been killing it without getting the results his play suggests, this really does seem like a keep backing him and eventually it'll work scenario, 0.5u van den Bergh 1/2.
Nicholson/Aspinall - 32/68, Aspinall has been one of the stand out players so far this season, and has done it quietly enough that these sorts of spots come up for us, 0.25u Aspinall 8/11.
Wade/Kanik - 75/25, Wade is probably the strongest player entering this round right now and the market is priced up accordingly, getting 5/1 on Kanik could be value but I'm not feeling it with the form Wade is in.
Brown/Wattimena - 67/33, what a match this could be to get the crowd fired up, two young quick players throwing some good stuff, so let's put it on last, jesus. Brown is priced well enough to bet here, 0.25u Brown 4/5.

That'll do for now, check back in tomorrow evening for second round projections and bets.

Mansell's run

Let's look at Mickey Mansell's run, something ochepedia has already done a bit of, indicating that he managed 39/42 legs in 18 darts or less, which is always going to help and somewhat of a good pace, but that's not up to 93%, a figure reached by much of the top 16 - although it is better than Mansell's 88.4% which he's been averaging since the Players Championship Finals (thought I'd chuck that one in given he beat Gary Anderson there which'll surely help his stats).

What of the quick legs? Since that major, Mansell's won 173 legs, of which 6.4% are in four visits, and 48% are in five visits or better, resulting in a winning average a fraction below 90. Not exactly world beating stuff, tack on that he barely breaks 85 when losing to make an overall average just over 88, he's going to need to have played a lot better than that to win a PDC tour event.

Except he didn't. Of the 42 legs he won, he got three in twelve darts or better for 7.1%, and 22 legs in fifteen darts or better, for 52.4%. Opponents let him win 20 legs in more than fifteen darts, which is a hell of a lot. Compare to Adrian Lewis who won 40 legs - he managed 5 legs in twelve darts or better, and 29 legs in fifteen darts or better. Looking at the players who made the third round or better, Mansell had the fifteenth best points per turn - smack bang in the middle of the table at 91.09. Sure, that's three points better than his overall average over the larger sample, but in comparison to the field it's nothing special.

So is it a case of the opponents letting him win? Let's look round by round:

6-0 vs Huybrechts - broke in 5 visits with Kim on 148, held in 6 with Kim on 38, broke in 5 with Kim on 20, held in 6 with Kim on 120, broke in 6 with Kim on 56, then held in 9 (!) with Kim on 16. That's junk from Huybrechts, 15 Dart Bot whitewashes Mansell here, only in two legs did Huybrechts leave himself on a double after 15. Free win.

6-0 vs Eastwood - held in 6 with Gary on 66, broke in 5 with Gary on 141, held in 6 with Gary on 104, broke in 5 with Eastwood on 175, held in 5 with Gary on 155, then broke in 5 with Eastwood on 78. Here, 15 Dart Bot would be leading 5-1, Eastwood having fifteen darts in five of the legs and the closest he got to leaving a double were the easy two darters in legs 1 and 6. Pretty doubtful that Eastwood kills the 155 he'd left after 12 really. Another free win.

6-1 vs Norris - held in 5 with Alan on 116, broke in 5 with Alan on 96, held in 6 with Alan on 160, Norris then holds in 5 with Mickey on 156, then a hold in 5 with Alan on 170, a break in 6 with Alan on 76 and a hold in 7 with Alan on 44. 15 Dart Bot would be 5-2 up at this stage, but you've got to think that he was gifted the last two legs, and could easily have used an extra visit in legs 1, 3 and 5 if needed. It's a bit of a better standard, but it didn't need to be.

6-0 vs Thornton - held in 5 with Robert on 40, broke in 5 with Robert on 99, held in 6 with Robert on 86, broke in 6 with Robert on 67, held in 5 with Robert on 66 and then broke in 5 with Robert on 20. 15 Dart Bot would be 4-2 up here, but Thornton only got one dart at double the whole match in the last leg.

6-3 vs Price - held in 5 with Gerwyn on 103, Price holds in 5 with Mickey on 139, held in 6 with Gerwyn on 20, Gerwyn then holds in 6 with Mickey on 10, Gerwyn then breaks in 5 with Mansell on 115, Mansell then breaks back in 6 with Gerwyn on 132, holds in 4 with Gerwyn on 229, breaks in 6 with Gerwyn on 40 before holding in 6 with Gerwyn on 40. Now there's some good legs here, namely 1 and 7, but 15 Dart Bot would have taken every other leg to win 7-2. Price could have taken the third having left 71 after 4 but not killing, made a comical effort in the sixth only leaving 132 after eighteen darts, and similarly did poorly in the eighth, getting down to 173 after nine darts, but when given another nine darts he can only get one dart (maximum) at a double. He takes his chances, he wins.

6-3 vs Payne - held in 6 with Josh on 32, broke in 6 with Josh on 30, Josh then breaks back in 5 with Mansell on 16, Josh holds in 7 with Mansell on 20, holds are traded with Mickey holding in 4 with Josh on 220 before Josh holds in 5 with Mickey on 151. Mansell then holds in 7 with Josh on 60, breaks in 4 with Josh on 49, before holding in 6 with Josh on 62. Another 7-2 win for 15 Dart Bot, but there were some good spots - the hold in leg 5 was clinical and the break in leg 8 was good, but even there Payne had thrown six perfect darts and then can't get better than a dart at bull with the other six darts he was allowed. Grab that chance and finish the legs where you were offered six visits in as he has done 89% of the time this season when he's won a leg and it's 6-3 the other way.

6-4 vs Lewis - will summarise this differently - he held his five legs in 5 visits. This is good, but the first three legs Lewis wasn't even on a finish after 12 darts, and 100 and 71 in the next two aren't guarantees. On the Lewis throw, Lewis held the first in 4 visits with Mansell back on 275, then holds in 6, 5 and 6 - Mansell was nowhere near a finish in the first of these on 100, but got a dart at the bull for a twelve in the middle leg and one at tops in the last one. Lewis then got broken in six visits for Mansell to claim the title. Now this was a good performance - 15 Dart Bot would be 5-5, not being able to touch the Mansell throw, but Mansell couldn't touch the Lewis throw, apart from in the last leg.

So, in conclusion, he had a great game against Lewis and showed some spurts of genius in places, but in more or less every game he was gifted chances. An awful lot of chances, and not half chance 25 yard screamers required, we're talking two yard tap ins. He took them and credit to him, but to get six straight opponents letting him win as easily as he did is a miraculous bit of luck.

Draw is out for Saarbrücken - some interesting games I like the look of include a possible Beaton/Tabern second round game if Tabern beats a probable opponent of Horvat, the return of Jenkins against Menzies, Wade/Kanik with the winner facing King looks excellent, Lennon/Thornton could be close, Aspinall has a great shot at Sunday facing Nicholson and then Benito, while the Webster/Edgar/West section could literally go any way. Projecting the qualifiers, but North/Noppert has potential, Humphries against Ronny Huybrechts or Jerry Hendriks is intriguing, Brown/Wattimena should be rapid, while either van den Bergh or van Duijvenbode against O'Connor could be a highlight. Look later for projections once the quali is done but don't expect bets unless the bookies are on their game.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Some specific player analysis

Managed to get all of PC7/8 into the database last night, so let's have a look at some of the players I wanted to.

First up, Adrian Lewis and James Wade. Two players who have had a fairly similar trajectory of late - former major winners, both English, both mid-30's, next to each other in the Premier League standings last year, and both had an awful 2017 which saw them slump to their lowest position in the PDC rankings for quite some time. Now both of them are playing a lot better stuff, with Wade threatening in Europe and Adie making two finals just this past weekend. Is this just variance or are they playing better?

The Dartconnect stuff allows us to see everything from the floor, which I didn't have prior to the worlds, so the 2017 stats are only from the European Tour and upwards (as noted many times, if it's unranked, to me it's an exhibition, so I ignore it), so what did the players do in 2017 (i.e. from the UK Open up to the worlds)?

Lewis: 111-113 legs won/lost, 97.73 points per turn in winning legs, 89.90 PPT in losing legs, 93.96 PPT overall, 19.82% of legs won in four visits, 74.77% of legs won in five visits
Wade: 116-129, 90.10, 87.52, 88.84, 7.76%, 48.28%

Overall, those figures are quite good for Lewis, but they are overwhelmingly taken from his one good tournament (the Matchplay), where he played 111 legs. The rest of the year he's not been so great, but he was injured for a chunk of it, so there is that. Wade's figures are rank average and I think everyone knew that. Now let's look at 2018 to date:

Lewis: 275-201, 93.79, 90.38, 92.45, 12.73%, 60.73%
Wade: 286-237, 93.41, 91.31, 92.53, 9.79%, 60.49%

Now these figures are somewhat different to the previous sample, and they're actually quite similar. Lewis has a few more twelve dart legs than Wade, which you might expect given his explosive power scoring that he can produce. Wade on the other hand has a better losing average by nearly a point, which again you might expect as he's known as the more consistent player. But Wade's definitely upped his game - everything is a hell of a lot better, and while most of this is on the floor, it's a marked improvement. Lewis' stats aren't as good as last year, but as stated, half his 2017 sample is from one good tournament. On their rankings in terms of overall points per turn, they're 13th and 14th this year (after excluding BDO players), and you could roll off the players who are better pretty easily (it's the Premier League minus Price and Whitlock, then add Cadby/van den Bergh/White/Chisnall). Are either Lewis or Wade playing well enough that you can make a case that they should be ahead of four of these players? Probably not, but if they keep playing as they are, and hit some good form on the stage, perhaps taking advantage of a draw opening up, then it's entirely possible that they can throw their name into the hat for a wildcard for the 2019 Premier League.

I wanted to look at Joyce, Tabern and Barnard. I've not got the Challenge Tour in the database (it's unranked), but the same stats for these players are as follows:

Joyce: 193-143, 92.00, 88.50, 90.62, 10.88%, 55.44%
Barnard: 181-155, 89.78, 86.57, 88.40, 4.97%, 49.17%
Tabern: 167-156, 89.96, 85.08, 87.73, 7.19%, 46.71%

Joyce looks the most impressive of the three, which you'd expect given he's doing it on the main tour quite a bit more often, but while none of these are awful stats, none of them are truly threatening, but compare Barnard's figures to Wade's of last year. He's not blasting in the twelves, but they're awfully similar otherwise. To try to compare Joyce's figures, have a guess which ex-Premier League player is putting up the following statline:

241-216, 91.96, 88.87, 90.60, 10.37%, 55.60%

That's extremely similar on more or less everything. I don't know if it says more about Joyce than it does about Kim Huybrechts, but it's notable just how close everything is. Both rank around #30 in the overall average stats that I'm looking at, so while Huybrechts may be slumping, it's not by a great deal - you've just got quite a lot of players who are outside the top 16 that have had great starts to the season like de Zwaan, Aspinall, Dobey, Keegan Brown and James Wilson who aren't otherwise in the official top 30. de Zwaan's the best of these and he's barely more than a point ahead of Joyce's average.

Will update the second division darts later tonight (off to watch the Bayern game and play some actual darts myself) and probably do the quick thing on Mansell I wanted to. May also troll the archives and find some Bristow footage to look at how he did in his peak in the 80's, if I can find a Betamax player.

Monday 9 April 2018

Players Championship 7/8 - another routine Michael double

Very interesting set of results - Michael Smith winning an event is one that I think people could see coming a mile off, Michael Mansell on the other hand is one that I don't think even Michael Mansell could see coming. Fair play though, he only lost 11 legs and had to do it the hard way, going through Huybrechts, Eastwood, Norris, Thornton, Price, Payne and Lewis, all of whom have done something at some stage of their careers (apart from Eastwood I guess, but along with Kevin Burness he did cash twice this weekend which is OK for where they are in the FRH rankings). Lewis can count himself unlucky to have reached two finals and not win one, but twelve grand for the weekend sees him climb back into the FRH top 20 at the expense of Benito van de Pas, who had another mediocre weekend.

Elsewhere, James Wilson had a good weekend with two quarter finals, Mark Webster got a first quarter in what seems like forever, de Zwaan continues an impressive start to the year with a semi final, while Ryan Joyce is similar with two board wins.

Current FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Phil Taylor
5 Gary Anderson
6 Daryl Gurney
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Michael Smith (UP 1)
9 Simon Whitlock (DOWN 1)
10 Dave Chisnall
11 Gerwyn Price
12 Ian White
13 Raymond van Barneveld
14 James Wade
15 Darren Webster
16 Alan Norris
17 Kim Huybrechts
18 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
19 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 1)
20 Adrian Lewis (NEW)

Mansell's win moves him into the top 64, one place above Josh Payne. Alcinas' quarter final sees him sneak back in the top 50, with around 40 through to 55 clogged up with non-English players. de Zwaan is about four grand outside the top 50 and continues to rise, Hopp is back in the top 60 now following more good results, Alan Tabern is in the top 100 while Joyce is into the top 110, and another in form player in Michael Barnard is in the top 120.

That Wade segment is going to need to wait until later in the week, I'm not going to get round to collating this weekend's results until Wednesday (damn you Flybe), but once done I'll have also have a look at Mansell's run, the performance of the likes of Joyce, Tabern and Barnard, and probably also have a look at Adrian Lewis.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Munich aftermath

The domination of Michael van Gerwen shows no signs of letting up, with last sixteen and quarter final wins for the loss of just one leg, and then not really being threaten by either Daryl Gurney or Peter Wright in the semi or the final respectively. Wright makes a second straight final, displaying a solid game throughout, while Wade continues his impressive early season form with another semi final, getting him back very close to the seeds for future events if he isn't there already, and all but locking up a place in Dortmund. Lower down, Hopp showed somewhat of a return to form with good wins over King and Suljovic, Keegan Brown had a good run to the quarters with some clutch wins, and Luke Humphries converted qualification into the last sixteen and had his chances against Rob Cross as well.

Updated FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Phil Taylor
5 Gary Anderson
6 Daryl Gurney
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Simon Whitlock
9 Michael Smith
10 Dave Chisnall
11 Gerwyn Price
12 Ian White
13 Raymond van Barneveld
14 James Wade
15 Darren Webster
16 Alan Norris
17 Kim Huybrechts
18 Jelle Klaasen
19 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
20 Benito van de Pas (DOWN 1)

Elsewhere, Keegan Brown climbs to #38 following his quarter final appearance, Max Hopp isn't quite back in the top 60 but is less than £400 from doing so, and Sunday competitors Alan Tabern and Luke Humphries are both within five places of the top 100.

A solid weekend on the betting sees us claw back the small loss we had the previous weekend and still have enough left over to put a unit and a quarter in the plus column for the European Tour. We've now got a couple of Pro Tour events before we go with back to back European Tour events in Germany to close the month.

A couple of things I want to do at some point in the next couple of days - I want to look more closely into Wade's stats to see how much better he's actually playing in comparison to last year, and I might have some more general play with stats to see if there's anything interesting that I can show people. Any thoughts on what you want to see?

Sunday 1 April 2018

Munich final day

Obviously pretty chuffed with how today's gone, had some players not show up but that's not a huge deal when more than were expected did so, there's lines up so let's look at round 3 - word in advance, do not expect any updates after this one before the end of the tournament, I've got a football double header tomorrow so will be just on the phone from about 10am and not be in any position to analyse the outcomes:

Smith/Wade - Smith looks around 63/37, he played pretty well against Dobey who wasn't playing badly but couldn't quite click into the extra gear needed against Smith when he was showing up. Wade took a while to get going and was a bit of a beneficiary of Klaasen throwing junk in leg 5, but did what was needed after that. Odds are giving it about 60/40 which is close enough to par that I'm not interested.

Suljovic/Hopp - my god, how are the fans going to react to this one? I've got this running at 65/35, and I've said repeatedly that the stats on Mensur are underestimating him as we've not got a metric ton worth of data due to no UK Open qualifiers, but we're being offered 3/1 on a confidence player that's come through two games already on home soil against someone whose main advantage on the European Tour will be negated to some extent. I don't think it's a big edge, so will play small - 0.1u Hopp 3/1

Cullen/West - Cullen hit an absolute god shot to take out Meeuwisse, nailing 164 to finish with Yordi on 82 after 12 on his throw in a deciding leg. West needed to grind it out a bit but did so, I've got this at about 58/42 Cullen, the bookies are offering 6/4 on West, it's not quite enough for me.

Wright/Tabern - Tabern's run is probably going to end here. He's been decent value for small punts in the last two rounds, but it looks like it runs out here - with the model giving him 21% and only getting 9/2, there simply isn't the edge to make things worth while.

Cross/Humphries - Luke was lights out first on against Gerwyn Price, but this is a step up against the world champion, who just did his job holding before powering away in the last three legs against Johnny Clayton. I've got it around 80/20, so do the bookmakers, let's move on.

Gurney/White - Daryl had no trouble as expected against Ryan Meikle, a bad seventh leg excepted, and comes up against Ian White, who didn't really show any signs of breaking Bunting until he was offered good chances later in the game which he took, the model gives Gurney as a 55/45 favourite yet we're being offered better than that on Ian, so let's have a nibble, 0.25u White 13/8

Brown/Webster - Two non seeds clash in the last sixteen, Brown needing to come from 3-0 down against Whitlock while Webster had to get back from 5-3 down against Chisnall, both absolutely blitzing their last three legs - if you want to see clutch darts check out these games. The model is giving Brown as the favourite, so let's go with that at the odds given - 0.25u Brown 6/5

van Gerwen/Norris - lol norris

Munich day 2 bets

Interesting day yesterday, real surprised to see Lewis go out but Meeuwisse hit some lights out darts that didn't give Lewis many chances from leg 8 onwards, and those that he did get he missed. Dobey probably played the best of everyone in that five leg spell, Aspinall's got to consider himself pretty unlucky (and me having bet on him) with the standard he played at but Lennon didn't give him much to work with apart from in a weak first leg from both, I'm happy with the Berndt bet, when betting at greater than 3/1 you're just hoping that they stay close often enough that they might get a chance, he managed to get match darts but couldn't take them, oh well. Can't complain about that one when we got out of jail with Tabern I guess.

Won't repost any stats with new data, as they're not going to change too much, but let's look at what lines oddschecker is showing today:

Price 8/11 v Humphries 6/4 - this ought to be a Price bet, and if Humphries starts like he did against O'Connor then Luke probably leaves himself too much to do, I just really wonder about Gerwyn's state of mind. Maybe with him finally being eliminated officially it's a weight off his shoulders he can start to play a bit more freely again, let's go with that assumption given the model's reckoning he wins 2 in 3 ignoring external factors, but lean smaller than we might have done normally - 0.25u Price 8/11

Chisnall 8/13 v Webster 6/4 - for all intents and purposes the market has this as 60/40, the model has shifted a little bit more in favour of Chisnall this morning by about a percentage point, but it's not quite enough to have any real edge, even taking into account Webster not playing that great against Dekker, which may have been down to travel, and if so he should be stronger today.

Huybrechts 8/13 v West 13/8 - basically the same line, except here I have the game being a lot closer. It's shifted a fair bit from yesterday's prediction given West didn't win a single leg in fifteen darts, but I think there's still about enough there that we can take a poke at this one with Kim not being in the greatest of form - 0.25u West 13/8

King 8/15 v Hopp 7/4 - I had both Rodriguez and Hopp as slightly longer than 2/1 shots before yesterday, so the line may hint at a King bet, it's shifted slightly further in favour of King, with Hopp only getting the two legs in par yesterday, but mix in that King's had continual health issues that could spring up at any time (although I think staying in Germany since Leverkusen and travelling across more leisurely may help that), Hopp's homefield advantage and that Hopp, as a confidence player, finally has a win, there's enough doubt to not bet.

Anderson 1/3 v Tabern 7/2 - Tabern got three legs in par yesterday, which didn't change the prediction at all from yesterday which put Tabern at around a 1 in 3 punt, which points to a bet. That Tabern let Wattimena win three legs where he'd had eighteen or more darts to win the leg is a bit of a concern, a lot of this being missed doubles where he didn't look really that close to hitting, but this seems like a value bet, i.e. one that we have to make even though it probably loses - 0.1u Tabern 7/2

Whitlock 4/9 v Brown 5/2 - Brown had little trouble with Langendorf yesterday, and it was a mix of four good legs that he won, two where he got there, two he should have won but didn't, letting Langendorf break in six visits, and one where Langendorf held pretty decently. I've got this at around even and remain unconvinced about Whitlock, Keegan's been playing well enough all season that this should be closer - 0.25u Brown 5/2

Norris 4/9 v Alcinas 21/10 - Antonio played well enough to overcome an in form James Wilson yesterday, taking three legs in par and taking what Wilson let him outside of that. I continue to have Norris as an underdog on projections so this may be an even stronger play than the Brown bet - 0.25u Alcinas 21/10

Gurney 1/4 v Meikle 4/1 - Odds seem about perfect, Meikle did what he needed to do but did not look good in the process, Gurney is a huge step up and should be an easy winner.

Cullen 1/3 v Meeuwisse 11/4 - Meeuwisse's performance yesterday has tightened up the projections enough that I've got it at 75/25 which is what the line is telling us, so nothing here, Cullen should come through and it's a big ask for Yordi to pull off the sort of heroics he did yesterday twice in a row.

White 10/11 v Bunting evs - White continues to be criminally underrated in the market, Bunting looked pretty good yesterday but over the course of the season he's not come close to White's standard, I have him at better than a two in three shot so this is easy, 0.5u White 10/11

Klaasen 9/5 v Wade 4/7 - Line looks really close to spot on in a rematch from last week, there's not enough value in either one to consider a bet, Wade should come through unless Jelle can find some good legs and hit a couple of twelves, ideally on the Wade throw.

Smith 4/9 v Dobey 11/5 - This should be a bit tighter than the line suggests, Dobey was really hot yesterday (although it'd be nicer if he'd cleaned the match up faster, heck, Schindler had a dart for 5-5 and the throw), and while Smith's started the season like a freight train there's enough edge here to go with the underdog, it should be a bit closer to 13/8 or so - 0.25u Dobey 11/5

Wright 2/9 v Payne 4/1 - Josh basically had one real good leg yesterday, making a meal over a game against Rasztovits where Michael managed to get a match dart, Peter's a huge step up and while I don't think he's quite as big a favourite as the line suggests, factor in recent form and I can't recommend a Payne bet.

Suljovic 2/5 v Noppert 21/10 - The model reckons that Noppert is a tiny favourite, but we're really short on Suljovic data and he continues to have a losing average well in excess of his winning average, he's effectively eliminated from the Premier League now so maybe he can relax a bit, but there's too much weird stuff going on here to bet. Noppert didn't exactly look good against Ratajski, who looked even worse.

van Gerwen 1/9 v Lennon 8/1 - Lennon dealt with Aspinall despite Nathan averaging 102, if he plays as he did then he's in with a shot, it's a long shot but it's better than an 8/1 shot. I tend to think he can't do that twice in a row and he'll give away a leg or two that he can't afford to.

Cross 2/9 v Clayton 9/2 - Line looks perhaps as if it's favouring Cross a bit too much, but Clayton looked right average yesterday apart from the couple of twelves he threw, that's not going to be any good against Cross.