Saturday 30 June 2018

Hamburg day two

Day one was a bit poor, wasn't it? Seemed to be so, so many games where neither player was able to hit any sort of consistent standard, with less than 45% of legs being won in a par of fifteen darts and more than 20 legs dragging out into a seventh visit. I don't think the seeds have a great deal to worry about today, unless they're playing O'Connor who did decent (then again he's got Cross, so maybe not), Jelle looked alright but he's got Michael Smith, should be a good one if Klaasen can keep that up, Lowe did pretty well against Brown who slotted in two twelve dart legs, and in general the domestic qualifiers weren't bad. All four bets won, not sure how that happened but it's cleaned some of what was lost in Copenhagen, nice with the Lowe punt to be on the right side of a 6-5 result. It's all a long game.

Sixteen matches today, a lot of the unseeded players will need to step up their games, let's see what we've got:

Whitlock/Pipe - Not going to be rushing to watch this one, Whitlock had a good run last time out while Pipe wasn't impressive against van der Voort, this should be a comfortable Whitlock win, the model has it nearly 70/30, the market has it close to exactly the same so no betting interest either.

Clayton/Lowe - Clayton's had a few interesting results that you might not have expected of late, Lowe came through a decent encounter yesterday and you'll know I've highlighted him as an underrated player. Clayton's a step up in class, but I think he's got chances and while I project Clayton to win, it's not by much and it's not by anywhere near as much as the bookies think - 0.25u Lowe 2/1, last three tournaments Clayton's gone out to Yordi Meeuwisse, Jarred Cole and Darius Labanauskas, that's not really elite competition so who's to say Lowe can't get the job done?

Price/Langendorf - Very surprised that Maik was able to dispose of Barnard so comfortably, but he did, looking at the averages I'd guess Barnard was just having an off day. Price should win this very comfortably, around five times out of six - 4/11 is kind of tempting but with the injury I'm reluctant to go in to be honest.

King/Rowley - Mervyn's hitting some form (although, oddly his tournament win actually lowered his season long points per turn) and ought to have too much class for Rowley, who was able to get a lead against Johnson and hold it. King's even shorter than Price is, and has just over a 75% shot to take this one. Odds are 3/10 which isn't of interest to anyone.

Wilson/Thornton - James nicked the last seed when Wright withdrew, and comes in against Thornton, who beat Eidams in a turgid game which saw four really crap legs and only one good leg from ten between them. I've got Wilson, give or take a fraction of a fraction of a percent, winning this two times out of three, which seems about right given how their seasons have gone, the bookies have it closer, I don't know why, 0.25u Wilson 8/13

Cullen/Schindler - Should be an exciting one, Martin got past Robbe with a professional display, Cullen's won a couple of boards on the Pro Tour recently hinting that he might be getting it a bit back there as well as just in Europe, this is a bit different to the previous one where I think it should be a closer line than the market suggests and we should go with the underdog, Martin winning would surprise nobody and I've got him well above 40% (although still with Cullen as the favourite), so 0.25u Schindler 15/8

Huybrechts/Dobey - Enormous game, but not for either of these, it's the whole Norris thing we've been through before. Dobey looked average against Bain who put up no real resistance, bookies basically can't split them, there's probably a little bit of value on Chris here, who I've got at just above 55%, 0.25u Dobey 21/20

Webster/Humphries - Luke got away with one against Huybrechts, who missed a match dart, and will absolutely need to improve against Webster, fresh off a Pro Tour final. Bookies have this fairly close, Darren at 4/7, the model hints at a Humphries bet with around a 40% shot, but I wasn't convinced by his display yesterday and can just see Darren closing this one out easily enough.

Beaton/Boulton - Andy got through Cristo Reyes despite only throwing one fifteen dart leg, and comes in against an in form Steve Beaton, who made two semi finals in midweek. The market isn't that impressed by that feat from the Adonis, only giving him around a 60% win chance, then again the model says the same so let's move on. Could end up being a throw the model out of the window and look at form game in retrospect.

White/Hopp - The model absolutely loves White, and hates Hopp, so it should be no surprise that it throws out Ian as a huge favourite, over 70%. The market has this way too close, it's not like Ian didn't win a tournament this week - 0.5u White 8/11

Suljovic/Koltsov - Boris did alright in beating Owen yesterday, half his legs in five visits and the rest in six, and should provide interesting opposition for Mensur, but the Austrian should be too strong. Not feeling the value with Mensur being shorter than 1/4 everywhere and a win shot only in the mid 80% range, could be one for an accumulator just to boost the price but nothing of real interest outside of that.

van Gerwen/Joyce - I don't know whether Joyce at 9/1 is recognising that Ryan can actually play good darts or not, everyone's so hugely odds against versus Michael. It might be worth a micro punt as I think he can get home around one time in six according to the stats, but it's hard to know how Joyce will react to an evening session on stage against the world number one. Suljovic disposed of him with little trouble last time so it could easily be the same story, if Joyce was more convincing against Wilson then I might have risked it, but just one leg in fifteen darts leans me to say no.

Gurney/Marijanovic - Gurney's solidly odds on, the market thinking it's about 80/20, I've got it a little bit closer at 75/25. Taking 4/1 on a 3/1 shot is a bit of thin value, but if I factor in that Robert looked very solid in dealing with an in form Jermaine Wattimena and had two solid displays in midweek, then I'll take a small stab - 0.1u Marijanovic 4/1

Cross/O'Connor - Willie played really well yesterday but this is a step up and a big ask. It's about the same line as the previous game, but I've got Cross with a slightly higher chance of winning, as such I don't think there's even tiny value on Willie against the world champion.

Bunting/Labanauskas - An intriguing match up late in the session, it's a winnable game for both with the bookies rating it as being close as well, Bunting a small favourite. I've got Bunting as a slightly larger favourite, but it's not by much (58% versus 4/5 odds), and Darius only has around 60 won legs in the database, so I'll just avoid this one.

Smith/Klaasen - Another good one to finish on, Klaasen now looks to be into the Matchplay barring some really weird backdoor shenanigans, so should have a bit of freedom. He looked alright yesterday, but will need to produce the same again to stand a chance. Market thinks about 75/25, I think about the same.

That's your lot for today, back later on or early tomorrow with round three.

Friday 29 June 2018

Hamburg bets

Very quickly now that lines are up:

0.25u Lowe 9/4, there's a bit of an experience gap on the stage and Keegan can throw the sort of stuff that'll leave Lowe no chance, but Keegan's had stages of throwing junk as well and Lowe can play a bit

0.5u Dobey 2/5, this is kind of the same level of optimism we had last week when Dobey cocked it up against Lynn so hopefully Bain doesn't show the same sort of outlier (which he can do) that Lynn did last weekend

0.25u Klaasen 1/2, there's a bit of an edge here and I think Jelle will be keyed in given the potential importance of this game for major qualifications, sure it could go wrong but it's not like Dragutin is mister consistent either

0.25u Humphries 5/8, think this should be nearer 1/2 and Huybrechts hasn't been convincing for a long time now

Thursday 28 June 2018

Hamburg round one preview

All the qualifiers are in the book - some surprising omissions with Clemens not getting one of the six (!) home nation berths after Wright and Jim Brown withdrew, while there's a few high profile absentees from the European side such as van den Bergh, van de Pas, Dekker, Kist and de Zwaan, but it's a pretty high quality set of qualifiers all round so I don't think there's anything too controversial, there's only so many spots available. Let's look at what's going on in running order, numbers in brackets indicate current FRH rankings:

Robert Owen (55)/Boris Koltsov (200) - Owen, UK Open aside, has been pretty quiet this season, not reaching a single quarter final. Koltsov's been mixing the PDC and the BDO, getting close in three previous qualifiers before getting through this one, and I'm sure I've seen him listed in one of those asinine "who has the best average in a five leg sample this season" list. He won the Finnish Open last month but who knows what the quality will be like. It looks like it's his debut so it'll be interesting to see how he does. FRH master computer prediction: Owen 74/26

Jason Lowe (117)/Keegan Brown (38) - Lowe's a player I'm interested in seeing, it's the first one he's qualified for this season, but he's made two main tour semi finals this year and his Challenge Tour form looks good, his overall points per turn is up at a very respectable 91 this season in my database which is a point higher than Keegan's. Brown's had a quarter in Europe this year, and while his Matchplay status looks to be secure, he'll certainly want to put some more cash in the bank for later majors, currently sitting around the cutoff for a few. FRH master computer prediction: Brown 52/48

Darren Johnson (79)/Paul Rowley (121) - Johnson would have made the worlds last year under the current format, he's been around for years and is no mug, although 2018's been pretty sparse for him, not making many board finals at all on the floor. Rowley is having a second punt in Europe this year after easily being beaten by Steve West last time, and if anything his record is worse than Johnson's this season, this may not be the greatest game to watch. FRH master computer prediction: Johnson 56/44

Willie O'Connor (56)/Martin Atkins (Wigan, 187) - O'Connor's not actually had a bad record of winning through to these, although he's gone 0-3 to date and aside from one quarter final run has a fairly average Pro Tour record this season. Atkins has a win and a final on the Challenge Tour which is allowing him to play a lot more events than he might have thought, but is finding the step up to full PDC level a bit tough and was whitewashed on his previous Euro appearance. FRH master computer prediction: O'Connor 74/26

Maik Langendorf (130)/Michael Barnard (76) - Langendorf's made his third event of the season, losing in the opening game both previous times, but showed with a last 16 run in a UK Open qualifier that he's decent on his day. Barnard's having a remarkable season, both on the Challenge and main tours, with a huge amount of cashes showing consistent form, and I can't see a first round exit here either. FRH master computer prediction: Barnard 61/39

Vincent van der Voort (36)/Justin Pipe (31) - Best match up so far between two veteran players just hanging around on the fringes of the world's top 32, who'll be looking to keep that status. van der Voort has an outside chance of the Matchplay but needs a Sunday evening session as a minimum, although he doesn't have a bad section of the draw to do that... Pipe has been anonymous all year following his Players Championship Finals semi at the end of last season and will surely just be hoping that the clash of styles works in his favour. FRH master computer prediction: van der Voort 59/41

Martin Schindler (53)/Mario Robbe (154) - Schindler has been putting some good numbers on the board but has yet to make the real deep run to take the next step, at least at the senior level, that his play warrants. Maybe this is the weekend? Could get easier second round draws than Cullen but you're going to have to beat good players to make a run at some point. Robbe hasn't done anything of note at all since winning his tour card, and is on a pretty bad string of first round exits, something which seems like it should continue here. FRH master computer prediction: Schindler 74/26

Robert Marijanovic (119)/Jermaine Wattimena (30) - As mentioned in a previous post, Marijanovic had a pretty good weekend last time out, and is certainly trending in the right direction, but he's got arguably the toughest first round draw (Klaasen's ranked higher in the FRH rankings, but I know who I'd rather face tomorrow) in Wattimena, who is knocking on the door of making a big breakthrough and is preparing for a Matchplay debut next month. FRH master computer prediction: Wattimena 58/42

Jamie Bain (111)/Chris Dobey (37) - The evening session kicks off with Bain, who put together some great performances last year but hasn't really done a thing this year, against Dobey, who if he can get really deep here still has an outside chance of the Matchplay, much like last year he's just the wrong side of so many major cutoff lines. He's certainly trending the right way and has a final under his belt on the floor already this year. FRH master computer prediction: Dobey 91/9

Robert Thornton (34)/Rene Eidams (135) - Thornton's struggling to remain relevant on the world stage - he's not close to the Matchplay, isn't anywhere near the seeds for Pro Tour events and is in real danger of dropping out of the top 32. A good run at some point is needed and he might have a chance against Eidams, who didn't really get close in Q-School, although he did make the UK Open and got through the first round the previous time he qualified. FRH master computer prediction: Thornton 65/35

Mike de Decker (95)/Darius Labanauskas (131) - de Decker couldn't retain or regain his tour card so has been rebuilding on the Challenge and Development tours with nothing spectacular to show for it, although this'll be his third European event of the season. Labanauskas made the last day last weekend and will look to build on this as he has a realistic chance of making the European Championship, while he also continues to have successes on the BDO circuit. Should be a good game this. FRH master computer prediction: Labanauskas 62/38

Jelle Klaasen (25)/Dragutin Horvat (120) - Klaasen's back amongst the qualifiers, and it looks like getting here has got him just over the line for the Matchplay as things stand, although every little bit could potentially help for that. Horvat is in his fourth event for the season and has gone out in the first round twice with a solitary last leg win over Alcinas to his name. He didn't try any UK Open qualifiers so data's a bit limited, but Jelle should have enough here. FRH master computer prediction: Klaasen 76/24

Mark Wilson (145)/Ryan Joyce (74) - Wilson's a new tour card holder but has yet to do anything of note on the tour so far, he did make one board final earlier this month, and qualified for one previous event where he was easily defeated by Cameron Menzies, but that's about it. Joyce should be a familiar name as he continues to push up the rankings with excellent floor form, it's not out of the question that he can make the Grand Prix at this rate. FRH master computer prediction: Joyce 69/31

Cristo Reyes (33)/Andy Boulton (91) - Reyes looked like he was getting back to his best against Darren Webster with a brilliant start, of course he then lost the match, he's getting incredibly frustrating to read. Boulton made the final day in Gibraltar and isn't playing too badly when we've got tracked games, but I'd have thought he'd have done a bit more on the Challenge Tour than he has, still, this could be close. FRH master computer prediction: Reyes 54/46

Dirk van Duijvenbode (81)/Max Hopp (40) - Should be quick, should be exciting, if Dirk shows, which he hasn't done too often apart from a real good weekend earlier this month and in the UK Open, could be fairly even. Hopp we know all about, he's made the breakthrough in getting the win, but needs to back it up - if not in wins, at least in consistent runs to latter stages of these events. FRH master computer prediction: van Duijvenbode 59/41

Luke Humphries (89)/Ronny Huybrechts (52) - Luke's been decent in the qualifiers for here, but the regular week in week out grind of the tour is still something he's getting used to, but if he keeps doing OK here he could be in the running to qualify for the main event at the end of the year. Ronny's been really poor this year - go look at his dartsdatabase record, that's an incredible run of first round defeats and I can only see a further slide down the rankings from here. FRH master computer prediction: Humphries 69/31

Will hopefully get some bets up when there's a bit more bookmaker coverage in the morning, but it'll probably be a very quick "these are the bets done" type of post. Keep an eye out.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Quick Players Championship post

King and White got the wins over yesterday and today. White was to be expected a bit, he's been playing well all year - King not so much, but he managed to get the job done. Wade and Darren Webster were the beaten finalists, while Adie made the semis today hitting a nine as part of seven twelve or better dart legs, coupled with his recent European runs, he's getting some form back. That's put him above Norris, whose hopes of making the Matchplay are reliant on Huybrechts losing his opening game in Hamburg. That may well be possible as he went 0/2 this week against Mark Webster and Kevin Burness, but still, it's out of his hands now. Burton's done some brief numbers and it looks like 27 places are locked up, so it'll be a fair bit of luck of the draw.

Beaton made two semi finals, a good return to form after a quiet 2018 so far, Mark Webster made a semi which was a bit of an easy run to be fair, Dolan made the quarters today beating Cross (Cross and van Gerwen in one week is nice), Noppert made a quarter today but has probably left too much to do to make Blackpool, while from outside the FRH top 100, Yordi Meeuwisse, Robert Marijanovic, Jarred Cole and Bradley Brooks all pulled in over two grand (the last two with quarter final runs).

Quick FRH top 20:

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

King was as high as 16 but dropped today after losing his board final, he's less than 100 points behind Cullen and 1000 behind Lewis. White's up into the top 10, Norris leaves the top 20 and could easily plummet a lot by the end of next month if Kim can win one game this weekend. What are the DRA rules on Norris betting on whoever Kim plays as insurance? I think we should be told.

Monday 25 June 2018

It gets busy from here

Another two 6-5 defeats in the last sixteen, you couldn't make it up really. At least Cullen won to mitigate the damage, but we still drop a couple of units overall. Over the course of the season we're still nicely up, but it's always a bit infuriating when so many games on a single weekend went to last leg deciders.

Mensur grabbed his second European Tour title as he rounds into form ahead of the Matchplay. Simon Whitlock was perhaps a surprise finalist, solely based on what he's been doing this season, which isn't a great deal, but he hit some good darts at key times. Alan Norris must be thanking Adrian Lewis for not pinning the match dart he had against Suljovic, pinning that would have put Adie ahead of him in the main Order of Merit (and as he'd probably have been a favourite against Whitlock, well ahead), leaving him reliant on Kim Huybrechts not scoring a bag and a half more than him these next two days (or just getting one win in Hamburg) to make the Matchplay.

Elsewhere, Brendan Dolan beat Michael van Gerwen, the number one really didn't seem on at all this weekend, Steve West was the last semi finalist and it really wouldn't surprise me if he broke one and took it all the way these next two days. van Gerwen and Suljovic are missing it, so anything's possible. Decent run from Labanauskas as well, while we've known he's a great player for a while now, it's good to see that he's putting points on the board in the PDC, and with qualification for the next two on the board, who's to say he won't make the European Championship or even the worlds?

Key, key couple of days now. Norris really needs to put some money in the bank, although looking at things, his ranking's dropped enough that he'd be on the same board as Cross barring more withdrawals tomorrow, so that may be a bit difficult. Keegan Brown and Jeffrey de Zwaan could do with what they can get, although the former is in Hamburg and the latter could still qualify so they've got that chance as a backup, Steve Lennon and Richard North don't, Lennon being just above the line and North below, so they've got to do something. Klaasen sandwiches the two as the last man in right now, don't know if he'll make Hamburg but just a mincash there would potentially be pivotal. Further down, van der Voort's three grand below Klaasen with a similar situation re: the European Tour, Lewis and Payne are a bit behind but don't have that backup so need a big run, realistically a final, Dobey is just 500 quid behind them but could add money on the European Tour. Noppert and Meulenkamp are the only other realistic players who could force their way in. Cadby's still not back in the UK so he's out.

FRH rankings after Copenhagen are as follows:

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

Yep, Norris is slumping a lot. King's only about a couple of grand away from getting back in and there's plenty of others snapping at his heels.

West didn't gain any spots with his semi final as he was on a bit of an island but is closing in on the top 25, Wattimena's just nipped into the top 30 thanks to Pipe's money degrading faster, Dolan's now safely in the top 50 by nearly ten grand, wile Evans is just outside the top 60, Joyce is now in the top 80, Razma is the last man out of the top 100 and Labanauskas is at #135.

May post something up tomorrow if there's anything really interesting that develops from the Pro Tour, but I'll likely spend a bunch of my time just recording the stats ahead of Hamburg. With another Pro Tour event the day after and then England on the Thursday my time will be limited so I've got to get the scores down when I can.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Copenhagen day 3 - for Evans' sake

Hmm, that didn't go quite to plan. Obviously you'll see no evening session report, Germany game was too exciting to pay attention.

Evans > Gurney got us out of a hole a bit, put us break even on our underdog shots but then dropped three quarters of a unit on our coinflips. Little bit annoying how they went, Henderson having darts to break and make it 5-1 is basically a won position, Smith/Lewis pretty much just came down to who won the bull, every leg going with throw, but it's a shame Smith couldn't convert either of his nine dart chances in the last two legs - the second one in particular to break in the decider, getting a bounceout at the worst possible time. He'll normally take it given two match darts. Of the others, Razma and Jacques were basically the same story, get a 3-1 lead and have your scoring go to pieces, Joyce really had no chance after Mensur was close to unplayable in getting a 4-0 lead, maybe if he holds in the sixth it might have been a different story but he'd have still needed two breaks. White/West was just a case of neither player showing up and West took his chances.

Last 16 coming up in around an hour or so - in case you didn't notice there's a rather important association football game going on today so there'll be no updates until after the event. It's a pretty strong lineup left, I particularly wouldn't want to call the non-MvG half, all of the non-seeds that have got through seem to be clumped into van Gerwen's quarter, it's basically just Evans (who's in van Gerwen's half anyway), and Lewis (who doesn't really count) who haven't. Let's take a look in running order:

Wright/Price - Watching his game yesterday, Price didn't seem too overly bothered with his injury, but you never know how these sorts of things will affect a player so I'm avoiding this. The model's indicating a bit of Price value (it thinks he's got nearly a 40% shot) but I kind of feel that these sorts of problems get amplified when you're losing/in a trickier spot, which against Klaasen he wasn't, but against Wright he probably will be. If he was 100% I'd bet but it wouldn't be can't miss value. It's up to you if you think he's alright. If you do, go right ahead. I won't.

Suljovic/Webster - God knows how Darren got through that last match. Suljovic played at a pretty high level as well to open up what ended up being an unassailable lead. Reyes played better and still chucked it away. Model literally cannot separate them - the win chances of both are within 0.1% of each other, that's how evenly it reckons they are. Speed of killing legs is within a percentage point of each other for four, five and six visits. Suljovic is scoring a lot higher in the legs he's not winning (it's a near six point difference) but I think there's value here - 0.25u Webster 15/8.

Cullen/Wade - Joe averaged really well yesterday against Razma, while Wade was made to work against Rusty Jake Rodriguez - it's one of those where if Cullen plays as he did yesterday, he won't give Wade a chance to do, as the comms say, "what Wade does". The analysis is calling this one to be extremely close as well - Cullen a very small favourite, nearly 51%! And he's priced as the underdog? That's seems like good value, 0.25u Cullen 6/4.

Lewis/Bunting - Two world champions collide, Adie serving out against Smith yesterday as Bunting came from behind against Jacques, a very solid three leg spurt to make it 5-3 being the difference. Bookies have this solidly in favour of Lewis at 8/15, which makes sense given he's showing signs of getting back to form and just beat someone who's a hell of a lot better than Bunting is, I don't think Lewis is enough of a favourite to bet on him. There's probably a little bit of value on Bunting but it's not as good as other games so I'll miss, he's the same price as Webster but getting 10% less chance of winning, so I'll pass this one up.

Cross/King - Mervyn had to outduel Max Hopp in a game that went the distance, needing to break in the tenth and then hold in the decider, while Cross needed to come from 5-3 down to beat Steve Beaton, where a better player might have nicked it (the two holds from Cross in the last three legs were in six visits, and Beaton couldn't get a dart at double in either). Cross is a big favourite at 1/4, I don't think there's enough value on King at 10/3, if it drifts any more have a small nibble on him if you want.

Evans/Whitlock - Ricky had a good start against Gurney, and where others might have buckled when Daryl threw a twelve to make it 3-3 on the Gurney throw, Evans rolled off the last three legs to take it with a near ton average. Whitlock got through Wattimena who didn't look like he was entirely on his game. Whitlock has not been averaging well all year, Evans has just beaten a much better player than Whitlock, the model has it evens, so let's go 0.25u Evans 2/1.

Labanauskas/West - I'd have assumed these would have played a bunch on the BDO circuit, but dartsdatabase can't find a head to head record, so at most they've played once, at least in what dartsdatabase can track. Another game that's priced around 2/1, West being the favourite, this is almost like a final given who they'd likely play in the last eight. This is a very similar bit of analysis to the Bunting game - Darius probably has about a 40% chance, but the sample I have on him is fairly limited, even when I factor in the BDO stats, some of which seemed pretty good but may not be too relevant here, plus West seems to be hitting some of his better form. Will avoid this one.

van Gerwen/Dolan - If you got on the Taylor +4.5, good on you - no idea what was going on in that first leg, but you can't argue with a twelve darter, which on throw on the European Tour is a guaranteed leg win. The line is priced as you would expect it to be, the model's giving Dolan a 12% shot so I'm not going to rush on to bet given we can't even get 10/1. Handicap isn't offering anything useful either.

So that's your lot - three underdog shots, let's see how they do.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Copenhagen day 2 afternoon session report

Something a bit different this afternoon, I thought I'd see what I could do in terms of an actual match report given the only football that's on is Belgium curbstomping Tunisia, so let's go:

Brendan Dolan 6-4 John Henderson - The first seed of the day fell after losing five straight legs from a 4-1 lead, Brendan punishing poor scoring with a great upturn in doubling in what otherwise was a fairly low quality encounter. Both the first two legs could have gone either way, with Dolan getting two darts in the first leg at D16 and D8 and one at the bull in the second, but Henderson cleaned up both on tops. John missed a dart at a badly obscured bull to finish a 91 checkout for a double break and Dolan narrowed the gap to one leg, but a second 180 and an 80 checkout allowed Henderson to consolidate at 3-1. Henderson would kick off the fifth leg with a third maximum, stealing the darts as Dolan couldn't score and leaving 164 after nine darts. Having a minimum of six darts to kill it, he wired tops for a fifteen darter, but returned to pin it after Dolan couldn't finish a big ask of 160. Desperately needing a break back, Dolan was gifted a chance at 80 after Henderson missed two darts to finish 68, and cleaned it up tidily to get things back to 4-2. Dolan's best leg of the match saw him leave tops after twelve, pinned at the first time of asking to put the pressure back on Henderson, which showed as Henderson started leg 8 badly and Dolan slammed in his first maximum. More poor scoring gave Dolan six darts to finish 132, he oddly went the bull route but was able to eventually pin D16 to level. Henderson's scoring looked like it had completely deserted him, and Dolan was able to clean up the last two legs under no pressure to complete the comeback and set up a probable last sixteen match against Michael van Gerwen.

Joe Cullen 6-3 Madars Razma - The Rockstar solidified a place in the top 16 of the FRH rankings with a great all round display to come from behind and defeat the Latvian, one of yesterday's stand out players. Cullen raced out of the blocks with a twelve darter, finishing 308 in six darts with a maximum and a 128 out. Razma couldn't finish 170 after a second maximum left Cullen on 79, but Cullen's dart at tops to break looked to clip the flight and Razma cleared up 51 to level. Razma then had a very good leg to leave 121 after nine darts, with Cullen out of range he didn't opt to go for the bull finish and set up D16, finishing it first dart to break. The break was consolidated with a bull finish on 83, Cullen waiting on 76 to break back. Good scoring from Cullen saw him hold comfortably, and could easily have been on a nine darter in the next leg, a bounce out and a Robin Hood seeing him start 120-120. A 140 then left him 121 after nine, having six darts to clean it up getting the break back on D16. A fourth maximum saw Cullen leave 90 after nine, but would need the second visit, a second Razma maximum to leave 33 not affecting Cullen as he hit tops for 4-3. Razma, needing to hold, couldn't leave a shot after twelve, allowing Cullen to just set up rather than go for a 167 out, and he did so for a fourth straight 13 dart leg. Razma had a half chance to extend the game, hitting outer bull for a 124, and Cullen finished 80 for a very impressive victory.

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jelle Klaasen - The Welshman's achilles issue didn't seem to show as we saw some great spells with plenty of attempts at high outs and some great power scoring. Price didn't really start playing until midway through the second leg, a good spell to finish 343 in nine darts with a 107 out after Klaasen easily held in the opener. Price then missed a dart to break after a well timed 180 gave him a shot at 72, but he missed tops and then three more as he returned, Jelle able to finally take D8 to restore the lead for a 21 dart hold. Klaasen had a chance at bull for a 128 out and a break, but could only hit the 25 and Price hit D12 to level once more. Price had a good leg to leave tops after 12 darts, but Klaasen hit a partypiece 167 checkout to hold serve. Klaasen should have finally managed a break, but despite Price offering Jelle eighteen darts to do that, he could only get one dart at tops, which was missed and Price slotted in a 71 out to make it three a piece. The break finally came in leg 7 where Klaasen couldn't get a dart at double in five visits, and Price stepped in with a clinical two dart 89 finish. The scoring then went berzerk, Jelle starting with five perfect and he left 121 after nine, but Price had also hit a maximum and left 140 after the same. Tops-tops didn't work and Klaasen could only hit 25 looking for bull for the twelve darter, so Price was able to hold to 5-3. Price then started 177 looking to finish it there and then, and missed bull for a 170 and a twelve darter, Klaasen then just missed for a 161 of his own, Price then finishing on D12 to clinch a probable meeting with Peter Wright.

Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Johnny Clayton - The Ferret would be the second seed to fall as he was left to rue five missed match darts, as the Lithuanian qualifier came from 5-3 down to seal a last 16 spot and a tricky game against either Ian White or Steve West. Clayton was broken in the opening leg despite leaving tops after twelve, as he missed six darts at double allowing Labanauskas to pounce on D8. Clayton was able to break back with a fifteen dart leg, Darius not being able to hit a big treble in his last nine darts when in an alright spot after his first six. Clayton got the first hold on tops, but not before Labanauskas missed tops for a 120 out to restore his lead. Darius had the best leg of the match so far, firing in a maximum as well as a 126 out on the bull for a twelve darter. Clayton then started with five perfect darts as he went ahead 3-2 with a thirteen darter, and oddly went for the bull on 121 with Labanauskas nowhere in the sixth leg - he couldn't finish either of the two darts he got when he returned under pressure from a Labanauskas maximum, and the Lithuanian took the one dart at D18 he got to equalise. Heavy scoring including a fourth maximum saw Clayton leave a two darter after nine and he got his own four visit kill, and a 177 helped Clayton break in the eighth to nearly seal the game at 5-3 on throw. A good leg from Darius left him a double after 12, some bad Clayton counting meant he'd definitely return and he pinned D18 to get the break back, but despite missing tops for a 120 out, and then three badly shanked efforts the visit after, was allowed back for a D1-1-D1 finish after Clayton missed two for the match. Both players started the decider well, Clayton 100-140-100 but Darius went 140-180, although a 42 handed the initiative back to Clayton who set up D12 - Clayton would miss three more match darts and Labanauskas took out 80 in two darts to steal the victory.

James Wade 6-4 Rusty Jake Rodriguez - The Austrian showed some good play in a grind of a match which Wade just came through, the first eight legs going with throw before the Englishman was able to edge ahead for the first time. A blistering start from Rusty saw him open with a 180 and finish 138 to hold in fifteen darts, the next two also going with throw in low quality legs. Wade improved in the fourth to leave 85 after nine darts, eventually finishing off in five visits to make it 2-2. Wade then missed bull for a 121 to get a break and Rodriguez finished 97 on tops, a great last dart with the first attempt looking like it blocked most of the bed. A couple of six visit holds followed, Wade missing a dart at bull for a break in the seventh, before a poor Wade leg allowed Rodriguez in at 160, just missing tops for the big combination. At 4-4, Rodriguez opened up with a maximum, but couldn't clean up 124 with six darts, and Wade finally got the break with a last dart at tops to finish 80. That seemed to break Rusty, whose scoring disappeared, but he'd have needed something special as Wade finished on his trademark double 10 for a fourteen dart leg to clinch the match and a third round tie against Joe Cullen.

Darren Webster 6-5 Cristo Reyes - An incredible match saw Webster come from 4-2 down to clinch a decider as Reyes had one of the greatest spells this game has ever seen to open up that lead. Reyes started incredibly - seven perfect darts in the first leg, just pushing the eighth into treble seven and eventually finishing in eleven darts, and then got six perfect in the second leg, missing with the seventh but getting the next best in a ten darter on D16. Webster nearly replied with a twelve darter, missing D14 for a 121 out, but did return to get on the board. Reyes hit a fifth maximum in the next leg to leave 47 after nine, and pinned D16 for another eleven darter. Webster held easily as Reyes' scoring went to sleep for a leg and shut the commentators up about record averages but would still need to break Reyes at some point, but it wouldn't be the next leg as Reyes left tops after twelve, pinned easily with the first dart. Webster held and then both players missed a bunch of doubles in leg 8, Webster finally pinning D5 to get an unlikely scoreline of 4-4. Reyes missed one at tops and one at D10 to break but couldn't hit either, allowing Webster to kill 100 via tops-tops and take the lead for the first time. Webster put the pressure on by getting down to 53 after twelve darts, but missed two match darts as Reyes levelled. Another game to a decider and Webster started 180-100-140 and then with Reyes nowhere, just set up tops and finished in fourteen darts for a remarkable victory and a Sunday match up against either Mensur Suljovic or Ryan Joyce.

Simon Whitlock 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena - The former European Champion overcame the in form Dutchman, who the previous weekend had gone 12-1 to knock him out of both Pro Tour events. Whitlock opened up with a twelve dart hold including a maximum and a 103 checkout, but Wattimena equalised in eighteen darts, having no trouble with the Harrington switch to pin D9 last dart. Jermaine hit his first 180 of the game to steal the darts, but not leaving a shot after 221 gave Whitlock six darts to clean up 253, he couldn't do that but he'd get more chances as the leg descended into a doubling comedy show, Whitlock finally getting D10 after they missed eight at double combined. Whitlock grabbed the first break in the fourth as Wattimena couldn't hit shanghai on 20's, the Aussie taking out 76 in two darts. A solid fourteen darter with an 86 out saw Jermaine get things back on serve, but he wouldn't be able to have a good scoring visit as Whitlock nailed D16 to get another break and lead 4-2. A fourth maximum from Simon to leave 81 after nine darts put him in a great spot to get one away, but missed D13 for a twelve darter, and Wattimena, who himself had hit a 174 to open the leg, finished 104 to make it four straight breaks. Jermaine needed 110 to hold after an unfortunate dart on the previous visit hit an earlier dart and ended on the floor, and he couldn't find a treble, allowing Whitlock in for an 86 out to get one leg away from the win, which he got next up, a 180 to set up 64 with Wattimena nowhere, killing that final dart for a fifteen darter on D16. Whitlock moves on to face either Daryl Gurney or Ricky Evans, while Wattimena misses the chance to move into the FRH top 30 ahead of Justin Pipe.

Stephen Bunting 6-3 Peter Jacques - Not one for the record books, but the St Helens native came from 3-1 down to run five straight legs after Peter Jacques couldn't sustain what was a promising start. Jacques opened with a good leg, a couple of 140's and then a 145 setting up 36 after twelve darts, he couldn't get the kill but Bunting, way back on 126 after a poor scoring leg, could only get a dart at the bull, which he missed, allowing Peter to hit D2 and break in six visits. Steady scoring set Jacques up on 70 after twelve darts, he couldn't get there but was allowed to return for 2-0, hitting D10 for another seventeen dart leg. Bunting found some scoring and got on the board in the third, hitting D5 last dart having left himself on tops, but a first maximum of the match from Jacques gave him a huge lead in leg 4, being able to take out D16 for the best leg of the match so far in fourteen darts. Bunting's scoring was poor in leg five allowing Jacques to steal the darts, a 170 attempt from Bunting to stay in it failing on the second dart, but Jacques couldn't take out 84 on the bull. Bunting had a dart at D5 trying to kill 89 but wasn't close, then Jacques missed two darts for a second break and Bunting finally finished on D2 to lower the gap to one leg. Stephen had some OK scoring in leg six to leave 127 after nine darts, which he took out on D8 for a twelve darter and a level game. Stephen grabbed his first maximum in leg seven and followed up with 132 to set up D16 after twelve darts, finished under no real pressure from Jacques, whose scoring seemed to have dropped off, which continued into the eighth leg, not being able to leave a finish after twelve, part of eight straight visits of no more than 100. Bunting polished off 64 last dart to get the break and get to match point, and a 180 kickstarted an otherwise mediocre leg, having enough time to miss one at tops with Jacques well back in the high 200's, but three more misses gave Peter a real longshot at 158. Unsurprisingly it didn't go, and Bunting splits 10 and hits D4 to advance to face the winner of the Smith/Lewis tie where he'll likely need to improve to stay close.

Evening session starts in about two and a half hours, I may do similar for that session, I may not. Will see how things go.

Copenhagen day 2 bets

Bad day yesterday, purely down to Dobey - then again, Lynn killed four out of his five legs on throw in fifteen darts or less which is a pretty good standard which didn't leave Dobey much margin for error at all. Chris was able to hold his throw all but one time, that being the last leg where he threw eighteen darts, not one being at a double, which isn't going to cut it. Not going to complain about Mansell missing match darts as Jelle shouldn't have let him get those in the first place, running four straight legs to go from 1-3 to 5-3 before missing eight match darts of his own. O'Connor's was a deciding leg as well, it's amazing how, when 5-3 down, you go out in twelve darts, go out in fifteen with a 148 out, and then none of your first twelve darts in the decider hit a big treble. Oh well.

Elsewhere, don't know what was up with de Zwaan in getting bagelled by Razma with a 70-something average, the qualifiers actually did OK, Nilsson notably getting in another swingy match, leading 4-0 before missing three darts at D16 in the fifth and not getting another dart at double in the match, quite a few other matches went 6-4 or 6-5 so some decent value for the crowd.

Today the seeds come in, I've not yet had the time to put yesterday's into the master computer but let's see what it throws up in terms of bets:

Hendo/Dolan's listed as a flip, I've got it as about 60/40 to the Scot, Dolan got through a tough opponent in Schindler yesterday but didn't do anything to make me think he's playing miles better than his historical average, so 0.25u Henderson 10/11. Cullen/Razma's hugely in Cullen's favour, but I think Madars is live if he plays anything like he did yesterday. His win against de Zwaan isn't in the database but he's up at around a three in eight shot without that, so with the odds we're given it's a play, 0.25u Razma 5/2, I can't filter just on the Euro Tour where Cullen's doing generally better, but I'd rather have the bigger data set to work with. Price/Klaasen I'm not touching with Price's injury and Klaasen's swingy nature. Clayton/Labanauskas should be a good one, Darius coming through Richard North in a game that went all the way, a line of 8/15 Clayton looks close enough, I've not got a huge sample on Labanauskas and his stats may indicate a bet, but I'll pass because of the sampling issue.

Wade/Rodriguez is very much in favour of the Machine, there might even be tiny value on James but it's not enough to really recommend as a bet, if you want to stick it in an accumulator or as a banker in some perms then it seems fine. Webster/Reyes looks to be priced very close to spot on with Webster around a 60/40 favourite, no real value here. Whitlock/Wattimena is close to a flip on the market with the Aussie being the right side of the coin, I touched on this one in the preview show and it kind of agrees with my analysis, if you must bet more then decide whether you want to go with the form being temporary or the class being permanent, other cliches available on request. Final game of the afternoon session is Bunting/Jacques, Peter getting through a tricky tie against Paul Nicholson, one break in a trainwreck fifth leg for Jacques being the only difference between the two. Market has Bunting at about 70/30 which seems way, way too short, Bunting isn't really that much better than Nicholson at this present time so 0.25u Jacques 9/4, it's one where I'd expect Jacques to lose but only about 60% of the time, so that price looks good.

Evening session kicks off with King/Hopp, bookies have it even, numbers of all year say King 60/40, if I filter down to April it becomes a lot closer, I do think this'll be too hard to separate so I won't try to. Next up is Suljovic/Joyce, Joyce is out at 3/1 which I think is really disrespectful, Suljovic's points per turn is still higher when losing than winning so the master computer will be underrating him, but it's giving Joyce a 42% shot here. That's a lot more than 25% and no reasonable adjustments will make this anything other than a bet, 0.25u Joyce 3/1. It's not like he didn't easily beat a winner on the Pro Tour yesterday or anything. Wright/Lynn is huge odds on, can't see Lynn being able to do what he did yesterday again against a higher calibre opponent, stick Wright in as a banker but 1/8 isn't enticing in a short race. Final game of the first half of the session is the highlight in Smith/Lewis. Bookies are thinking Smith 55/45, this could be a Smith bet. I'm getting him up just north of 60%. Lewis didn't do anything yesterday, sure he easily took care of Evetts but neither of them managed to win a leg in five turns. Not once! Let's go with it, 0.25u Smith 4/5.

Cross/Beaton is next up, Steve was pretty good in disposing of Adam Huckvale yesterday, getting 4-0 up, leaving tops after twelve in the next, Adam got a couple back but Steve finished in style with a four visit kill to ice the game. Beaton is probably technical value at 9/2 but I'm not feeling it. Gurney/Evans is around the same line as Suljovic/Joyce, and it's one I highlighted on Thursday as a potential Evans bet, and it is. He can't afford to go 4-0 down again, but this should be nearer a 4/9-2/1 sort of match, 0.25u Evans 3/1. van Gerwen/Taylor should be LOL, I mean it's technically a Taylor bet but not a chance in hell I'm going for it. I've got Taylor at around evens to win legs on his throw, he'll get three shots at it minimum, and Taylor +4.5 is around evens. Maybe worth a shot? Probably not. Don't touch 6-0 van Gerwen though, that's horrible value. Last is White/West, the bookies have this really close at 4/5 - 5/4, I think we can go on Ian here, he's above 60% on the predictor and West didn't play at his best against Laursen, although it was good enough to win, so 0.25u White 4/5.

Four biggish underdog shots there. Bear in mind that just one of them hitting will get you very close to break even if not outright break even on those bets. Be back later with a review of today's play.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Copenhagen bets

Qualifiers are in, and they look to be Nilsson and Labanauskas from the Nordic/Baltic region (Darius confused me a bit given I assumed that he would have been in the same qualifier as Razma was, but I guess not), neither of whom are mugs, while Per Laursen, who's been a familiar name for decades but to the best of my (well, dartsdatabase's) knowledge hasn't played on the European Tour since 2012, has made it through the Danish qualifier along with Brian Lokken, who seems to have mostly been touring the moderately local BDO circuit and, oddly, won the Gibraltar Open last year. For whatever that's worth. Still, none of the qualifiers from today have lines up so it's just the other 12 games to look at, and here come the punts:

0.25u O'Connor 8/15, my data on Rusty's limited but it's enough to tell me that Willie should bag this one more than two out of three times they play this, so let's go small given the lack of information.

Nothing on Ratajski/Joyce, line looks pretty plumb, nothing on Schindler either, there's a slight edge but it's nothing more than that, piling in at 4/6 when I think he wins 62% of the time isn't that appetising when your edge can disappear in a blink if he loses the bull. Nothing on Wattimena/Jones either, I'm not feeling Wayne's ability to pull the upset despite what the model says to be favourable odds, even when I filter to a more recent sample. Beaton/Huckvale looks a better line though - it's not much different to the Schindler line, an extra couple of percentage points is probably enough though given the relative difference in experience, so 0.25u Beaton 4/6.

Lynn/Dobey is one I really do think is close to a lock, 1u Dobey 4/13, I've got him over 90% so I think we can fire freely here. 90% is a lot in a race to six, I don't often see van Gerwen up that high for reference.

de Zwaan/Razma I think is pretty close to the money. There may be small value on Madars, it's a question of your take on Jeffrey's temperament and whether you think he'll pull through in what he knows to be an important game. Mansell/Klaasen is not quite priced up as closely as I thought it would be, so a bit of underdog value on the Cyclone here, 0.25u Mansell 11/8, this should be a bit nearer to 6/5 really.

Thornton/Taylor is more or less where I thought the line would be so I'm not interested, Nicholson/Jacques is also really well priced up. Evetts is priced at 11/4 against Adrian Lewis, which is not long enough. In fact, I think given that Adrian had a bit of a return to stage form I think I can go 0.5u Lewis 1/3, at 78% this should be OK. That just leaves Hopp/Horvat, and while I don't have a lot of data on Dragutin, I think Hopp's playing well enough that we can take a small punt, 0.25u Hopp 4/11.

A fair bit more odds on than I usually go, but that's just how the bets have fallen today. If you like an accumulator you can certainly do worse than these and chucking in against the Danes when (if?) lines appear in the morning.

Copenhagen preview

Draw is out - no news on the Scandi qualifiers but I'm not thinking any of them are going to be that strong, and none of them have managed to get an easy draw (the Danes have West and Reyes, the others have Evans and North), so while I guess that someone like a Viljanen wouldn't be completely drawing dead, it doesn't look too likely that they'll advance, and the Danes only averaging in the 60's in the World Cup isn't promising. So let's start right away and look at what we've got coming up:

Wright v Lynn/Dobey - Seems like an age ago since Lynn did his UK Open heroics, when it was only two seasons ago - the year that Cross reached the last 32. He didn't pick up a card, only got £250 in the UK Open qualifiers and hasn't done much on the Challenge Tour this year, so Dobey should walk this and not be without chances against Wright, in what'd be a rerun from Gibraltar where Dobey lost 6-1.

Price v Mansell/Klaasen - New experience for Jelle, the old Friday match, the wildly inconsistent Klaasen actually rates to be a tiny favourite over recent Pro Tour winner Mansell, although given we never know which Jelle will turn up we've got to take that under advisement. Price apparently has an injury which should take him off the board betting wise from my standpoint regardless of who he plays.

Suljovic v Joyce/Ratajski - Real high quality first round game between the Pro Tour superstar Joyce and UK Open qualifier winner and World Master Ratajski, one I wish I wasn't at work for. Krzysztof rates to be nearly a 60/40 favourite here, and both will give Suljovic a decent game.

Webster v Reyes/DQ2 - Cristo has shown some occasional glimpses, which he shouldn't need to do in round one as long as he doesn't miss huge batches of doubles in multiple legs, Webster is a different proposition and we'll need to see peak Reyes in a game where Webster has remarkably similar winning shots to Ratajski above. Of course, Webster beat Alcinas in the worlds, who beat Reyes in the worlds, so there is that.

Cullen v de Zwaan/Razma - Big, big set of games for Jeffrey, who is still very close to the Matchplay cutoff line and even a grand extra here would be huge for him. Madars hasn't done badly but this is a tough ask, that said it still should only be around a 4/7 game or there abouts. Cullen's done alright in Europe and nowhere else this year, his weakness domestically being such that I'd have de Zwaan as a tiny favourite to take a second round game between the two - if it happens.

Wade v Rodriguez/O'Connor - Rusty Jake returns! I've only got limited data on him from his not great runs in UK Open qualifiers, while O'Connor is having a third (of a minimum of four) punt in Europe this year. That's he's lost in the first round to fellow youngsters in Humphries and van den Bergh may give RJR hope, but Wade, back amongst the seeds, should be far too classy for either.

Smith v Lewis/Evetts - I like Ted, it's cruel how he missed out on a tour card, and while he's been doing work on the minor circuit since then, grabbing three titles (1 Challenge Tour, 2 Development Tour), I really don't want him to get in the way of what'd be an epic Adie/Smith faceoff where anything can happen. I'm getting Evetts with less than a 1 in 4 win chance, but that's only in ranked events and not on secondary tours, so who knows, maybe he can pull off an upset.

Bunting v Nicholson/Jacques - Should be a good first rounder, Nicholson's been quality all year, while Jacques is hit and miss but did have a good run in Wigan last weekend, a quarter final indicating he could be hitting form. Nicho should get through in around five trials out of every eight, and would certainly be alive against Bunting, whose exploits last weekend in Wigan are a microcosm of his whole season - a semi final one day, lose heavily in the first round the next.

Cross v Beaton/Huckvale - Adam's yet to get a win on the Pro Tour, and will get another two shots in midweek as he still has enough cash from his Challenge Tour win to get up on countback, but this will be his third attempt in Europe, and will face off against Beaton, who's frankly been mediocre this year and is yet to get to a quarter final. He's playing OK - the stats make him nearly a 2-1 favourite, but if he's going to get to a quarter final here, he'll have to get past Cross who broke his season's title duck last weekend, and he'd probably be about a 3-1 underdog to do that.

King v Hopp/Horvat - Interesting all-German matchup in round one, Hopp having won one of these of course, but Dragutin's no mug - this is his third European appearance this year and he beat Alcinas last time out, and he beat van der Voort to get through, although Hopp's got close to an 80% chance by my reckoning. A game against King would be a rerun of their World Championship game from a few years back, and Hopp beat King in their last outing, also on the European Tour back in April. Despite a 4-1 head to head lead, the model gives King a 60/40 shot, and there's no homefield advantage to help the Maximiser here.

Gurney v Evans/NBQ1 - Evans is back in form - three quarter finals out of his last four Pro Tour events, 4/6 in recent European qualifiers, he should be too good for whoever qualifies if he keeps this up, and would be live against the current Grand Prix champion who's still looking for his first European Tour win - Gurney would be the favourite but it's not even 2/1 so this could well end up being a good outside punt on Rapid here.

Whitlock v Wattimena/Jones - Even more in form is Jermaine Wattimena, who as I mentioned in the previous post had the best points per turn of anybody last weekend when he made back to back semi finals. The Wolverhampton veteran wouldn't be without chances, indeed the model has this very close over a full year's stats, but if I filtered down on more recent results I'd expect that to swing in the Dutchman's favour. Whitlock will have his work cut out, the full year has him at about 60/40 in the lead over Jermaine, but if I filter down to May onwards Whitlock becomes the underdog.

Clayton v North/NBQ2 - North hasn't really pushed on this season, he did reach that one semi final on the European stage back in March, but only has a couple of quarters apart from that. Still, he's doing well enough on the figures to be able to push the Ferret if he shows up, the model projecting the Welshman to be about a 60/40 favourite.

White v West/DQ1 - Steve's playing far too well to have any issues with a domestic qualifier, and he's playing having reached the semi final last time out in Europe. A match against White would be an interesting one - Ian's won an event this year, reached a final last weekend and has four semi final appearances, but is only just over a 60% shot against Steve, an indication of how well West is playing (as regular readers should know just how underestimated White is).

van Gerwen v Thornton/Taylor - No, not Phil, Scott, who made a Pro Tour final and will be looking for a second pop at van Gerwen who stopped him that day. He may have a chance to do so, as while neither's been playing that great this season (Thornton is at risk of dropping out of the top 32 before Ally Pally if he's not careful and is nowhere near the Matchplay), it's about a 55/45 in Thornton's favour so this could come down to who pins their chances, which they should each get. Not even going to look at the second round match, such is the level of one-sidedness it'll look like.

Henderson v Schindler/Dolan - Our final matches see Schindler, who is having a really great season statistically without having the real landmark result to show for it (at least on the senior circuit - he has one quarter final, compare that with Hopp's Euro Tour win or Clemens' final, although back to back Development Tour wins on the same day is really hard), against Dolan, who's had a few decent runs - the best probably being last month in Milton Keynes where he pocketed over five grand. The German should be the favourite, in and around the 8/13 bracket, and he'd be the favourite in round two against the big Scot, although so small that it's basically a coin flip. Hendo's only had the one quarter final since April so could use a run.

Be back later with news from the qualifiers and hopefully bets.

Sunday 17 June 2018

Players Championship 14 - Double Cross? Yeah Wright

Pretty successful weekend for Cross, although he was to be denied a double win as the two highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that showed up met in the final, Peter Wright coming out on top in a 6-4 match, Wright storming into a 5-1 lead before Cross pegged it back to 5-4, Wright managing to finish the game off when Cross seemingly made a huge mess of some sort of finish, hard to tell off of the raw dartconnect scoring but to go from needing 132 and then leaving 15 before ending on 3, that's not pretty.

Michael Smith was a semi finalist with a decent run, the other was Jermaine Wattimena again, as he's made himself incredibly safe for the majors and is actually high up enough on the Pro Tour now that he's in danger of being seeded for ET 11 onwards. It's a bit of a double edged sword in that if you just sneak in you get no ranking money if you lose and the #1 seed if you win... seems like a silly system to me really. Wattimena had scored nicely enough to leave himself on 80 after twelve in the deciding leg, only for Wright to go out with 161. Not bad.

Lower down, Dimitri van den Bergh really should have seen off Wright at an earlier stage, racing to a 4-0 lead with the darts before forgetting how to double and losing 6-4, Noppert picked up a board win to keep himself within touching distance of the Matchplay but it's really reliant on making Hamburg and having a run at this stage, van Duijvenbode won his board again, don't know what's clicked there but he didn't seem to be having double troubles when I was watching on the stream board, while Adam Hunt made a quarter final from nowhere, which aside from a deciding leg win over Steve West was mostly a fortunate draw thing.

Overall in the weekend, Alan Norris only picked up a grand, but as his Matchplay chances are reliant on Adrian Lewis doing something and he only picked up 500 quid (Deller's bokking extending to this weekend as well it seems) it's probably a bit too much for Lewis to overhaul him, given he only has the one shot in Europe. It's also need Kim Huybrechts and Darren Webster to edge past him, they're not far behind but Huybrechts at least isn't showing any inclination to be able to do so. Sven Groen's now 0-14, how far will this run go?

Everything's in the master computer, interesting to see who has the best points per turn over the weekend - if we say a minimum of 25 legs played (just to troll Paul Nicholson and exclude him), the top 10 are, from the bottom to the top, Gabriel Clemens, Ian White, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic, Jason Lowe, Martin Schindler, Ron Meulenkamp, Rob Cross and Jermaine Wattimena. Probably some names you expected up there, also some that regular readers might expect but casuals wouldn't, but the order's got to surprise you?

New FRH rankings:

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

Not a huge deal of change. White edges over Chisnall by less than a grand after finalling on Saturday, Chisnall's quarter not quite being enough to get him back over Ian. Cullen only needed to match what Huybrechts did to gain the spot, getting the extra grand over the weekend is just a bonus, but he's very close to van Barneveld for the top 16 and should get above him before the Matchplay guaranteed unless Barney shows up for something. There is only three grand separating Jamie Lewis, King, Henderson, Klaasen and Bunting in the 21-25 bracket, Wattimena's runs have taken him to number 31 on the rankings and very close to Justin Pipe, van Duijvenbode's weekend has placed him just outside the top 80 by only 100 points or so.

I'm tempted to do some in depth Matchplay qualification scenarios, but as they mostly write themselves and the World Cup is on I probably won't bother with it. Be back later in the week for Copenhagen previews.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Players Championship 13 - World Champion wins tournament shocker

Weird how that the clear second best player in the world, who is putting up clearly the second best averages in the world, has actually won an event. Seems some people don't quite get the huge amount of variance there is in a short race format, heck it may possibly be the only reason I make money on betting darts at all, but for those who are of the "Cross luckboxed one tournament and is a fish on a heater" mentality, he's won one.

It was overall a very weird day - Wright went out first round. Smith went out first round. Dootson and Darbyshire won games. Crazy stuff. White made what was a weird final, going from 4-0 to 4-4 to 6-4, but his appearance in that stage is not unexpected, given how much I've been raving about his game in recent months. Jermaine Wattimena reached the semi final, and by all accounts should have reached the final, getting down to 47 after nine darts against White while leading 5-4 on throw, but being unable to pin the winning double. Shame, as while the longer term stats indicated that he was basically killing a lot in six visits and taking what was given rather than imposing himself on the game, here he had the best adjusted average of anyone on the day (Wright excepted but he only played one game) - 98 flat with seven twelve or better dart legs on the day is a pretty decent standard. The score's now lifted him into the top 32 on the FRH rankings.

Elsewhere, Dirk van Duijvenbode made the quarters, riding his luck a bit in winning three last leg deciders, but hopefully this gives him the confidence to kick on. After Wattimena, the best adjusted average of people to get out of the first round was Martin Schindler - playing some great stuff including a demolition job on Mensur Suljovic, before running into Ian White at the last 16 stage. Bunting also showed some more recent signs that he's getting back to his best in his semi final run, running into a Cross-shaped wall at that stage, but there's enough of an indication that he's getting things back together and isn't one you may want to face in the Matchplay. Interesting return to the quarters for Peter Jacques as well, averaging more or less the same as van Duijvenbode but getting there when it mattered. Lennon, Cullen and Clemens also put in better numbers than their finishing positions suggested.

Tomorrow's a new day, and it's a big one before possibly the most important ten days of the year so far - that period with two European Tour events on back to back weekends with two Players Championship events sandwiched in between is critical, as they're the last events before the Matchplay. We had the UK qualifier for ET9 (the last one before the cutoff, we already knew the ET8 lineup) on Friday, Norris didn't make it so, having not made Copenhagen either, is just reliant on tomorrow and the two midweek PC events to get home, as he's not even close on Pro Tour rankings. Beating Pipe and then losing to Meulenkamp today isn't inspiring. Looking at Burton's table, he should still be safe as he's reliant on both Webster and Huybrechts to do more than him going forward (although he has less than a grand of wiggle room there), and would need Adrian Lewis to close an effective ten grand gap. Then again, it's not like Lewis hasn't won ten grand in one event recently.

On the cutoff for the Pro Tour places, Keegan Brown did himself a world of good by getting to Hamburg, while Lennon and, more critically, North, did themselves no favours. They did lose in the last round 6-4 and 6-5 but should be beating Martin Atkins and Paul Rowley. Dobey added a second shot having already made Copenhagen, but other than him it's mostly Euros that are just outside. Payne and Jame Lewis missed out and are probably too far behind at this stage.

Sunday 10 June 2018

Guess who's back, back again, Adie's back, tell a friend

It didn't work out for him in the final, but Adrian Lewis is at least back chucking at a decent level, and while he couldn't really get close to van Gerwen, he at least has been able to push up several rankings as a result of this run. Got to start to worry Norris that Lewis has just put a 10k dent in the gap there was between the two given Norris's weak Pro Tour ranking, he's going to desperately need something going forward to grab one of the last seeds.

Steve West and Paul Nicholson certainly will be happy with their weekends, although Paul's got to be thinking what could have been after breaking in the penultimate leg, starting off 140 then not being able to leave a finish after twelve darts, with Adie going out in 14 that was very costly.

I feel like I don't really review individual games too much, so I'll give that a try:

van Gerwen/Clayton - even enough through the first four legs but van Gerwen clearly looked the better player, Clayton then missed one dart at tops to break in the fifth as part of a double-double 100 out combination, it then all went downhill from there - missing double 14 to hold and letting van Gerwen in on 82 to get a break, a regulation 15 dart hold followed to put Michael on the hill, Clayton had the chance to extend the game but his scoring deserted him, allowing van Gerwen to clean up 75 on his sixth visit for the match.

West/Cross - how to average 10 points lower than your opponent and win. West has the darts and both players had one dart to break in each of the first three legs, all of which were scrappy, before Cross's finishing deserted him in the fourth and he misses six darts to equalise, West breaking in six visits. Cross breaks straight back with West unable to consolidate the break with mediocre scoring, and it's then routine holds from there, West getting another four visit deciding leg to ice the game.

Price/Nicholson - slow first couple of legs, Nicholson's able to get some scoring going and leave 121 after nine in the third, he can't finish on the bull but Price isn't able to hit a big 149 out and Nicholson gets the break in five visits. Price breaks straight back in the same as Nicholson's scoring falls apart, but his scoring goes away and he misses a dart for 170 to hold as Paul makes it 3-2. Price has the chance to get on level terms but misses four darts at double as Nicholson makes it 4-2, and breaks again to go one away after Price can't kill 74 to hold. Paul's set up play disappears in leg 8 as Price gets one break back, and his scoring goes away in the ninth as Price holds in six visits. In leg 10, with Nicholson drakking around on 228 after twelve darts, Price hits nine perfect darts - a maximum to leave 103, 103 out, and then kicks off the decider with a maximum, but despite a 140 follow up he can't finish the game - missing six match darts to allow Nicholson to clean up double sixteen in his sixth visit and advance.

Lewis/Wright - pretty routine game through five legs with it going on serve to 3-2 Lewis, he's then able to break in the sixth after Wright misses three clear at 32 which he'd left after twelve. He immediately rectifies matters with a 140-140-140-81 out break back, but proceeds to miss two darts at tops in the next and Lewis pins tops to get his break back, sealing a 6-3 win on double 12 after Wright can only leave 140 after five visits.

van Gerwen/West - couple of routine five dart holds to start, before van Gerwen misses three darts to make it 2-1 and West steps in to break with a 76 out. West holds a scrappy fourth leg, before van Gerwen puts on the afterburners - back to back four visit finishes in legs six and seven get things back on throw, and a fifteen dart break seals the game in leg six with West unable to leave an out after twelve darts. An eleven dart ninth leg puts van Gerwen one leg from victory, and a solid tenth leg from West is just delaying the inevitable as van Gerwen hits tops to move to the final.

Nicholson/Lewis - Lewis got an immediate break, missing bull for a 167 but cleaning up in fourteen, neither player is able to threaten the other's throw until the eighth leg. Nicholson, after a great twelve darter the leg before, slots in a maximum to leave 24 after twelve darts, Lewis can't finish 164 and we're at 4-4. The Asset can't pin tops to hold and Adie finishes last dart in fifteen to break straight back, and leaves himself tops after twelve in the next leg, cleaning it up to lead 6-4. Nicholson finishes 121 on the bull for another twelve dart leg with Jackpot waiting on 100 for the match, and then equalises with a 128 out on the same target after Lewis misses two match darts. The decider is a horror show as Nicholson, after starting with 140, can't find a treble in his next three visits, while a 180 from Lewis is enough to give him time to finish on tops.

van Gerwen/Lewis - one sided really. van Gerwen held in five, broke in four, held in six before Lewis got on the board with a ten dart leg. van Gerwen makes it 4-1 with a five visit kill, before ending the game as a contest with another break, Lewis missing four darts at double to hold. van Gerwen slots in another twelve dart leg to make it 6-1 in the race to eight, Lewis is able to hold and recover to 6-2 as van Gerwen's going through the motions, but it's routine from there, van Gerwen pinning double twelve for the title with an eleven dart leg.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Peter Wright
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney (UP 1)
6 Phil Taylor (DOWN 1)
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 Jonny Clayton (UP 1)
16 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 1)
17 Kim Huybrechts
18 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
19 Alan Norris (DOWN 1)
20 Adrian Lewis (NEW)

As mentioned earlier, Klaasen's gone and down to 23 (and falling). West is up to #26 following his semi final, another player now ahead of Benito van de Pas, Nicholson rises to #66, while Boulton and Barnard crack into the top 90, with Mike de Decker holding on in the top 100.

Evetts got his third title of the year by claiming the last Development Tour event of the weekend. Scary how he's cleaning up, qualified for the worlds, but didn't get a tour card at Q-School. Maybe it's making him stronger? Who knows.

I'll update the Second Division Darts rankings shortly. One thing I might do for next season is add another tier of it, and have a third division, but only eligible to players under 30. Thoughts?

Gibraltar final session, ah, that's better

Only the Dobey bet missing is quite the result and more than makes up for yesterday. Cullen's got to be kicking himself for missing all those match darts, but we'll take it. If you get a chance, rewatch the Lewis/Wade match, one of the better games we've seen all year.

So we're at the quarter final stage - here's what we've got:

I wouldn't have thought the model would only give van Gerwen one out of every three wins, but it's a pretty short format - heck, Clayton won the last meeting between the two over the same distance, Cross clearly would have the game to beat him, and anyone from the bottom half (with the possible exception of Nicholson, but even then the model's giving Nicholson about a one in six shot at it) could do so on their day. Wright looks to be the pick from the bottom half, and looked in decent nick against Dobey, but Lewis will be no pushover as he looks to climb back up the Pro Tour rankings, and you can guarantee Price would give him a game.

This table obviously gives you the projections which I can directly compare to the odds - 0.1u Clayton 7/1 just because, otherwise the market has Cross/West at 75/25 which is near as damnit to what I'm getting, it's got Price at 8/13 which, if I've done my maths right, is 62% give or take a fraction of a percent, so no value there either, and they've got Wright at the same price as well. They're giving nothing away here, and as I'm going to the pub soon I won't be about to look at the semis, but you can extrapolate what the model would have said from these figures if you want to punt on it. As a result, we're booking a 1.5 unit profit for Gibraltar, unless Clayton does pull the upset, in which case it's 2.3 units, and a new high water mark in terms of career profit. Which would be nice.

One thing I would note away from Gibraltar which I should have done yesterday is that it's been a pretty good weekend for German darts - Schindler booked a double on the Development Tour yesterday, and Unterbuchner won the Swiss Open on the BDO side. On the Development Tour, Ryan Meikle's bagged the first one today, which gives him a second title at that level, and Rowby made the final, so maybe he'll make a bit of a comeback at higher levels. Last one's still in the running but I'll let you know who grabbed it when I do a roundup later today. Worth noting that Adie's back in the top 20 of the FRH rankings as we speak, knocking out Jamie Lewis who had knocked out Jelle Klaasen (who's now also below Mervyn King). He'll stay there unless West wins the title, so...

Gibraltar day 3 - Murphy's Law

Not a good day 2 after a great day 1. Didn't need much to change to be good - think I was clearly on the right side of the Wade/Smith game, Smith leading 5-3 but not getting the last leg he needed (should have been leg 9, with Wade offering Smith eighteen darts to win but Smith wasn't even on a double after then, Wade was clinical in 10/11 to be fair). Huckvale didn't show up outside of the big kill he had in the one leg he won, White/Hopp was a poor game where Ian never really got going outside of a couple of legs spell midway through, and Smith/Wattimena, I have no idea what happened there. Pity Smith didn't get his twelve darter in the last leg when he needed it, rather than the tenth, where he didn't, Jermaine was just good enough to get enough legs home in fifteen darts and took advantage of missed doubles in leg 8. Pretty much the perfect storm of things happening for him to win it.

End result is we are ever so slightly up, about an eighth of a unit. Both Smith's getting home would have changed that to up over a unit and a half, such is the way things go. A few interesting results other than those that we looked at, people were drooling over Cullen's average, but that's heavily inflated as in three legs he killed with the first dart of the visit, Vincent actually put up a bit of a fight against van Gerwen until Michael pulled away as only Michael can. I say that, but Cross did similar to get out of a huge hole against Cristo Reyes. West played really well in beating Darren Webster, although he didn't particularly think so in his post match interview, a clinical twelve dart leg in the decider on throw is as much as you can ask for in that situation really. Boulton beating Bunting was a little bit of a surprise, Nicholson got through Chisnall but didn't play that great in doing so, Barnard was OK but Wright gave him nothing, and Dobey's reached the final day, but only got the one leg in fifteen darts and (conventional) averaged under 85 in a sluggish game. Let's see what we have today:

van Gerwen/Boulton - Kind of a hilarious match. Boulton may actually be value at 13/1 but he doesn't really strike me as the sort of player that would actually believe he can pull this upset.

Clayton/Hopp - Bookies have this match between two winners on the European Tour as a flip (hands up if you thought that sentence would be used at the start of the year. Anyone? Nope? Good). Clayton wasn't really tested at all against Schnier, Hopp should have been against White but wasn't, I've got Clayton as having a bit of an edge here, the model really doesn't like Hopp at all as he's not finishing legs too quickly at all. With this price I can't not bet - 0.25u Clayton evs.

Gurney/West - Talked a bit about West's game earlier, Gurney came through a slugfest against World Cup partner Brendan Dolan, leaving it quite late to get the break he needed but doing so and getting home 6-4. The bookies favour Gurney quite a bit more than I think they should - they have him at 2/5 when I think West can get home more than 35% of the time. It's a tempting underdog bet, and with West playing what I thought was well but also with him having motivation to be better, I think it's worth a shot - 0.25u West 13/5.

Cross/Whitlock - Cross put in three twelve dart legs against Reyes to rally from a 5-2 deficit, while Whitlock didn't need to get out of second gear against Adam Huckvale, the line is similar to the Gurney/West line. I've got this as around 70/30, which isn't quite enough to bet on Whitlock.

Wattimena/Price - Jermaine edged past Michael Smith as described above, while Price was relatively untroubled against Mike de Decker, with Wattimena getting that win it's a surprisingly tight line. I've got Price winning nearly three out of four trials, which makes this automatic - 0.25u Price 4/6.

Cullen/Nicholson - The European Tour specialist eased past Labanauskas 6-1, while the Asset got through Dave Chisnall, getting a key break midway through the game to give him a decent lead and diving over the line 6-4. Cullen's listed as having about a 2-1 edge, I think it's a bit closer than that, getting Nicholson to just above a 40% chance. We're being offered good odds here, and while I'd like to see what the model would throw out if we just filtered on Cullen's stats in the European Tour, I think we have to go with this - 0.25u Nicholson 21/10.

Lewis/Wade - Two players having somewhat of a resurgence after a poor 2017, Wade's done a bit more than Lewis in terms of making notable runs, and the market finds it hard to split the two. Lewis looked really solid against Suljovic taking out five of his six won legs in fifteen darts or less, and Wade struggled to get past Ross Smith. I'd have thought the model would say bet Lewis given how it works, and then I'd need to account for consistency and the sorts of things the model doesn't account for, but it's calling it a coinflip as well, so no bets here.

Wright/Dobey - Last game up, Dobey is definitely going to need to play better to keep this close, he needs what he threw against Lennon rather than what he did against King. At least we know the game is there. We're offered a good price here with the market thinking Wright wins more than three out of four, and I don't think he wins two out of three. I'll be a bit cautious given how they played yesterday, but 0.1u Dobey 10/3 regardless.

Mostly underdog punts here, but we only really need one to hit to stay level and then think that the Clayton and Price bets get home. Let's go!

Saturday 9 June 2018

Gibraltar day 2

A bit late to the party today, I blame my local for putting on a decent beer for a change, it's not my fault for drinking it, not at all. I've not yet got yesterday's results into the master computer, which were pretty good betting wise, mainly because we pinned that big outside shot on Ross Smith, so where it may matter and there's not a huge sample size I'll make a note and play it safer. Don't think there was a huge amount of value on Bunting/Boulton which is going on right now, maybe an outside play on Boulton, but probably not.

Price/de Decker - Gerwyn should take this, I've got this as a little better than 3-1 in the Welshman's favour, we're offered 5/12 which might be useful, but we don't have a huge amount of info on Mike and he did slot two twelve darters in, which might be enough to make it a no bet, so I'll no bet this one. Doubt I finish writing up by the time Bunting's done so wouldn't get on if I wanted to.

Webster/West - Bookies have this pretty close with Webster having a small edge, I've got it as the same at not even 55% Webster, so no bet again.

Wade/Smith - Smith's longer than 3/1 again, you'd have thought they might have learned. Smith's at over 250 legs played this year so not a small sample, yesterday's result may improve the percentages slightly having hit a twelve dart leg, master computer gives him 38% which looks to be enough to fire again - 0.25u Smith 10/3.

Whitlock/Huckvale - Similar line to the above game. Don't think that we have as much edge though, Adam's just shy of 200 legs and it's giving him just less than a one in three shot. Yesterday's games shouldn't affect the stats much, so I think there's just enough room for a small play - 0.1u Huckvale 7/2.

Clayton/Schnier - Got to be a long time since someone won 6-2 with a sub-80 average, sure Asquez was offering no help but that wouldn't have stopped Schnier finishing quickly if he could. Should be a canter for Clayton but 1/7 isn't inviting.

White/Hopp - Hopp steamrollerd Dudbridge 6-0 yesterday, getting one leg in four visits and another three in five, not bad, but we have enough on Hopp that it's not going to increase his winning chances significantly, and they're nowhere near high enough to not bet on White who continues to be underrated in the market - 0.25u White 5/7.

Gurney/Dolan - Gurney's been given better than a 75% chance in the market today. That looks close to right, I've not quite got him up there so if you like an underdog play and liked the look of Brendan yesterday be my guest, I didn't so no bet.

Cullen/Labanauskas - Joe's been doing well in Europe but badly in the Players Championships, Darius edged past de Graaf in a decent encounter, including back to back 11 darters. We can get 9/5 on Darius, and while he's not got a huge sample and adding yesterday's should help, the computer's only giving him a one in three shot as it is, so I can't see it going up enough to give reasonable value.

Smith/Wattimena - Jermaine easily dealt with the interesting challenge of Tony Dawkins, and his opponent today is at the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm getting Smith at over 80% to claim this one, Jermaine's winning a lot of legs and getting decent results, but he's not winning legs quickly - only 45% of won legs are within fifteen darts, which Smith should punish - 0.5u Smith 2/7.

Cross/Reyes - Cross still hasn't won an event this year, and starts off against Cristo, who threw away a 4-1 lead against Thornton but came back from 5-4 down to advance. There might be really tiny underdog value on Cristo at longer than 4/1 but I'm just not feeling his ability to do it against someone as solid as Rob is.

van Gerwen/van der Voort - Vincent's never winning this one ever, and is on a 1-13 streak against the world number one, some of those losses being very one sided. Just stick Michael in as a banker and move on.

Chisnall/Nicholson - Dave had clear problems with his game at the World Cup, and won't want to be facing Paul, who's quietly built up a solid season statistically without any huge results to show for it, I would have thought this would be a Nicho bet, but only getting 5/2 isn't really enough, I've got Dave winning two out of three so I'd have liked a bit more edge. If you see it lengthening on Nicho then fire but if anything the market is going the other way.

Suljovic/Lewis - Huge clash here, and it's the sort of one that Adie needs to be winning if we're going to start to take him seriously again, I've got this as Adie winning a close one, around 55/45, and the market has it the other way around, but the model is still underrating Mensur a bit, with his losing average still above his winning average, and it's not going to take into account he'll be confident after his win in Gelsenkirchen, so I'm happy to leave this one alone.

King/Dobey - Bookies have this as a flip, oh my. I'd have thought King would be a favourite as he's not exactly playing terribly, at least in Europe, then I could bet Dobey easily, but at 10/11 Dobey I'm not really fancying it. I've not even got Dobey up at 55% so there's nothing here really.

Wright/Barnard - Barnard got past Ratajski first game up yesterday, now he's the last game of the night, that's a big break. Honestly would have thought this would have thrown out a Barnard bet given he's generally 9/2 and nearly 5's on Marathon, but it's saying that it wouldn't even be a bet if we were offered 5/1. No bet here.

That's your lot for today - couple of repeat underdog shots, our usual White punt and Michael Smith getting a favourable matchup stats wise that allows us to go on him as a big favourite. Good luck and I'll get on to filling in the stats.

Thursday 7 June 2018

The second best film of all time

Welcome to the Rock!

Draw is out for Gibraltar, let's look down it bit by bit, I'm not even going to consider looking at the home nation qualifiers as they'll either get pummelled (anyone that isn't Schnier) or they're facing someone with no real reads (Schnier), so let's go:

van Gerwen v Bates/van der Voort - Bunting v Boulton/Edhouse: While Bunting's shown some signs of life recently, a match against van Gerwen still rates to be a 5-1 preposition. What of the first round games? Barrie/Vinnie actually rates to be quite close, oddly enough - Bates is on very limited information, and what information we have says he's wildly inconsistent, but this sort of thing in a short race looks tasty, 0.1u Bates 18/5. Boulton/Edhouse is on a knife edge, Boulton being such a tiny favourite in the model that he's not even at 52%, with the market giving it very close to evens each way and Andy being the one that doesn't quite get there, I'm happy to avoid this one.

Clayton v Schnier/HNQ3 - White v Dudbridge/Hopp - Schnier wasn't terrible the one time we saw him this year, so I'll think he'll beat whoever the HNQ is, but either's going to lose to the Ferret. Dudbridge/Hopp is classic old v new, much as I want Flash to cause the upset, I really can't see it, his game really isn't that good and Hopp rates to claim this three out of four times. As Hopp is 1/4 best price, I see no value here whatsoever.

Gurney v Dolan/Wilson - Webster v Alcinas/West - Six proper players here. Dolan will be looking to win to cause some intra-World Cup team violence, but it's a tough ask against Wilson, who's been getting it quietly and should have more chances than the market suggests, 0.25u Wilson 4/6, don't think it's quite a 1/2 game but there's enough edge here. Alcinas/West sees two defeated last 16 worlds contenders collide, and I think the market's favouring West a bit too much here. I've got Antonio with more than a 40% shot, so 0.25u Alcinas 15/8 looks decent to me, a similar sort of edge to the other first round game here.

Cross v Thornton/Reyes - Whitlock v Huckvale/Burnett - Some more good games here, Thornton against Reyes sees a classic UK against European qualifier, both players have been struggling for a while now, both players have always been inconsistent, so I don't really want to bet this unless the model says I have a big edge - and thankfully it doesn't, Reyes at 8/11 where I've got him at 58% is an easy leave. Huckvale/Burnett is a game between two players at opposite ends of their careers (although Burnett clearly isn't done, and Huckvale's certainly been around for a while), model has this as a coinflip. Huckvale is 6/4 - he's no mug and will have his chances, Burnett's not been playing bad but this looks like a play - 0.25u Huckvale 6/4.

M Smith v Wattimena/HNQ4 - Price v Padgett/de Decker - Won't analyse the first bit as Smith'll be a big favourite in round 2, Wattimena the same in round 1, move on. Padgett against de Decker is a game between two players most don't know a lot about, de Decker's trying to rebuild having lost his tour card but has four Development Tour titles, while Padgett has been in and around the scene for around a decade, not really doing much but having the odd spurt at the UK Open and making the worlds once. We don't have a huge amount of data for either, both at around 100 legs played, but the model's reckoning de Decker has a 60% shot, so 0.25u de Decker 5/6.

Cullen v de Graaf/Labanauskas - Chisnall v Nicholson/HNQ1 - Assuming Paul gets through round 1, that could be an interesting round 2 game, the Asset isn't playing badly at all, and reckons he can beat Chisnall one time in three - if Dave throws some of the junk he did in the World Cup that's believable. On the other side we've got an intra-Europe game, Darius fresh off the World Trophy, while Jeffrey, since making the worlds in 2017 if I remember rightly as one of the top 4 Euros not otherwise qualified, hasn't done much of anything since then and this is just his second appearance on the Euro Tour this year, having got through the home nation qualifier in Zwolle. Market has that tight, model has it tight, ignoring it.

Suljovic v A Lewis/HNQ2 - Wade v J Lewis/R Smith - First round game for Adie will be LOL, but the second round game will be great - model favours Lewis 5/4 but model doesn't recognise that Suljovic has been running bad and averages more when losing than winning. Or that he's just won a non-ranking title. Other pod here looks alright, and gives us a betting spot - Jamie's the favourite and rightly so, but he's far too big of a favourite, since the worlds he's not really backed it up. Model reckons that Smith gets home 40% of the time, which makes 0.25u Smith 4/1 look real good. If that doesn't work we get what looks close to a coinflip in round 2.

Wright v Ratajski/Barnard - King v Dobey/Lennon - Ran the Ratasjki line earlier and it looks OK, Barnard's been playing well and has chances but only about the one in three that the bookies reckon. Either player against Wright should be fun. Dobey/Lennon could be a thriller which the bookies really can't separate, I'm getting Dobey with just about enough of an edge to bet, 0.25u Dobey 20/21, it's not that far off but I've got him above 56% which, even factoring in Lennon's new confidence on the European stage, should be enough.

Monday 4 June 2018

World Cup explosion

The PDC have finally got their finger out and announced what they're going to do for the world championship. It's 96, thankfully, and more or less what I said they should hurry up and do last week - "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."

So that's exactly what they've done. 32 seeds, 32 from the Pro Tour OOM (seemingly just a straight 32, rather than however many and then the next best remainder from outside the UK/Ire), and then an interesting list of qualifiers. The top four from the Asian Tour is a big boost to that region, given they still have a Japanese and Chinese qualifier (also adding an Indian qualifier, presumably to get Prakash Jiwa in), they look to have an extra spot for North America, which is probably about right, while they've also added two ladies qualifiers - one from the UK and one from outside.

I'm not sure about this. Really not sure at all. Darts doesn't really have any sort of gender inequality in the sense that female players cannot play at the same level as the men, so having two qualifiers which exclude half of all possible players doesn't seem right to me. I'm also not sure how this will sit with the BDO's version of the worlds - £7.5k just for turning up even if you lose nine straight legs will get you more than anything other than outright binking their worlds. Sure, some of the top players could probably get close to there on merit, but are the BDO going to blackball anyone who plays the qualifier and loses (I assume they won't also allow whoever makes the PDC worlds to play theirs at the same time)? It's a bit of a risk for anyone that's actually good on the women's side.

I watched a bit of the BDO World Trophy. The standard of the darts wasn't bad, the standard of the production was. I could have done a better job of it using OBS and streaming to Twitch. Stream was flaky and breaking up, camera quality of zooms on the doubles was woeful. Not really sure of the point of having it on some TV channel on page 94 of the Sky guide just to say it's televised. If it's not on Sky or BT, nobody's going to notice it. Just stream it to Twitch - you'll probably get more viewers, and more of a community experience. This is particularly important if you want to try to capture a younger audience - I'm nearer 40 than 30, but I can't recall the last time before yesterday I watched TV outside of football at the pub. It was probably the UK Open. On the other hand, I watch Twitch streams or bookmaker streams more or less daily.

I also watched a bit of the World Cup, good to see Japan having a bit of a run, while you had some real quality games, particularly featuring the Netherlands. Seems to have qualified both Barney and Cadby for the Grand Slam - in terms of the BDO side, now that their outright places have been won by Duzza, Duzza and Ratajski, I guess it's just their top eight.

Here's something to think about in terms of the previous post - let's say that we've got two players that have exactly a 50% strike rate on both trebles and doubles. Now let's adapt these players - the first one, we'll call him Peter Manley, acquires the ability to hit his double in one dart every single time. The second one, we'll call him Someone Else, acquires an increasing chance of hitting his trebles. What percentage of hitting trebles do you think that he needs to improve to in order to be a favourite to win a match? 65%? 70%? More?

It's actually just 57%. Less than you thought, eh?