Wednesday 30 May 2018

Clarity of thought

Something that I'm a bit lacking in, having delayed by commute home due to Northern Rail going full Northern Rail and not fancying two train journeys today in conditions that would make animal rights activists lose their shit if we were transporting chickens in such conditions, and the only way to properly wait an hour for a later train is in licensed premises.

So anyway, suppose we're stepping up to take on a fairly high outshot, where there's possibilities of routes we can take. It's important to know what we're doing when we step up and how to adapt to each dart in the sequence. Let's say we've left ourselves on 132 for whatever reason, and the opposition is on a low score so we really want to go out in this turn. We've either done our maths and, somehow, the maths on our particular skill set suggests going bull first is optimal (or, more likely, we use conventional bad wisdom and just fire away at bull because keep visit alive at all costs aaaaaargh). We hit the bull. Now we go for bull again.

NO NO NO. Why are you doing that? You have 82 left, and the premise of the visit is to go out in this visit. It had better be a fucking great marker on the smallest target on the board to justify going for the smallest target in the board again, rather than going for treble 14 to leave tops.

But wait FRH Towers, why do we start on bull on 82? Because we have three darts, and doing so will allow us a dart at a double assuming we hit a minimum of 25 with the first one. Similar if we have one dart in hand, we either return on double 16 or big number for tops. We do not care what we might leave ourselves with two darts on 82, because the whole purpose of the visit is to go out - we are not expecting to return. If you're solely interested in finishing in six darts, just try to hit a straight ton.

There's similar applications on something like 121 or 161. Let's say the opponent is not really in range to kill, so we just want to not mess up setting it up, so in the first instance we'll go for bull if we hit two singles and leave 81 (if we stay upstairs) or 84 (if we switch, because we might go for it, who knows). 161's a similar discussion if we hit one treble.

Now this line of thinking to leave yourself an easier two darter when we return is fine. I've no problem with it. But if you're going to do this, there's two things you could do. Let's just consider the 121. On our second dart, why don't we switch to 19's if we're not fussed about going out this visit? If we hit, we're on 44, we've got a choice of singles to leave a preferred double. If we miss, we leave 82 - now this makes no real difference if we hit 25, it's still a single for tops. But it makes a huge difference if we hit bull - we're now on double sixteen, rather than on 31 (not ideal, we have to waste a dart), or 34 (not the best double in the world).

Or why not just shoot at bull on the second dart? We're then leaving 51 if we hit, easy single for a choice of whatever double, if we hit 25 we're leaving 76, which can set up double 8 or double 14, depending on whether you're Mensur Suljovic or a normal darts player. Or even on the first dart? 71 or 96 in two is fine and sets up pretty well whichever way you want to look at it. The general point is that if you're going to go for the bull to take advantage of leaving an easier shot if you hit 25, then do so at such a point in the visit where it doesn't leave you with more troubles than you need to when you return if you don't hit exactly 25.

Couple of events going on today. The World Trophy has started in the BDO, looks like they're posting up Darts for Windows PDF's so I can get some lovely data. Deta's already out, sigh. I didn't actually realise until today that this is actually a five day event, which seems incredibly excessive. I'm sure they could have trimmed it down to four and had a Friday afternoon session - surely the players that are playing today that wouldn't return until Saturday would appreciate being able to work a hotel schedule better, there's one less day's venue rental and it's not as if you're going to get noticably smaller crowds on a Friday afternoon than a Wednesday evening at a BDO event. Could even give them away to local schools or something, have them learn maths by doing the scoring for them. It's also a couple of Euro Tour qualifiers tonight, the second one is either still going strong or the results aren't on Twitter yet, but it looks as if Wattimena, Hopp, Reyes and van der Voort have got through the first one amongst others, surprising again that de Zwaan didn't get through, but we'll wait and see if he can make it through the second one.

Monday 28 May 2018

More on averages versus money earned

A quick one:

I've taken the average points per turn of everyone that's played at least three Players Championship events (didn't want outliers like Colin Osborne squashing the chart even more than it is on the lower end) and plotted them against the average money players have earned in the Players Championship series to date.

You'll note there's no Anderson or van Gerwen. I've omitted them as I needed to splice two charts together just to get it not quite so clustered as it already is. It's obviously too big to post as normal in the Blogger template so I've added it as a link (should be able to zoom it to about 1400x1400). Ando's on just short of £3.5k/tournament at just under 95 points per turn, van Gerwen's at over £7k/tournament on a shade under 96.5 points per turn.

There's some interesting things to note on this one. Firstly, while there's some obvious correlation between averaging and money earned, it's not the be all and end all - look at that cluster of Lennon/Nicholson/Searle at just over 92ppt and around £400 per tournament. They're all averaging more than Gerwyn Price, who's making more than a grand a tournament, and they're all making less than Benito van de Pas who's averaging over 8 points lower per turn. If you imagine a banana running from around the Part/Temple/Dudbridge section through to the Evans/Lowe/Price section capturing where the bulk of the players are, you can say anyone to the bottom right is playing better than their results suggest, and anyone to the upper left is running hot (relatively speaking). Anything above around 1k/tournament is almost certainly going to be affected by one or more very deep runs into a tournament so it makes sense to ignore them when looking for a trend curve.

Interesting to see several players not cashing once. Huckvale's only played three, which is fair enough, but Darbyshire's played 10 and Dootson and Groen have played all twelve and not won a single game. That's quite incredible given that Groen has previously qualified for the World Championship and Dootson's previously outright qualified to the money for the UK Open then made the last 16. The main three's results:

I don't know if I want Dootson to draw Groen in round one of the next Players Championship, or if we can get some sort of last longer betting going. Scary that Dootson got his tour card on day one, beating Harris (who's been playing great), Goldie (who was at least doing that earlier on), Pallett (who we all saw at the UK Open), Preston (who's won on the Challenge Tour this year) and then Aspinall to win the card. That's not a bad line up. Such a sharp contrast to Corey Cadby, who won the other half of the draw and has won almost twice as much in one tournament this year as Dootson has in his whole career.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Some speed of killing stats

Bored. Sunday with no darts, what is this? So, some graphics:

A count of all players that have won 250 or more legs in the PDC this year, ordered by legs won. Green segment of the bar = legs won in 12 or less darts, black = 13-15 darts, red = 16-18 darts, yellow = 19 or more darts. No real reason for posting it, just something people might like to see.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Schalke Shootout and other random thoughts

I watched a bit of this last night. I don't normally watch unranked events, but there was nothing better on after getting back from the pub, so why not. It's an interesting set up, it seemed to go on so, so late (I forget exactly when it finished, but the semi finals didn't start until 11pm local at the earliest), I'm not sure that was the greatest idea but at least it was in a bit of the country that's really close to lots of major cities (for those that don't know, Schalke's ground is in Gelsenkirchen, very close to Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Köln being a bit further away but still doable) with decent transport links - although I don't know how many trams back to GE-Hbf there'd be at that time of night and it's a fair old trek.

Obviously the big story, other than the Germans not winning anything and only the one guy that I didn't really know taking his opponent to a final leg and getting a match dart, was that Dimitri van den Bergh announced himself on the world stage. Beating van Gerwen and then Anderson, even if he did run out of steam in the final against Suljovic, is likely to correct lines featuring him to something more accurate. This happening in an unranked exhibition is annoying, as I'm not going to bet on it - if these results had happened on, say, the European Tour, then I'd likely have been on Dimitri in every match. Oh well. Good to see Mensur throwing well, should set him up nicely as we approach the Matchplay.

Elsewhere, in a sign that the PDC has not learned slightly from the clusterfuck of last year, there is still no indication that they've worked out how many players they're going to have in it. As we're more than half way through the Players Championship series and one short of half way through the European Tour (so, in total, we've played 22/41 floor events), you would think they'd have got a move on. At least they should say we're having 96 players, consisting of 32 seeds, 32 from the Pro Tour rankings and 32 invites from international tours/qualifiers/PDPA qualifier etc. Then at least people will have some sort of idea as to what they need to do, even if they really don't have a clue how a lot of the invites will work.

I really hope they don't go for any more than that. There was something that I saw that indicated that they were looking at 128 which would be hilariously bloated. 96 would be a nice number as it'd give the seeds a first round bye, but what do you go with outside of that? You could go with:

- Top 20 in the Pro Tour rankings not already qualified
- Top 4 non-UK/Ireland players in the Pro Tour rankings not already qualified
- Top 4 in the Challenge Tour not already qualified
- Top 4 in the Development Tour not already qualified
- 28 international invites (ideally primarily from their affiliated tours, with qualifiers where a tour doesn't exist)
- 4 from a last gasp PDPA qualifier

This would likely suit everyone - really pushes the minor tours, bumps the general Pro Tour places, and bump up the international nature of the tournament.

Finally, it's a week before the BDO's first major of the year, and apparently as of yesterday they've sold a grand total of nearly 200 tickets. Across all sessions. Preston's fairly local to me, so I could easily get up there if I wanted to, but over twenty quid for six games? In the last sixteen? Two of which are women's matches? In comparison, the next European Tour in Hamburg costs either 16 or 24 euros. For eight games. With an ever so slightly higher quality of play. The place has got to be pretty much close to dead as a professional tour. Barry could probably kill it overnight by, if he does expand the PDC worlds as we reckon he will, just directly invite the top 8 in the BDO rankings. In terms of the qualifiers for the World Trophy, it's a shame that Pallett lost in the last round. He'd probably have won the whole thing. Was quite a lot of Challenge Tour players there, Worsley qualified, Kellett made the last eight, two of the other qualifiers played the Development Tour, Padgett made the last 16... shame that more couldn't punch through but with just four spots it's pretty difficult. Oh well.

Monday 21 May 2018

Well that was an interesting winner

Josh Payne won a second tournament. Didn't particularly see that coming, he's been in and around the top 32 for overall average so is probably playing a little better than his ranking suggests, and he made the world youth final so should be trending back up, but still a surprise. It's encouraging to see - too often you see someone win a title out of nowhere, but can never follow it up, he's done that now so it's interesting to see where he'll go from here. He's put himself into the Matchplay equation at least, although the Grand Prix could be a bit more realistic.

Also had surprising deep runs from a couple from across the sea in Dolan (semi final) and Mansell (quarter) - neither throwing amazingly well (Dolan with an adjusted average of just over 90, the same as Payne, Mansell was a shade under 89) but getting enough done. There were a few weird oddities - Luke Woodhouse made the last 16 despite an adjusted average of 85 and not winning a single of his twenty won legs in twelve darts, whereas Mervyn King had an adjusted average of 96 but ended up being eliminated at the same stage without winning a leg. Across the weekend as a whole, your top five averages came from Peter Wright, Mervyn King, Gary Anderson, Ian White and... Paul Nicholson. Nice return from Nicho, but inconsistent, averaging 88 in his losing legs, he managed to get over 70% of legs won in fifteen darts to get up there.

Latest FRH rankings:

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

Payne is up in the top 60 following his win. All of Taylor's winnings are now being degraded, so he can't mathematically rise at all now. Clayton's barely a ton behind Barney and may have overtaken him by the time we play again. Klaasen is hanging on, with Lewis (both of them) and King within three grand. Dolan's good performances see him solidify a top 50 place which was under threat, Ricky Evans making two quarter finals sees him up into the top 64, while Clemens is just outside the top 70. Ryan Joyce continues his rise, two grand over the weekend putting him up to number 90, and the same amount for Michael Barnard lifts him into the last spot in the top 100.

Final words goes to Keith Deller - stating Adie has been to the last sixteen in the last five Pro Tour events, whilst accurate, is just asking for him to be knocked out early, which Arron Monk did in the first round. Top bokking.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Living on a prayer

As mentioned in the previous post, we're half way through with the Players Championship season, with the second half kicking off just a few minutes from now. Burton posted up the current rankings on Twitter yesterday, so what I've done is gone through my list of points per turn across the whole season (this is also including all the UK Open stuff and the European Tour), to see who's averaging in the top 64 but isn't in the top 64 of the Players Championship rankings, and conversely, who's been putting money on the board that isn't averaging that highly.

Will state now that I've excluded European Tour only players that have no tour card and haven't played anything else (although Labanauskas is the only real name that is up anywhere near the top, other than that guy that Bunting whitewashed who averaged 92), and I'm also going to exclude those players who have played quite a bit of the tour (European Tour, UK Open qualifiers) but don't have a tour card and hence can't get into the Players Championship events, or only do so infrequently - Ratajski, Harris (although he's just there now on countback, but as he's only played yesterday I'll omit him), Hughes, Boulton, Prins and Nentjes would all have been in the top 64, so I've expanded to 70 to omit them. So who's not in the top 64 but is averaging well, and why:

Raymond van Barneveld (10th on averages, 103 on rankings) - understandable as he only ever plays a limited schedule.

Jason Lowe (26th, 72nd) - he's been up high enough on the Challenge Tour rankings that he's played three and got to a semi final already, you would think he'll get more shots, especially for the last four if he can put some more bank together in the next Challenge Tour weekend (sadly it's not until September).

Joe Cullen (35th, 68th) - this is just a weird one, he's been killing it in Europe but has bricked seven out of the first eleven events. He's only won his board once, but you think that'll change soon.

Martin Schindler (38th, 78th) - he's made that one quarter final, but has too many first round defeats. He's not that far off the top 64 and you think he'll put enough runs together to get there. Maybe his travel set up isn't ideal? Unsure, he did well in the UK Open qualifiers but there's three of those in a weekend so it's slightly different.

Steve Lennon (41st, 70th) - I talked a bit about Lennon in the previous post when looking at the Matchplay race and I think the same will apply here, now he's seeded he should push on.

Luke Humphries (45th, 104th) - it's his first full season, he's probably still getting used to the senior match game. I'd expect him to rise as he gains more experience, it's not like he hasn't been qualifying for Europe.

Vincent van der Voort (49th, 81st) - think this is mostly just a bit of bad luck, as mentioned in the last post his average when losing is really close to that when winning, could perhaps use getting some explosiveness back, if he does that he could slot in a board win or a quarter final and be fine.

Ross Smith (53rd, 69th) - it's not like he's hugely outside, it's only by 500 quid. He's been around for a while and this season has had a lot of one win and done results - could easily be beating a random then losing to a seed, if he gets a shot where the draw opens up he could put together a bit more money in one go.

Paul Nicholson (54th, 80th) - started showing a bit more form yesterday, after a string of five straight defeats. He's always seemed to be a confidence player so should climb the rankings a bit going forward. As I say that, he's drawn Jason Lowe today and is on the #1 seed board...

John Goldie (56th, something really low) - completely gone off the boil after the last UK Open qualifier where he made a quarter final, only winning two games against James Richardson and Prakash Jiwa. Could he simply have been running really hot early?

Matt Edgar (57th, 65th) - only outside on countback so nothing to be concerned about I don't think.

Ritchie Edhouse (58th, 74th) - has won a board already and wins his first round game more often than not, so should keep chipping away you'd think.

Willie O'Connor (60th, 79th) - he's always had peaks and troughs, a quarter final being offset by six first round defeats.

Andrew Gilding (67th, 84th) - he's missed a couple of events which doesn't help, play those and pick up just a win in each and he's more or less where the rankings would suggest.

Dirk van Duijvenbode (69th, even lower than Goldie) - just having a horrible run. 1-11 this season. It's not like it's always good players - he's drawn Rowley, Newell, Klaasen, Green, Price, Jacques, Darren Webster (twice), Lennon and Payne. It must be a confidence or getting over the line thing.

Terry Jenkins (70th, 86th) - missed one weekend and probably still readjusting to playing the Pro Tour week in week out.

So those are the players that are outside who should be in - what about those who are in that shouldn't be? Jenkins was the last on the list that should be in with an 88.38 average, I'll list everyone's average for comparison:

Mickey Mansell (10th on PC rankings, 88.20) - not out by much at all, clearly binking one will help but he'd still be in if he didn't.

Alan Tabern (35th, 87.84) - a little purple patch as he had in March with back to back board wins will always help push you over, much as those who are averaging just over the cutoff but are out, on the other side of the coin a lot of the people who are in are just on the right side of variance at this stage and it could iron out.

Scott Taylor (36th, 85.78) - if it wasn't for that miracle final, he'd be well outside, his average isn't too great so you think he needs a bit of help or improvement to keep things going and make the final 64.

Robert Thornton (37th, 87.74) - has a bit of a discrepancy between winning and losing average, clearly a swingy player, his good stuff is just about good enough to get enough wins for now.

Jelle Klaasen (40th, 87.56) - same analysis for Thornton except it's much, much worse of a gap - he's averaging over 91 when winning, which is fine, but only 83 when losing! That's a big chunk.

Jeffrey de Graaf (43rd, 88.16) - not outside by much on the averages. Again, one where when he's playing OK it's just about good enough but seemingly turns off in a few legs, probably not making a difference in some early rounds.

Benito van de Pas (45th, 82.75) - this is the lowest average of anyone in the top 64, has crept to a couple of board finals in last leg deciders and beating up on those making up the numbers in the tour cards.

Mark Webster (49th, 85.58) - could be uptrending. The UK Open qualifiers where he only won £750 and the first seven Players Championship events where he only won a grand may be overshadowed by PC 8-10 where he went quarter final - board final - win board.

Luke Woodhouse (50th, 87.34) - a couple of good runs where you win your board really help to push you up the charts, he's got a bit of a winning-losing differential but has just about enough game to nick the wins to get in the top 64 for now.

Richie Burnett (54th, 86.87) - just doing enough to get by. We've seen recently that the game is there in pockets, combine that with a favourable draw here and there and it helps.

Alan Norris (55th, 87.28) - Norris hasn't been playing well for quite some time, he's always been a bit better on the stage but has the class to be able to win these, just creeping up to the board final enough times will not be ideal but it's got him into the top 64 at this stage.

Tytus Kanik (58th, 87.26) - has been fairly solid in terms of not losing in the opening round - with some good draws you don't necessarily need a great average to do that, and those 500 quids add up pretty rapidly.

Rowby John Rodriguez (59th, 88.06) - not going to be a big difference between his ranking in averages and ranking in money, scoring over 90 when winning will get you enough matches won. Probably.

Antonio Alcinas (62nd, 88.26) - only outside on the averages by 0.12 so nothing to see here.

Jamie Caven (63rd, 86.76) - mostly here on one good quarter final run where he got a dream draw right up until the point where he ran into Adrian Lewis. Should slip off from here I think.

Adam Hunt (64th, 87.64) - nothing really wrong here. Average isn't that far off, had a good run yesterday where he threw well, in some ways it's better to be streaky if you can hit the good stuff when the money really starts to count.

Attention back to PC12 for me now. Cullen's out first round yet again. What's going on there.

Race to Blackpool and other musings

We're now half way through the Players Championship season, which seems unbelievable given we're not even at the end of May yet, but we nearly had the answer to "who'll be the next new player to win a PDC ranking title" in Gabriel Clemens (lol at me thinking the first German would be Schindler a couple of months ago, and he was a dart away from being the third at best). Should have taken it, leading 4-1 you've got to close it out, but a great fightback from Gary Anderson regardless.

Was updating the master computer in running - it's not actually too hard to do, results will come in spurts, particularly in round one, but it's manageable. It did mean that I saw Adam Hunt become the latest person to join the "throw four twelve darters in one match on the floor" club, which Anderson also managed in the semi final. Bizarre given that Hunt, in 171 legs won this year, he's only thrown a twelve dart leg 11 times, so four of them being in one match is insane.

We're getting closer to Blackpool - I think anyone that can realistically get a seed is in already through the Pro Tour (only Klaasen isn't in who's outside on the Pro Tour rankings, but if he got enough to be seeded he'd be safe on the Pro Tour rankings already) so with that in mind I'll look just at the Pro Tour cutoff. We've had the UK qualifiers for two of the three remaining Euro Tour events still to go - worryingly for Norris, he didn't qualify for either of them, losing his first round game both times, so with Huybrechts and Webster seeded he could drop down to the number 16 seed. He should have enough of a gap between him and either of the two players who could catch him (Lewis, Cullen) at 18k and nearly 20k, but either of these could pull a European Tour title out of nowhere, so any wins he can get today and in the remaining couple of weekends should be useful.

So this leaves the Pro Tour - here's the reference chart by Burton:

I think anyone from Wilson upwards is safe. Wattimena should be safe given his great record of qualification in European events, and now that he's seeded on the Pro Tour he should be good. Beaton and Henderson are pretty similar in terms of how they've been picking up cash, if Hendo can beat his qualifier opponent in Denmark he'd be absolutely safe. Mervyn's got two shots to beat qualifiers and make himself safe, despite a weird run of over the last nine Pro Tour events where he's gone out first round seven times, out second round yesterday, then a semi final. West is easily playing well enough to convert from here, he should be able to put home at least another couple of grand in Europe along with what he should gain from the Pro Tour - a good record of making the last 32 or better so far is useful. Keegan's a bit more of a worry having missed qualification twice, but he's won his board on the floor enough that I think he should just get home. North is a bit trickier, he's been very hit and miss and has too many first round exits, his figures (adjusted averages etc) are also concerning. Lennon's on the same cash, but is harder to project as he's only just now got into the Pro Tour seedings, so while he's not managed to win a board on the Pro Tour yet, some of that is bad draws (he's had van Gerwen first round twice, Cross first round once and Wright and Wade very early in events as well) that he'll now avoid. de Zwaan, if he doesn't mess up qualification for Europe (as he oddly has been doing), should be fine, and like Lennon it's hard to project his Pro Tour scores as he's only just now been seeded (although, unlike Lennon, he's been destroying it regardless).

So who can force their way in, given that those on the edge are generally playing well? I think you've got to look at who has the power to be able to go very deep in an event, particularly in Europe. Cadby can, clearly, but despite being entered for this weekend seemingly isn't here so he may have used up too many chances. Klaasen could, but he'll need to readjust to having to qualify for Europe, and simply hasn't been playing well enough - his adjusted points per turn is down at 87, exactly the same to the hundredth of a point as Justin Pipe, and you wouldn't say he's in great form either. Lewis clearly has the game, but needs things to work right - he's just on the edge of being seeded for the Pro Tour, so either he runs into a very high quality seed in the board final, or could get any seed earlier. One good match though and he could easily go deep. Meulenkamp and van der Voort are kind of similar, Vincent's probably been a bit unlucky in spots (his losing average is only a quarter of a point behind his winning average, they're both under 90 mind you), and still has the seeding on the Pro Tour, but I don't see him as being the sort of player that can still make the deep run that'll allow him to close the gap - less than 5% of legs won in twelve darts makes you awfully reliant on hitting fifteens very consistently (which, at less than a 50% clip, he isn't) or your opponents making mistakes. At least Meulenkamp is above 10% in four visit kill rate and can put things together occasionally. Dobey is putting in the scores and has two shots in Europe - it's a bit more of a gap but he at least has the game to do it, one final this year shows that. Like Lewis though, he has the same issue that he's just on the edge of Pro Tour seedings (today he looks to be the last man out assuming no further withdraws). Noppert you feel is getting there, and may have the one big run he needs still in him after the semi final he had in Europe recently. Anyone else seems too far behind - Ratajski I don't think has enough bullets to fire unless there's a huge swathe of non-entrants on the Pro Tour, Dimitri has the game but just has way too much ground to make up.

Going to have a look at the lads that aren't doing it in the Players Championship in a new post, and be back with new FRH rankings after PC12.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

World Cup coming up

The teams got announced earlier this week, and the excitement I have for the event is somewhat close to non-existent. As I mentioned on the blog around this time last year, because the first round is doubles, you can't get any sort of read on unusual players as it's so, so different to singles play.

So what am I hoping to read from it? Well, firstly I'm hoping to see England and Australia get smacked up, using the comical PDC rankings for most teams that have more than a token appearance on the Pro Tour sees two of the top four seeded sides not sending their strongest teams to it (Smith is quite clearly better than Chisnall at this stage, it was close on the rankings to be fair, but Cadby not being involved is comical, although they'd probably chuck out Anderson if they did make an exception despite Whitlock being worse).

Second, I want to see some of the Asian players play steel tip. It's interesting that the Chinese team had a qualifier won by one of their female players - coupled with them featuring the guy that played the worlds who's incredibly young and looked like he was an OK prospect if a fair bit away from the top level, how they do is something I want to see.

Third, I want a read on the Scandi guys before the Copenhagen Euro Tour event, sure we see some of them in the Euro Tour anyway, but it's limited, and we've got a better sample size here.

Finally, I just want to see how some of the complete randoms do. As it's somewhat rumoured that the PDC are going to expand the worlds to such a state that it'll become incredibly bloated, they may end up filling spots with players we've not heard of from miscellaneous territories that we simply don't see apart from here. So it may have some value.

Monday 14 May 2018

Zwolle aftermath

Should have had a new winner. We really should have. Got to congratulate van Gerwen on his fourth European Tour title of the year, but how he got there I'm really not sure. Webster had a chance to make it 5-5 in the last sixteen and would have had the darts in the final leg, but can't finish him off in the eighteen darts he was offered. Anderson didn't really get close, but Gurney blowing a 6-2 lead was remarkable - should really get more than one match dart in offered eighteen darts to win, but that's all he got in leg 10, and he was offered the same scenario in leg 12, and got two match darts, no prizes for guessing what happened there. This just left the surprise finalist of Steve Lennon in his way, who didn't do too badly after a sluggish start, having two darts to make it 6-7 where he'd just need a break to have the darts in the decider, but couldn't quite get there. Sure he'll be happy with that result though, which sets himself up for the European Championship as a minimum, and he's now just above the line for the Matchplay.

Elsewhere, Kim Huybrechts had a bit of a recovery to reach the semi final, but wasn't playing astoundingly - against Wattimena he didn't finish a single leg in fifteen darts, and in the semi final he only managed that once. Nothing to write home about really, he just got the right opponents playing the wrong way at the right time. No huge surprising names in the quarters, Bunting was very good prior to running into Gurney, probably the best he's played all year, similar could be said for Kyle Anderson before hitting a van Gerwen-shaped wall.

Huge weekend coming up. There's two of the remaining six Pro Tour events before the Matchplay, as well as the qualifiers for Gibraltar and Copenhagen (at least for the UK players, the Euros have it before the World Cup) which make up two of the three remaining European Tour events before Blackpool. As of right now, some big names that are outside (in order of closeness) include Klaasen (was outside the seeds anyway but is now outside the Pro Tour spots), Jamie Lewis, Danny Noppert's getting very close, Ratajski probably doesn't have enough shots to get up there, but Cadby's entered the qualifiers so I'd assume he's also entered the Pro Tour events, he currently sits about 10k outside the cutoff but we know he can accumulate that very quickly, especially if he makes a European Tour debut. Norris is in the seeds but would be outside on Pro Tour rankings, so while it'd take Cullen or Lewis to win a Euro Tour to realistically knock him out, whatever he can pick up will help matters

New FRH rankings:

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

No real movement. Gurney would have got above Anderson if he beat van Gerwen, and above Taylor if he won the title. Bunting returns to the top 25 at the expense of van de Pas (how quickly is he sliding?), a couple of places ahead of Kyle Anderson. Wattimena is getting increasingly close to the top 32, but has about a 6-8k gap to three closely bunched players directly ahead of him. Lennon reaches number 45 in the rankings, Menzies is now less than a grand off the top 100.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Zwolle final day - what the hell was that day 2?

I guess this happens now and again when you bet quite a lot of underdogs (of the seven picks made, Joyce was the third shortest at 15/8), but it still sucks to some extent when just one of those hitting would leave you still up for the tournament. Still, down about 0.6 units over the course of 13 bets is nothing really (as an aside, I'm not sure how I missed analysing the Menzies match yesterday, for which I probably would have tipped Cameron and it'd all have been fine, oh well.

A brief post mortem seems fine, Jones missed some doubles (five in leg 2 to equalise, two plus one at the bull in the final leg to keep the game alive) but Kim only gave him one chance at a break (in leg 5, but Jones couldn't manage more than two big trebles in fifteen darts so wasn't close), so that's probably losing regardless. Hendo had a great start - hold in five visits then leave 24 after twelve with Richardson on a three darter, miss three clear, forget how to score in the next and get broken, miss four more darts at double for parity in the fourth, and then he can't do much else but fails to extend the game in the last leg missing five more darts at double. Joyce did fine once Mervyn stopped being unplayable in taking a 4-0 lead, although not keeping closer order in leg 10 cost him the match, there's no point hitting a 180 if at that stage your opponent has already been allowed five match darts. Dekker game was similar, Whitlock played really well for four legs to put him in too much of a hole, he claws it back but scoring deserts him in leg 9, and then he misses a couple of darts in leg 10 to force a decider where he'd have the throw. Payne clearly looked to be a good value bet, getting to 4-2 up, and then punching through with a break after being clawed back to 4-4, he just then couldn't slot in the fifteen dart leg which would have won him the match in leg 10, he put the pressure on in leg 11 leaving tops after four visits but Mensur held his nerve. Wright simply offered Wilson no chances to break without something special and slotted in an eleven darter on the Wilson throw so nothing really doing there.

Today we've got eight matches, here's the image that I already posted on Twitter indicating win chances:

The colour coding, while a bit too yellow, should give you some indication as to who's going to win this event, which is conveniently being held in the Netherlands, let's look at the odds:

Lennon (10/11) v Richardson (11/10) - Lennon reached the final day after Rob Cross gave him a bye (illness per Twitter), so whether that's disrupted his rhythm I don't know, but he's through to this stage of the Euro Tour for the first time, and will face Richardson, who took what he was given against Henderson. Richardson still doesn't seem convincing and I really don't think this is as near to a flip as the bookmakers suggest, so 0.25u Lennon 10/11, would probably have gone stronger if I'd have seen Lennon play yesterday and not get a break. He was good against Rowby at least.

Suljovic (8/11) v Whitlock (6/5) - Was surprised to see the master computer throw this one up as being so close, as two players who I bet against in the first round came through against younger talents. It's a big shot for either of these with an unseeded opponent awaiting in the quarters, the line looks pretty damn good if you adjust for Mensur's consistency - both average 92 points a turn in winning legs, hence the master computer reckoning this should be close, but Mensur's 95 average when losing is over eight points better than Simon's.

Wattimena (6/5) v Huybrechts (8/11) - Kim didn't offer an off-game Wayne Jones much at all, while Jermaine was averaging close to a ton against Joe Cullen until a 21 dart last leg dragged things down a tad. There's likely some small value on Kim, but as he's done nothing in Europe all year and is in Jermaine's back yard, coupled with Wattimena being a bit more consistent (his losing average is the same as Kim's to within a third of a point, whereas Kim is a couple of points ahead when winning) I think that can be tightened up a bit, or at least enough where I can't see enough edge to punt.

Wright (2/5) v Price (9/4) - Price dodged a match dart in a game where he looked pretty good up until 5-3 and just fell over the line, Wright as we mentioned earlier was solid against Wilson and should come in as the favourite to win this half - if he can get through Gerwyn. Price, a finalist on the European Tour just last month, has been playing much better of late and I don't think there's as much of a gap in the quality of the players as the line suggests, so I'm going to take the Welshman here, 0.25u Price 9/4, and hope that yesterday was the bad game which he got through and he'll up things today.

Bunting (8/15) v Ratajski (6/4) - Stephen looked really good against Smith, rolling him 6-0 in a game where he was averaging 113 until the final leg, sure Smith wasn't well but even a Smith firing on all cylinders couldn't compete with that. Krzysztof came from two down against Jelle Klaasen to win 6-2, could easily have been 6-1, with a string of fifteen dart legs or there abouts that didn't offer the Dutchman much. Bunting I think is being overvalued on the back of yesterday, over the long haul Ratajski's been playing the better darts, even if we factor in that Bunting played like peak Bunting yesterday and that Bunting is a lot better on the consistency scores than the Pole, I can't see how I can get this to anything better than a coin flip, and you take 0.25u Ratajski 6/4 in those circumstances.

Gurney (1/2) v King (19/10) - Daryl had a very good performance against a slightly resurgent Reyes yesterday, getting out to a lead with some superb play and it was only Reyes playing excellently as well that kept things close, Gurney didn't drop as he averaged 102 in victory. King flew out of the blocks and just held on to get over the line against Joyce, but I can't see a repeat here. Graphic above says 65/35 in favour of the Irishman, which looks more or less spot on with the line so no bets here.

Menzies (6/4) v Anderson (8/13) - Another two unseeded players meeting here in what should be an effective final unless Webster pulls out a special, Kyle has come through Kist and White in two games where he's been just shy of the three figure average, while Cameron took care of Munch easily before putting in a professional display to outduel Dave Chinsall in round 2. Menzies might be slight value, and may be a touch underrated on account of him not having a tour card, but I can't bet on him - Anderson has put in two solid performances, and more importantly has been to this stage of a PDC event many times before, having Menzies at a 44% chance and being offered 40% odds doesn't seem too great in context. Anderson's also probably underrated by the master computer, Cameron's scoring when he's lost legs is a fair bit below when he's winning.

van Gerwen (1/9) v Webster (8/1) - Darren has the game to be able to do this, but I don't think I can bet here. He had a couple of dodgy legs against Beaton yesterday which I don't think he can afford, and it's in the Netherlands in an event where Michael is going for a fifth straight title. If van Gerwen hadn't just won his first game in a whitewash with five very solid legs (leg 6 was a trainwreck but we'll ignore that) and also played what's likely his best tournament ever the previous weekend, I could maybe make an argument, but this looks solidly a no bet.

Probably no quarter final action today, will likely head to watch the Premier League final day, but the projections for everything have been posted above, so use them at your peril.

Friday 11 May 2018

Zweite Zwolle Runde

Ja, es ist Deutsch I'm going back and forth I am bilingual! Anyway, less SFUR quotes, more analysis - pretty fortunate to be up today, as stated on Twitter claiming a profit for the Beaton win felt very dirty, and while Payne got there it was pretty fortunate, although there were a couple of legs he lost that were LOL that'd have put things to bed a lot earlier. So let's kick ahead with round two

Huybrechts/Jones - Wayne smacked up Jamie Lewis pretty convincingly, didn't see that coming, and he's still better than 2/1 against Kim Huybrechts? There's not as much of an edge as I'd have thought, with Jones only having about 37% equity when I'd have guessed up towards 40, but at the price offered with the way he played on Friday this seems good, 0.25u Jones 9/4.

Henderson/Richardson - Too many syllables there. Richardson got through but wasn't really that convincing, and Hendo should have enough here, with the model putting him above 70% of a chance. 0.25u Henderson 4/6.

Price/Horvat - Still severely lacking data on Dragutin, he was competent enough against Alcinas but Price is a step up in class, and I can't see value even being offered better than 3/1.

King/Joyce - Wow, Ryan made his game earlier a lot tougher than it needed to be. The model can't separate these two, and after today I'd think Joyce may be playing with some freedom given that he should have been out, so let's get on here, 0.25u Joyce 15/8.

Cullen/Wattimena - Could be explosive, could be ordinary. Who knows. I just know the model ranks Joe as a tiny bit better than a 2/1 favourite, as does the market, so let's hope Jermaine brings it and we are entertained.

White/Anderson - Could be one of the games of the round this. Kyle played very well in an opening round win over Christian Kist, and he'll need to keep it up against White. Model has this at around 4/3 in favour of White, which is near as damnit to the actual line. Avoiding but thinking someone will hit triple digits in averages.

Smith/Bunting - Stephen got through an easy round one but now faces an intra-St Helens smackdown against the Premier League semi-finalist. Looking at the projection which gave Smith a greater than 75% chance of advancing I'd have thought it'd be an automatic bet, then I saw the best price we were offered was 4/11, which has calmed me somewhat.

Whitlock/Dekker - Probably some value on Dekker here. I've got him at just short of 40% of a chance here, and as I think I've mentioned before his losing average is really close to his winning average so I think he's running a bit bad, so let's go with a bit of 0.25u Dekker 2/1.

Cross/Lennon - Steve's been close on a few occasions against bigger names but has never really managed to punch through and needed all 11 legs to get past Rowby in round 1. While I think that Lennon has slightly more chance than the market suggests, which offers him around a 25% shot, I'm not even getting him at 29% so I'll leave this one alone, and if he can get through, good luck to the lad.

Suljovic/Payne - Josh certainly didn't make it easy as there were numerous scrappy legs against Clayton, now he faces another European Tour winner in Mensur, and I think he's live again - 0.25u Payne 11/4.

Wright/Wilson - Peter's been playing some real solid stuff in these past weeks, then again, so has James. Lethal Biscuit took apart the Nordic qualifier fairly comfortably and looks to have much better chances than the line suggests, so 0.25u Wilson 29/10.

Klaasen/Ratajski - Jelle's still a seed, at least until the next tourney where I think he's dumped back to the qualifiers, but if it's not certain this game may accelerate it, the bookies can't slit them, but I can with the Pole having better than a 60% chance, 0.25u Ratajski 10/11.

Gurney/Reyes - Didn't see Reyes getting past Wade to be honest, should have trusted the model, oh well. Said model gives Cristo about a 31% chance, he's a fraction longer than 2/1, no value, next...

van Gerwen/Jenkins - Jenkins is technically a value bet, but if you want to put a bet on at only 8's when he's got an 18% chance against the best player in the world in the Netherlands you're a braver man than me.

Webster/Beaton - Steve got away with absolute murder against de Graaf, but he's here, model here has Webster as a small favourite, smaller than the market suggests but I'm not touching the Adonis with a twenty foot barge pole after today.

Seven bets today, one more than yesterday. Go forth and hopefully profit.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Zwolle betting analysis

So our qualifiers were mostly who we thought they would be - Wattimena and Dekker got there, but Kist and de Graaf joined them, which are of moderate surprises, but if Kist is over the issues he had at the back of last season, and if de Graaf was having a hot run as we know he can, then it's not too crazy. Lines are out so let's have a look at what to recommend, in match order:

Joyce/Rosenauer - Royce is huge odds on as you would expect, with no info whatsoever on Rosenauer I can't recommend a bet.

Alcinas/Horvat - This comes in fairly close to evens with Alcinas being a marginal favourite. Dragutin didn't play too badly last time out and can certainly compete with Antonio but there's not enough information to consider a bet here.

Richardson/Cullen - Cullen comes in as the dog, which I don't find surprising given the relative exposure of each player, but last year's Tom Kirby finalist, a tour card quarter finalist, a Challenge Tour winner and with a win on the European Tour in the last year is formidable enough, Richardson's really done nothing since the worlds - 0.25u Cullen 13/8.

Huckvale/Wattimena - Sure it's in the Netherlands, but this is much, much closer to evens than the market suggests as detailed in the previous post. Always a bit nervy to fire on someone on debut, and Jermaine's been pretty good in getting out of the first round, but Adam won a title literally last weekend - 0.25u Huckvale 31/10.

Jones/Lewis - The quarter finalist from last weekend is big odds on, it's probably a bit too big, but I don't see overwhelming value in punting on Wayne here at 11/4.

Engstrom/Wilson - Line is giving it 80/20 Wilson which seems fair enough, James has been doing well and while I don't think Johan will be a cakewalk, I can't recommend a punt either way given the lack of knowledge.

Lennon/Rodriguez - Was thinking this to be quite close in favour of Steve, line does in fact make Steve a favourite at more or less the expected price so no value in this whatsoever.

Kist/Anderson - Market puts this as 75/25 Anderson, I had Kyle at not quite that short but that was against a projected opponent of van der Voort, so let's plug Christian into the master computer and see what's doing... it thinks 80/20. Hard to suggest a bet on Kyle, Kist has won a total of two grand since the worlds (excluding the grand here) but if he's come through the qualifier he may be playing better right now than the record suggests.

Menzies/Munch - Now we've got a bit more information here, the edge seems kind of similar to the previous game. Cameron's looked fairly comfortable on this sort of stage, so let's go with 0.5u Menzies 4/9.

de Decker/Jenkins - Could be a little bit of value on Terry here, I'm projecting him at very slightly north of 65%, so as we can get better than 60% value I think we should go with it, 0.25u Jenkins 8/11.

de Graaf/Beaton - Bookies have this really even - I thought it'd be like this if Noppie came through, but he hasn't, I'm getting Steve at up in the very high fifties in percentage win chance, plus he's a lot more consistent, it's not like Jeffrey who can let the opponent break him in 20 darts, then go 140-140-140-81 out, then get broken in 20 darts again as if nothing has happened. Beaton's had a pretty good record at not losing in round 1 on the floor this year so 0.25u Beaton 4/5, any shorter and I wouldn't touch it though.

Müller/Bunting - Steve's 1/7, this seems fine to use as a banker in your accas but without seeing more of Müller away from TV I don't know enough about his game and if he'll improve at all after having made his debut last time.

Payne/Clayton - Johnny's understandably a favourite, but this is really a bit too short, we're getting a very good price on the world youth finalist so let's go 0.25u Payne 11/5.

Evans/Ratajski - Line here seems pretty much spot on - I had Ricky as a little better than a 40% shot and he's 11/8, so no bets here, will just look to catch what should be a quick, quality game.

Dekker/Lewis - Don't think Dekker is quite long enough to bet here with Lewis at 4/11. If I knew a bit more about Adie's health (with him having withdrawn last week) then I might go for the underdog, but I'll avoid - betting on Dekker matches when the opponent also has intangibles in play seems like a route straight to the nuthouse.

Wade/Reyes - Wade correctly a solid favourite, there's probably a bit of value on Reyes at 12/5 but he's just done so little for so long, and Wade in this form is exactly who I don't want him to face.

That's your lot, six bets for you all to get your teeth in to.

Zwolle preview

Draw is out, the home nation qualifier is going on as I write (Benito already out obviously, 6-1 to de Graaf), let's have a quick look at the opening day:

Steve Lennon v Rowby John Rodriguez (winner vs Cross) - Lennon got through Eastwood and Murnan, Rowby beat an unknown, Bunse and his younger brother, two young players, one that'll make their World Cup debut soon while another is likely to be dropped for Lerchbacher, projections give this as a Lennon win, but not even 60/40.

James Richardson v Jason Cullen (Henderson) - Richardson beat Petersen and Padgett, Cullen beat Thornton and McGowan (nice scalps), with a not bad draw these may fancy a run to Sunday. Projection is similar to the first game, but in favour of Cullen, oddly enough - Richardson's just not winning enough legs quickly.

Josh Payne v Jonny Clayton (Suljovic) - Payne beat Temple and Pipe to qualify, Clayton did the same to Darbyshire and Kellett. The newest Euro Tour winner is the favourite here, but not by much - barely better than 55/45. Payne has good consistency and isn't lacking behind the Welshman in speed at all, except on twelve dart leg percentages, so this could be an underdog punt.

Adrian Lewis v HNQ2 (Whitlock) - We don't know who Adie will play, but if the site I'm looking at the qualifier draw on (thanks has things in the right order, it's likely to be the winner of Meulenkamp v Dekker, with Jimmy Hendriks and de Vreede being outside punts. Adie, who beat Dolan and Jacques to get here, would be better than 2-1 to win against either of those (edit - Dekker just won vs Ron and de Vreede is gone)

Adam Huckvale v HNQ1 (Cullen) - Huckvale won on the Challenge Tour last weekend so must be playing OK, qualifying via Woodhouse and a last leg decider against Johnson. The likely opponent is Wattimena with only no-names left in his section, and it rates to be very close - Wattimena only being a potential 11-10 favourite.

Wayne Jones v Jamie Lewis (Huybrechts) - These defeated West/Burton and Meikle/Baxter respectively, and the in form Welshman should be around a 2-1 favourite to advance against the veteran Wolverhampton native.

Johan Engstrom v James Wilson (Wright) - I know nothing about Johan, but he beat Razma, Labanauskas and Kantele to qualify, so must be OK, Wilson'll be a tough ask, who took out Lynn in a whitewash and Bain in a decider to reach the main draw. Can't think it'll be an auto win though if Engstrom qualified like that.

Antonio Alcinas v Dragutin Horvat (Price) - Short on data on Horvat, who's only played the one game, losing 6-4 but finishing everything in six visits and clocking in a 95 average in his losing legs, so the Spainard shouldn't have it all his own way.

Tobias Müller v Stephen Bunting (Smith) - Müller's here for a second punt, beating Micheletti, Lerchbacher and Drobick (no, me neither) to give himself a shot at doing better than a sub-80 average in a first round loss to Kuivenhoven last month. Bunting beat Barney then whitewashed Evans to make it, and despite barely having a winning average in the 90's should be too strong here.

Ricky Evans v Krzysztof Ratajski (Klaasen) - Big chance for the Pole to clock up key ranking points, Evans is no mug though, taking out ranking winners Norris and Mansell (still feels weird to say that) in qualification and the model gives him a bit more than a 40% shot to get through here.

James Wade v Cristo Reyes (Gurney) - One of the last times Wade will play the Friday for a while by the looks of things, James saw off Caven and Kirk while Reyes, always hit and miss but mostly miss for the last twelve months, got through Losan (?), Bilderl and Marijanovic. Reyes projects as about a 6-4 underdog, and I can't see how Wade's consistency doesn't come through here given Reyes' form.

Ryan Joyce v Michael Rosenauer (King) - Big chance for Joyce, who's been tearing up the Pro Tour. Qualifying by beating Bowles, Mark Wilson and Green for the loss of just four legs, he should have too much for the veteran German, who edged out van den Bergh in a decider to qualify. Michael's not got any data so it's hard to say how he'll do, except it's probably badly.

Cameron Menzies v Kevin Munch (Chisnall) - Menzies has been doing OK in qualification for these, and Pallett/Evetts/Brown is a good trio to beat. Munch is on a second appearance this season, having lost easily to Luke Humphries in Austria, and beat a couple of no names before Schindler and Clemens to make it here. Hard to call given what we know Munch can do from the worlds and limited data since, but limited data puts Menzies at better than a 3-1 favourite.

Kyle Anderson v HNQ3 (White) - Ando was tested a bit against Osborne and Burness, which is a concern, but he's here and faces a Dutch qualifier, which is looking like being one of van der Voort, Kist or Meeuwisse (who just beat Jeffrey de Zwaan, what?). If we say it's Vinny, then Kyle's around a 5-2 favourite, and will likely be better against other opponents.

Mike de Decker v Terry Jenkins (van Gerwen) - Jenkins beat Nicholson, Ross Smith and Dobey in tough qualifiers, while de Decker didn't have to face anyone tougher than Ronny Huybrechts in the final round. Jenkins should come in at just short of a 2-1 favourite in this one.

Steve Beaton v HNQ4 (Webster) - Beaton beat Taylor and Brooks for the loss of just four legs in comfortable qualification, and the section of the draw he has looks like it'll throw out Danny Noppert, unless Kamphuis, de Graaf or Plooy can stop him. If it was to be Noppert, it'll be very tight, rating to be the closest of all games projected, Beaton being a 52/48 shot.

Bets later once the draw's confirmed.

As we're not a PDC blog, the BDO drew its World Trophy earlier. Some interesting games include Hurrell/Machin, Harms/Warren, Phillips/Labanauskas and Spaaridans/O'Shea. Still qualifiers to go and it's not for three weeks, but hopefully they'll produce stats for it.

Monday 7 May 2018

Sindelfingen aftermath

Mother of god, how good was van Gerwen playing? Let's put it into numbers - of the 33 legs he won, twelve of them were in twelve darts or less for a 36% clip - if you consider that the average of the PDC as a whole this season is 8.5%, and that van Gerwen himself this season is in the low 20's (and the only player with a sample size to be above 20%), it tells you how dominant he was. Only eight of the legs he won took more than fifteen darts, and in the legs he lost he averaged over 103. That's an incredible standard. Nobody apart from Darren Webster was able to get remotely close to him - the best player in terms of points per turn and FRH ranking he played was Michael Smith, who didn't even get a leg!

James Wade made the final, continuing his impressive start to the season and getting himself back among the Euro Tour seeds for events 7 and 8, while Danny Noppert made the semi final to close in on a possible Matchplay spot.

It was also a Challenge Tour weekend - sadly messing up Ratajski (it really would have paid for him to get back after going out first round by any means necessary), but Barnard won another two to go massively clear at the top of those rankings. Cody Harris grabbed one, which would put him very close to being able to get into Pro Tour events if he's over here - not sure what his status is, but if he is able to play he could do some damage, his stats when playing the UK Open qualifiers (and the UK Open itself, where he went out to, oddly enough, Michael Barnard) were good enough that he should be in or around the board final stage. The remaining event was won by Adam Huckvale, who's been in or around the latter stages of these for the last few weekends - he's not been too bad on the senior tour (looking at the figures, he's very similar to Peter Jacques and Jason Cullen to give you an idea), and we'll see him in Zwolle next weekend, so let's see if this gives him confidence to win his first round game.

New FRH rankings:

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

Not as much movement as I'd have thought, but Smith's able to get past Suljovic, although making any further gains is going to need a couple of Euro Tour wins or a big run in a major (at least until Taylor drops, his (and everybody's) worlds score will start to degrade this week), as he's nearly 100 grand behind Gurney. Wade is very close to White for the England #4 spot, while Cullen is now less than a grand away from Huybrechts, and Jamie Lewis' quarter final run leaves him less than two grand behind Klaasen for the last spot. Noppert is up into the top 70 with his semi final run, Nicholson making the final day pushes himself up into the top 80, while Razma making day two and continuing to pick up cash here and there leave him less than 10 places outside the top 100.

Betting was acceptable. Schindler managing to get the one break he needed against Cullen would have made it excellent in a game where every leg went with throw, but Joe didn't leave him many chances.

A question that often comes up is who will be the next player to win some level of tournament - I'll give you my picks for a few categories based off of the FRH rankings and how players are actually playing this season. If someone's won something in a "tier" above I'm not going to consider them, so while the correct answer for next new person to win a European Tour event is Rob Cross, as he's won something slightly more important, I'll ignore him.

Next to win a PDC ranking major:

1) Michael Smith - He's been knocking on the door for a while now, but finally seems to be getting it at that level, up in the top five of points per turn this season and the highest rated player in the FRH rankings not to have grabbed a major title, he's surely at the top of the list.

2) Mensur Suljovic - No, the Champions League exhibition does not count as a major, certainly not a ranking one, but his ratings are incredibly similar to Smith's (less than two tenths of a point per turn below Smith, only two grand behind him in the FRH rankings), with the game that's able to shut anyone out if needed.

3) Corey Cadby - Controversial on the FRH ranking side, but that's only because he's not played a great deal of PDC darts recently. That said, he's already made one major final and is already a ranking title winner, and when he has played he's been at the level of both of the above players. He is the real deal.

4) Dave Chisnall - After the first three there's a little bit of a gap, but I've got Chisnall as just above the rest of them - only recently dropping out of the top ten of the FRH rankings, Chizzy has a level of scoring to match anyone in the game. It just needs a couple of things to happen - Dave not to miss doubles in quite the number that he has been known to do, and for the draw to open up a bit for him perhaps. Probably his best shot would be at something like the UK Open or the Grand Slam where he may not run into van Gerwen automatically as he has done a lot when he's a #8/#9 seed in a tournament.

5) Ian White - He is playing that well right now - in the legs he's winning he's averaging more than Gary Anderson, he averages over 91 in the legs he is losing, and the overall points per turn this year has him eighth. He may well have blown the best chance he'd have in the UK Open that Wright won, and still hasn't managed to crack that quarter final ceiling, but we all know that if he can put things together over one tournament there's nobody he can't beat.

Next to win a European Tour event:

1) Gerwyn Price - It was close between Price and White for who to put as number 5 above and number 1 here, given neither has won on the European Tour, and maybe I should have put Price higher as he's at least reached a major final, but I'll go round this way on account of Price simply not playing at quite the level of White right now, so if someone does burst through out of nowhere and nick a premier title very soon, it'll probably be White, while long term I'd think Price may be the more likely. Still, Price has made one final this year and looks to be getting the Premier League behind him. Should have just picked Durrant at number 5 above as he's better than both White and Price and despite only getting one shot per season, while it would be a surprise, I don't think it would shock anyone.

2) Joe Cullen - He's just been there or there abouts in these so often, that it just seems a matter of time before he takes the step up from winning on the Pro Tour to winning on the European Tour. Making every quarter final this season is no mean feat, he mainly needs to tighten up consistency as there's still too many legs where he simply doesn't score enough, get rid of those and he becomes a lot more formidable.

3) Dimitri van den Bergh - The current world youth champion and world quarter finalist is still doing that thing where he has inexplicable losses (Padgett this weekend, Rosenauer in the Zwolle qualifier), and his averaging when losing has dropped a fair bit over the last couple of weeks, but he still scores over 95 points per turn when winning (in a group with Cadby, Gurney and Chisnall separated by less than a tenth of a point for fifth in the PDC) and over 92 points per turn overall (11th in the PDC). It'll click at some point and do so sooner rather than later.

4) Kyle Anderson - Quietly in the top 20 for points per turn this season, Anderson's won a ranking event, he's won a non-ranking TV title (albeit a very minor one), he's been real close to making a major final and can bring his best game to the stage. He could certainly do with getting back up to the seeded positions.

5) Jeffrey de Zwaan - He's won on the tour this season, reached two further finals, eliminated the world number one from a major tournament in a longer distance game - would it really surprise anyone if de Zwaan's rapid rise continues and he binks one on the European Tour? He's in the top 16 this season for points per turn so he's got the game to do so. The only real problem (and that goes for Dimitri as well) is that he's a long way off the seeds so will need to come through congested European qualifiers, and while he should get through it's pretty easy for these two to run into a van der Voort/Reyes/Wattimena/Noppert type of player (or, for that matter, each other) and miss an opportunity.

Next to win a PDC ranking title - I'll go for ten here as there's lost of names in contention:

1) Jamie Lewis - The world championship semi finalist hasn't, you might be surprised to learn, won a tournament any higher than the Challenge Tour. He's reached two quarters and a semi this season, is scoring an overall 90+ points per turn, and is the highest ranked player in the FRH rankings not to have won a ranking title.

2) Steve West - Solidly in the FRH top 30, West is up in the top 20 on points per turn this season, the only player other than Cody Harris (who is 19th, one spot ahead but with a much smaller sample) not to have won a PDC title. He's been close several times, most notably the final where he lost a deciding leg to Michael van Gerwen which caused an upturn in his form, and you do wonder whether starting to put it together on the TV stage will help his floor game, and vice versa.

3) Chris Dobey - Slotting in one place behind West on points per turn is Dobey, who after a pretty disastrous 2017 managed to reach a second final this year, losing to van Gerwen like most do, but it's a good sign that his game is coming back together. The stats show it, and we saw in 2016 that he's incredibly dangerous if confident, which he should be right now.

4) Nathan Aspinall - This is another one looking at points per turn primarily, placing in the top 25 with very similar statistics to, say, Johnny Clayton without quite the same level of explosiveness. The former world youth finalist has been playing at a good level for a while now, doing well enough to make the European Championship despite not having a tour card, and while he's not managed to make a really deep run in a senior PDC event to this stage, he's at the level where he could do at some stage.

5) James Wilson - Lethal Biscuit's been knocking on the door for a while now, making the last final of last season (the one Clayton won) and has made it through to five quarters this year. A top 30 position in points per turn so far this year, with very similar statistics to Aspinall, he's definitely in contention to get one.

6) Danny Noppert - Just above 90 points per turn in all legs, the Dutch switcher has been making gradual improvements since joining the PDC, putting together a good run of making board finals and just this weekend bursting through to the semi finals on the European Tour. He'd need to tighten up the number of legs won in par which is at a pretty low 52%, as with it being that low he could simply give up too many breaks.

7) John Henderson - Averaging exactly 90, it'd need a good combination of circumstances as he's fairly inconsistent, is a bit lacking in ability to fire in the really quick leg if needed (less than 10% of legs won in twelve darts or less), but if it does click it could happen.

8) Cristo Reyes - He's been mediocre for a while now, and isn't even the top ranking Spaniard in averages this season, but while he's dropped out of the top 32 in the FRH rankings, we know what he can do, and if he can get something to spark and rediscover his form, then he's perfectly capable of getting a title. Still being above 11% in twelve dart legs shows the scoring power is there, it's everything else that needs cleaning up.

9) Martin Schindler - Now that Hopp has broken the whole German duck, what's to say that Martin can't do the same? He was ranked ahead of Hopp in the FRH rankings until Max binked that title, has a good rate of winning in twelve darts at over 10% and his points per turn is over 90, a whole point better than Hopp. He's clearly trending one way.

10) Ryan Joyce - Rounding it off with a complete wildcard, Joyce is doing very well where we've seen him so far, winning his board on six out of ten attempts in the Players Championship events, with some great numbers as well - twelve dart legs are up in double figures and fifteen dart legs are in the high fifties. Overall points per turn of 91 is very respectable, and we'll get to see a European Tour debut this week to see how he looks on the stage.

Friday 4 May 2018

Sindelfingen round 2

That wasn't too bad. Shepherd pulling the upset obviously helped, not overly pleased with Alcinas missing a match dart, but can't really complain too much. Let's see what we have in round 2:

White/Razma - Madars crept home in a game where neither player was really scoring at all, model reckons he's got a 30% shot but I'm really not seeing it just based on eye test, White is super consistent and Razma isn't and it should show.

Chisnall/Padgett - Padgett was OK but nothing special, it was just another case of Dimitri shitting the bed which he needs to take out of his game. 1/6 against 6/1, I've got Chizzy at 85%, no value.

Klaasen/Wattimena - Model reckons Klaasen 55/45, but Wattimena is a lot tighter and may be underrated, as the line is very close to what the model thinks I'll avoid this one as well.

Cullen/Schindler - First what the heck line of the day. Both players are doing 92/87/90 winning/losing/overall points per turn, model gives it as an 10/11 Cullen sort of line pre vig, Schindler is better than 2's in Germany and he won 6-0 in the first round, 0.25u Schindler 9/4, seems very easy.

Price/Noppert - Noppie came through a tough opponent in decent fashion, he should be a dog hereand there's probably minor underdog value, I'm just thinking there's a bit of wanting to show what he's about in Price that'll come through.

Smith/Monk - Smith wins comfortably, maybe even slightly more often than the 2/13 available, stick him as a banker in any accas and move on.

Huybrechts/Anderson - Market has it as a flip, model thinks Ando has a small edge, it's not big enough to bet.

Whitlock/Dekker - Dekker's just all over the place. No clue what he'll do next. There's probably a bit of value on him at 9/4 but I honestly can't trust him. If he did OK in round 1 then maybe but he was erratic then.

Gurney/Lewis - Lewis was really unconvincing against Bunse, but got home, so given that I'm not inclined to bet him at 12/5 despite the model thinking he's got a 40% shot, that seems false given the situation.

Webster/Marijanovic - Similar analysis to the above. Marijanovic got through, but didn't play too good, just got over what he needed to. He should beat Webster more than the line suggests over big data, over this weekend I don't think so.

King/Nicholson - Paul looked OK in round 1 and seems live against Mervyn if he can keep his double rate going as he didn't in his last Euro Tour outing, line looks pretty solid with Nicho in the high 30's range of percentage chance to get to Sunday.

Suljovic/Caven - Caven's not been good for a while now but the line is so far in favour of Suljovic that I can't even recommend Mensur for accas.

van Gerwen/Tabern - Rematch here from a few weeks ago where Alan offered some resistance, he's at about 12% on my projections so with us only getting 10/1 I'll pass.

Wright/Shepherd - While we've seen in the past that if Kirk can get through a round he can do enough to make a run, against Peter we've not got the price to bet him really, I have him at around 20% and I'd want a bit more than 11/2 to think about it.

Henderson/Wade - Seems weird for Wade to be the unseeded player, but whatever, the model has this incredibly tight with Wade being the tiny favourite but not even 53/47, the market is a lot more in favour of Wade, as he didn't play too spectacularly today in comparison to his season long form I'm going to have a nibble at 0.25u Henderson 17/10.

Cross/van der Voort - Vincent piled in some good arrows, but he'll need to do that and then some against the world champ, who at 2/9 is actually nearly worth backing, and should be safe for accumulators.

That's it for me until Sunday night, good luck ladies and gentlemen and everywhere in between.

Thursday 3 May 2018

268 and brief Sindelfingen round 1 comments

I think I have talked about being on 268 before, in that you shouldn't start on 20's if you really need to leave yourself some sort of out at all costs, namely because if you miss, you need to hit a treble last dart regardless, even if you switch (a treble 18 from 248 leaves 194), and that you should start on 18's or 19's - with 18's you then just need four marks on 20 to leave a shot if you miss, if you hit you are on 214 and a switch to 19's on the second dart leaves you with a shot at 25/bull. If you start on 19's, you just try to get four marks and get to 192, then a 25/bull leaves a shot either way.

That said, in most analysis, it always seems to be the case that it's a better bet to go for the bull as early as possible if you know you're going to use it as part of the current visit (or, for that matter, the next visit) - so why not go for bull first dart? If you hit bull, you need 48 to leave 170 or 58 to leave 160, there's no obvious tricks here so just pummel the 20's as you would normally do. If you hit 25, you're left with 243 - switch to 19's and get a treble and single to leave 167.

ET5 draw is out. Adie's managed to get the Adie flu which normally spring up just before European Tour events from May onwards, so we've now got five German entrants and all the big names are there, lines are out so let's fire up the new, fully functioning, FRH master computer and look at the lines:

Hudson/Monk - Line is ever so slightly in favour of Monk, model has it more or less exactly the same, it's the tiniest of tiny value so it's really not worth considering.

Razma/Hine - Model loves Razma. It really, really does. Madars is a bit more inconsistent but it doesn't make a difference, 0.25u Razma 4/5

Padgett/van den Bergh - Padgett played the UK Open qualifiers and got no cash and hence the data is severely limited, but from what we have it suggests that there is tiny value on van den Bergh. At 2/13. Let's just wait for a better Dimi spot.

Lennon/van der Voort - Steve's been playing very well so far this season, Vincent's been under the radar, not breaking past the last 32 in any tournament since the worlds. Normal business is for Lennon to win one and then go out, with the model giving him a better than two in one shot this looks decent, 0.25u Lennon 9/10

Clemens/Dekker - Market slightly favours Dekker, model somewhat favours Clemens. While the model just looks at win speed, for which Dekker isn't looking that great given his losing average is actually better than his winning average, Gabriel doesn't have a whole lot of separation either, add on home field advantage and let's go, 0.25u Clemens 11/10

Bunting/Shepherd - Bunting, while playing better of late, seems to be way too short here, being a favourite but nowhere near the price offered. Thinking he's playing better, I messed with the date slider, which, oddly, then favours Shepherd even more, so 0.25u Shepherd 7/2

Gies/Tabern - Nothing on Gies, but a former Dutch Open semi finalist has to be respected to some extent, so no bet, he got through Kist and Lerchbacher at least.

Schindler/Owen - This could be good, bookies have this as close to a flip but I've got Martin as having over a two in three shot, there's no significant consistency issue here and he has home field like Clemens, 0.25u Schindler 9/10

Noppert/Ratajski - Evening session kicks off and this is tasty, market has this really tight but I think this is a Ratajski bet all the way up to 8/11 or so, so we'll take 0.25u Ratajski 11/10

Wattimena/Alcinas - Another good intra-Euro matchup, model is throwing out Alcinas as having an edge, but the market is solidly in favour of Wattimena. Alcinas is a lot more inconsistent and Jermaine has plenty of games where he can come home with 18 dart legs in more or less every leg, but there's easily enough here to punt, 0.25u Alcinas 17/10

Lewis/Bunse - Bunse has played the UK Open qualifiers, so we actually have data. That data suggests a curbstomping. 1u Lewis 2/13

Caven/Michels - I've got nothing on Michels, a name that's been around for years and has played in both worlds, looking at his dartsdatabase I can't suggest a bet on him, Caven's not great but I'd think he should just get home in six visit legs fairly comfortably.

Evans/Anderson - Could be explosive. Kyle's the favourite and listed at nearly 2-1, I have him as a favourite as well but slightly narrower, nothing to write home about so with quite a bit of exposure I'll ignore it.

Wade/Hopp - Could be the match of the night, line looks decent enough, gun to the head I'd go Hopp but if anyone's not going to be affected by playing Hopp in Germany it's probably Wade.

Murschell/Nicholson - Line has Nicho as having a small advantage, I've got it at 55/45, seems like an obvious no bet, Paul may ease through on stage experience but Dawson seems like a hugely confident player so I wouldn't read a great deal into that.

Marijanovic/Boulton - I've only got the UK Open qualifiers on Boulton, but he wasn't too impressive here and Marijanovic has been doing about the same level week in week out, with a projection of close to a flip I think 0.25u Marijanovic 15/8 looks fine.

Word in advance, there'll be nothing in preview of the Sunday, as I'm away for the weekend, pesky Football League and their half twelve kickoffs at the other end of the country, but I should be in early for round 2. Take care people.