Sunday 29 July 2018

Matchplay final - take a bow son

What an incredible performance by Gary Anderson that was. Seventeen legs won, sixteen of those within fifteen darts, half of those within twelve, that's unplayable. Simply unplayable. It's a minor miracle that de Zwaan was able to get up to twelve legs.

Looking at my stats now, on the year that's pushed Anderson ahead of Cross in overall points per turn by seven hundredths of a point, interestingly, and it's obviously on a more limited sample (although it's 200+ legs), Durrant is still fourth.

In the other semi, it was more of a scrappy affair, with Wright and Suljovic combined hitting 14/30 legs (47%) within fifteen darts, the same percentage of legs that Anderson won within twelve darts. The final should break down very simply - if Anderson plays anything like that tonight, Anderson wins. If Suljovic plays anything like that tonight, Anderson wins. It's going to take Mensur to step things up to what he was doing in the Webster match to even think about keeping it close, and Anderson's going to have to continue to miss doubles at a fairly high rate, and at key points to allow Mensur to step in and nick legs. It's odd that, after de Zwaan was around 3/1, and Cullen was 4/1, that Suljovic is very close to 4/1 for this match. That seems like a bit of an overreaction to Anderson's form yesterday if you ask me - adding one or two extra legs in comparison to the semis and quarters respectively does not really make any difference at all to the likelihood of the better player winning it. Looking back at a tweet I posted before the start of the event, it would only have given MvG an extra 1.3% against de Zwaan comparing the quarters to the final. Not sure what the sweet spot would be for where gives the most increase - clearly van Gerwen would already be hugely favoured. It's not going to make any significant difference to players who are fairly close for obvious reasons.

Looking at Anderson against Suljovic, on whole year data, Anderson is at 75% against Suljovic for tonight's final (to see what sort of difference a longer match makes, if they were to meet in round 1, a match just a bit over half the length, it'd be 70/30. In a standard Pro Tour game it'd be 65/35). If we filter since after the UK Open, it's 74/46 Anderson. If we filter on June and July, it's a staggering 94/6 Anderson, and on just the Matchplay it's 95/5 Anderson. That said, if we just filter on the first three rounds of the Matchplay, it's only 63/37 Anderson. That's how much of a difference last night's games made to projections. I'm not betting on this one so I'll end up down just over a third of a point for the tournament.

Additionally, yesterday's game locks Suljovic into the Grand Slam (he was looking pretty safe given he's won a European Tour event), and also looks to have confirmed Jonny Clayton in as well, as Anderson already had a spot from the UK Open win. Anyone know what happened in the Granite City Open? Radio silence from all and sundry, I can find out who won a minor BDO ranking event in Luxembourg (Roger Janssen getting the cake it seems, looks to be picking up a bit of form) but nothing from one of the more well known opens in the UK.

May as well post up the new FRH adjusted rankings. Suljovic will go past Gurney with a win, but that's the only possible change - Anderson would still be about 25 grand short of Wright if he takes it. So, we have:

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

Barney, despite getting a win, is out of there. de Zwaan's up to #33, but as it's effectively half way through the season, I'll post down to #50 and list a year to date change:

21 Raymond van Barneveld (DOWN 10)
22 John Henderson (UP 5)
23 Jelle Klaasen (DOWN 4)
24 Steve West (UP 8)
25 Steve Beaton
26 Jamie Lewis
27 Alan Norris (DOWN 14)
28 Kyle Anderson (DOWN 4)
29 Benito van de Pas (DOWN 12)
30 Jermaine Wattimena (UP 8)
31 James Wilson (UP 2)
32 Justin Pipe (DOWN 3)
33 Jeffrey de Zwaan (UP 36)
34 Robert Thornton (DOWN 3)
35 Cristo Reyes (DOWN 5)
36 Keegan Brown (UP 9)
37 Dimitri van den Bergh (DOWN 2)
38 Vincent van der Voort (DOWN 4)
39 Chris Dobey (DOWN 2)
40 Max Hopp (UP 18)
41 Steve Lennon (UP 8)
42 Richard North (UP 2)
43 Jan Dekker
44 Corey Cadby (NEW)
45 Brendan Dolan (DOWN 5)
46 James Richardson (DOWN 5)
47 Krzysztof Ratajski (UP 12)
48 Christian Kist (DOWN 12)
49 Mark Webster (DOWN 10)
50 Zoran Lerchbacher (DOWN 3)

Saturday 28 July 2018

Matchplay semis - can anyone beat Anderson?

Cullen pushed him all the way, but missed the match darts he had and couldn't get over the line in overtime. Oh well, that would have been an excellent coup, but I think it's just another one where we've been on the right side of the line (Henderson, White, Wilson) but it just didn't come through this time. We just need to find the spots and keep putting the volume in. As of right now, we are down about an eighth of a unit, which is nothing really, up a unit would sound a lot better but that's a width of a wire difference, on such small things can betting results change.

Semi finals tonight, and we'll start with the stats:

Let's start with the first game. Wright's been playing really excellent stuff - you could argue that he's not been tested in any game to date, Klaasen offered no resistence, Huybrechts was OK but just got outplayed, and Whitlock was easily steamrollered after he'd shown no form in his previous two rounds. Suljovic has had a bit more of a test - mainly from White who did well to rally and get back in the game, but Webster was able to keep it down to just the one break of throw at the fourth TV interval before Suljovic pulled away.

Bear in mind that the projections go off won legs. While it's getting closer, Suljovic is still averaging more in the legs where he's lost than the games where he's won. Whether that's enough that the projections would change if we threw in a few more five visit legs that he was otherwise denied by his opponent, I don't know. In this tournament, Wright's won over 20% of his legs in four visits to Suljovic's 15%, and Wright is over two thirds of legs won in "par" of fifteen darts, Suljovic being just shy of 60%. I think that's a key number - Wright should have more explosiveness to outright grab some legs, and Suljovic may end up letting him have some cheap chances to break in five visits, which you feel Peter will take.

It's funny how the projections when using stats for the whole season and then just using stats for the Matchplay are very similar - I think with the model probably underrating Mensur on account of his amazing losing average it eliminates enough of the edge we'd have on betting Wright to make it a no bet situation, but I'm not going to blame anyone if they do decide to go for it - Wright is the better player and Suljovic, for all he's managed to do in his career, is still yet to reach the final of a really big ranked TV event, the European Championship being somewhat down the pecking order, and the other three times (twice in the Grand Prix, once in the Players Championship finals) he's lost. Peter's been there and done it.

Next to the more interesting game. de Zwaan has been the story of the tournament, beating van Gerwen (again) in one of the shocks of the year, then following it up by seeing off another twice world champion in Adrian Lewis who was putting up a great showing himself, and then took apart Dave Chisnall with relative ease, Chizzy having previously dumped out one of the favourites to reach the final in Michael Smith. Anderson has had much closer matches - a tricky tie with Bunting which was only decided by one break, then he needed to come from behind against Barney who, at 9-9, had for all intents and purposes got to a tiebreak (if you win your next two legs you're through, if you split them you continue, it's the same thing really), before the scoring came off and Anderson put in two great legs to clinch it. Then we had the Cullen game which nearly went all the way, we mentioned this one above so let's not repeat ourselves here.

That bottom line of the table should jump off your screens and make you think the master computer is drunk. Remember that the projections come off winning legs - de Zwaan, at nearly 100, has the third highest winning points per turn of anyone in the Matchplay, behind Chisnall, who he obliterated, and Richard North, who won two legs. That's one heck of a display of both scoring power to get into positions, and finishing - checkout percentage is pretty comical but he's hit more than half his doubles. Anderson's only hit 36%. Gary cannot be anywhere near as lax as he has been. On the more advances stats, de Zwaan's hit the same percentage of four visit legs as Wright has, over 20% - Gary's down at one in eight. de Zwaan's got more than three in four legs in par - Gary's down at 68%. The only stat where Anderson is actually ahead (for the Matchplay) is in losing points per turn - by about as much as de Zwaan is leading in winning points per turn. I know which one I think's more important.

We're not going to cliff jump based on de Zwaan being on fire, and it's kind of odd that he's a shorter price today than Cullen was on Thursday, but let's look at the stats from all season. de Zwaan, based off a much larger sample, is behind, but he's not that far behind - the projection thinks he's got more than a one in three shot. If we say that the model is overrating de Zwaan and that it should actually be about 4% less and it is a one in three shot, we're being offered nearly 3-1! You could knock 10% off de Zwaan's winning chances according to what the model thinks and it's still fine to bet him. So we will - 0.25u de Zwaan 14/5. Stick Wright on as a double if you want.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Matchplay Quarters - Nobody wants this title it seems

Smith and Cross go down, oh wow, it's getting a little crazy, as Seal might say. Bets went decent yesterday, de Zwaan and Chisnall clawing back everything that we'd lost in the first round and making White tonight a freeroll, which he couldn't quite manage - going down too far in the middle of the game, eventually getting back all the breaks he needed but seemingly using up everything to do so and letting Mensur grab the break right back immediately and then throw for the game at 10-8. Oh well, it's break even for all intents and purposes. We're down to the quarters - not adjusting my big full tournament simulator for slightly different results, Wright's now the big favourite as far as the whole tournament goes with a 35% shot, while Anderson, fresh through from a surprisingly tight win against Barney, is the favourite to get through the other half and having a 22% shot overall - so not overly appealing at around evens to win the whole thing. Wright being 7/2 seems a much, much better bet. Even Chizzy maybe - I've got him coming through one in six times, and he's as high as 14/1? I really don't know why the bookies all have Anderson so short.

For the quarters, for which I have adjusted for the round 2 games, tomorrow we've got the surprise package of de Zwaan against Chisnall, and the round 2 results don't change this one much (I wouldn't expect a great deal of change in any game now with Barney being out), Chizzy's a bit over 60% to take it. The market has Dave at 4/6, so let's move on.

The other game in the half is Anderson against Cullen, Joe having probably his best TV showing in his career already, at least in terms of the size of his wins. Here I have this a hell of a lot closer than the market reckons - 4/1? Really? I'm thinking Gary's the favourite, let's not get things wrong here, but I've got Joe at over 30%, and it's more or less a freeroll for him at this stage, which always seems like a psychological bonus - at least in terms of the market, Anderson is expected to win the whole thing. I'm not so sure. 0.25u Cullen 4/1, scary thing is that oddschecker reckon the market's getting even more in favour of the Flying Scotsman. What the heck?

Wright/Whitlock's the first game up on Friday, Peter being a solid favourite with the market putting him at around 75%, maybe a touch less accounting for the vig. He was very impressive tonight, at least in terms of the numbers (I was watching, but was so exhausted after the last 48 hours I fell asleep after the first break lol), and there may even be really tiny value in Snakebite - I'm seeing 77%, which means at 1/3, which looks like it's widely available even if some bookies are slow getting it up after the last game today, isn't necessarily something I'd tip, but if you want to put it into an acca, then you wouldn't be making your bet worse.

Last game is Webster/Suljovic, Darren only actually getting four from eleven legs against Cross in par, but he got them - model would suggest pile in on Webster at north of 2s, but as I've stated many times, Mensur does seem to be playing better than the model suggests, and Webster hasn't been putting up quite the blistering form that I think he can do in Blackpool to date. Both made this stage last year, both were able to hang around, I don't know. I think I'll pass it.

Monday 23 July 2018

Matchplay day 3, round 2 projections and bets

Well, Hendo gave us a sweat at least, but that's an 0-4 run on the underdog bets, the correct White tip clawing back two of those plus change for down a little less than half a unit. Not a bad performance by either, Kim playing very well for a change. Elsewhere, Whitlock was pretty mediocre against a worse North, getting just one leg in fifteen darts but still winning 10-2, Wade/Wattimena was fun with both of them playing decently, while Wright did what he needed to do, not entirely sure how he let Jelle win three legs in seven or more visits, but there we go.

New projections:

It looks to be a two horse race in the bottom half between the 2 and 3 seeds, but White will have something to say about it, both of Cross and Wright gaining 7-8% win chances from before the tournament started. Nobody else on this half apart from White gaining exactly 2% has moved much, it wasn't really likely given their chances. Smith's win chance has more than doubled, Anderson's is about that, Gurney's gained 2% as has Lewis, Chisnall's gained 3%... amazing what one played going out will do. So what does this mean for our betting? Round two starts tomorrow and as I'm at a game tomorrow night I'll do the whole round in one:

0.25u de Zwaan 9/4, sure there's always a risk that it's a bit after the lord mayor's show, he did go out to Hogan after beating MvG in the UK Open, but he's been playing decent enough all season that he's very live against Lewis here, who needed every leg before the tiebreak to see off Wilson.

0.25u Chisnall 21/10, Chisnall didn't need to do much against Keegan, but what he did was exactly the same as what Smith did - both of them getting one twelve darter, five fifteen darters and the rest in six visits. As you can see above, Chizzy's been doing just about enough to get up to near a 40% shot at Smith here (as these have gone off a race to 13, if it is race to 11, it may well be at 40%) so being given greater than 2/1 I think we go with it.

Gurney/Cullen's very close to our projections so we'll move on to Anderson, Cullen would have the tiniest of value but it's not much, neither played that great. The Ando game is again close to our lines, Raymond dropped in a lot of head to head win chances due to his tiny sample size, only three legs in a par of fifteen darts isn't really much to worry Anderson.

Wright/Huybrechts is nearly a bet on Wright but I can't get excited about a 3/10 offering, that's 77% against our line of call it 81%. If money comes in on Kim after tonight then maybe, Kim's had a test and Wright really hasn't. Whitlock/Wade has Wade as a slightly shorter favourite than the model is suggesting, then again Whitlock played crap tonight and Wade didn't, so that's enough for me to ignore.

0.5u White 7/4, that much is obvious. Mensur's projections have improved following his solid win over Beaton, but not by that much, White got more legs in par than Mensur did against Hopp. Finally the Cross line looks too close to bet, Webster 4/1 would be half tempting but he didn't set the world alight against Lennon whilst Cross was excellent against King.

That's it for now really. Be back Wednesday I think.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Matchplay day 2

So Ian White came home, although it was a bit closer than I'd have hoped, but both the underdogs never really got going - Beaton fell into a 2-0 hole and was never really able to threaten the Suljovic throw, while Anderson managed to get 6-1 behind before half trying to get back into it, then missing a dart for a 118 out and that was that - Barney managing to serve out from there with two twenty dart legs. It wasn't pretty. Anderson actually managed more fifteen dart or better legs than Barney did. Oh well. Henderson can still get us into the black tomorrow at least.

Was a pretty uninspiring day throughout - just looking through the games, Webster was gifted quite a lot by Lennon, and will need to step it up in the next round, White was able to put the foot down after being broken with a solid five leg run winning four of those five in fifteen darts, Price showed little signs of life, Cullen not doing anything outstanding to get 7-0 up, West's going to have nightmares about that match for years, he completely outplayed Gurney (West had seven of his ten legs in par, Gurney three from twelve), Gary was competent, just waiting for Bunting to go off the boil, while Cross just murdered King from leg five onwards, that huge out just before the end of the first mini session being a punishing blow when King'd have thought he'd get a shot to go 4-1 up with two breaks.

Adapting the overall win percentage model from a few posts ago, Cross's win now makes him a solid favourite up over 22%, with Smith and Wright at 16%. Ando's now up to 11% with nobody else even as high as 8%. Smith therefore looks to be the amazing each way play at tens, he's only that low on the projections as the model thinks Chisnall will knock him out four times out of ten, get through that and who knows? That White is still available at 50's is astonishing.

All of the results are into the computer, once tomorrow's done I'll reproject all the games, give bets and post updated overall stats. Should be good.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Oh my god what the hell just happened

To exaggerate a metaphor I used on Twitter earlier, that's not just put the cat amongst the pigeons, that's created a special statue which is the equivalent of Mecca, waited for all the pigeons to congregate, and then nuked it from orbit to be sure. van Gerwen's gone and now nobody knows what the fuck is going to happen. I've not recalculated win chances for future games incorporating tonight's results (it wouldn't make much difference anyway), but the overall win chances from a couple of posts ago now says that Smith, Wright and Cross are all within 1% of each other in the 17-18% range. Interesting that Ando's still south of 10% but is now the bookies' favourite at 4's.

I didn't watch any of it, it seems as if my life isn't too short to go and watch pre season 0-0 draws in Mansfield, but it was nice to see Wilson giving Lewis a great run, but from 7-3 up you've really got to close the game out. It needs to be done. Got to think that the three missed darts from 16 to make it 8-4 was the key. I did mention on Twitter that in leg 9 it was nice to see that he went for 20's straight up on 132 with Lewis on an out, but then again I didn't take into account the possibility that he just had the line perfect on the first dart but overcooked it. Can't immediately find the game on Youtube, but while looking it was fun to see this in relation to the match:

Glad that his insight is being appreciated worldwide

Thursday 19 July 2018

Matchplay bets

Let's look game by game in running order:

Lewis/Wilson - Only conceivable bet here is on James with the market making this around 75/25. Lewis has a bit of a lead in terms of averages, but it's mainly due to the ones he's lost - on the legs they've both won they're pretty similar, although Lewis has more on a better clip of 58% won compared to 53%. Wilson's been knocking on the door this year though - four quarters and a semi isn't bad form at all. Seems like a value bet, i.e. one that we make even though it'll probably lose, although likely not as often as the market suggests - 0.25u Wilson 31/10

Chisnall/Brown - This is one where psychology might come into it given Brown's head to head record. Their respective won/loss records are very similar but Chizzy's doing both sides much better than Brown is. A line of 70/30 doesn't look too far off where things are at, there might be tiny value in Keegan but I'm thinking to avoid it.

van Gerwen/de Zwaan - Jeffrey has done it over this distance and over this opponent this year. It's a question of whether van Gerwen will want the revenge win, which he usually does, this could easily end up being 10-1, 10-2 if he wants it to be. de Zwaan's cooled off a little bit since winning that title, which removes any tiny edge I think there might have been.

Smith/Clayton - A standout tie of the round, Smith's fresh off of a TV title (albeit about the most worthless one available) while Clayton's got a Euro Tour win and is playing at a better level than he's ever done. Smith should win this but Clayton is not without chances, albeit the chances look to be at around exactly what the market thinks, so nothing here.

Webster/Lennon - Closest game in the market so far, which has it with Webster a shade over 60%, I've got it a bit tighter but it's always hard to say how a player will do on debut at a venue, although that didn't seem to be a problem at the worlds for Steve. I'm thinking the experience of Darren could come into play here just enough for this not to be a bet, should be an entertaining game regardless.

White/Hopp - Ian's finally got the Hopp hoodoo off of him, and that should be enough. White's floor game is one of the best in the whole PDC this season, and despite Hopp having claimed that Euro title, his numbers simply are not convincing, this looks like a great spot for the English veteran - 1u White 8/15

Price/Cullen - Bookies have this one even. How will Price's injury hold up over a longer game? It's a good question, I've got the two of them evenly matched, with Price having the slight edge - assuming both are 100%, that brings in enough uncertainty. It might even be a Cullen bet if you must bet - if Price is going to win then you would think he'd have to get it early rather than let Cullen hang around, and Cullen is certainly good enough to do so.

Gurney/West - Line looks plumb here. I've got West at 32% and he's 9/4. It's probably underrating West and overrating Gurney as there is a large consistency differential (Gurney's losing average is over six points lower than his winning average, West's is only about two and a half), but I'm not sure that West will be able to put in enough quality legs to get through this one.

Suljovic/Beaton - Mensur's rated at more than 3/1 on, which seems really high to me. Beaton picked up a bit of form in the last events going in with two semi finals, Beaton has beaten Mensur every single time (although most of these games are really old and not relevant), and the projections have this quite close - that said, the projections don't take into account Suljovic averaging two points more in the legs he's lost than the legs he's won. He's really been on the end of having his opponents nick legs where he's been in good spots to take it, we saw that in the Premier League as well. I'm going to trust the model small with 0.25u Beaton 17/5, but I don't think our edge is anywhere near as large as what the numbers state for reasons mentioned above - they probably don't translate to Mensur winning nearly 80% of the time though.

Anderson/Bunting - Line looks alright here. Ando's rated in the very high 70%'s on the market, which is a bit too short for me to consider, looking at Bunting I don't think he can bring the good legs that he has shown on and off throughout the season quite enough to beat someone of Anderson's quality over a race to 10. It could happen but I'm not going to put money on it.

Cross/King - A similar line here, which looks close to perfect - I'm getting Cross at 75% which is offering little in value. Maybe King has a shot, 7/2's a big number in a two horse race when you add in he's won a tournament for the first time in ages, but I'm struggling to call this value, Cross is playing better than the amount of titles he's won suggests.

van Barneveld/Anderson - Really hard game to read because Barney's played next to none of the circuit again, we don't even have any World Series exbos outside of the one in Germany to look at. The model is making Anderson a slight favourite - Barney's scoring a lot more in losing legs but they're extremely even in every other aspect, although Barney is on an extremely limited sample (every other player here has won three times more ranking legs than he has). I'm tempted by another small nibble, Anderson's not really lit the stage up this season but he is certainly live here, 0.25u Anderson 19/10.

Huybrechts/Henderson - A fairly close game on the market, the stats of these two look very alike with Hendo having small edges in most areas. Huybrechts will be under pressure to break the god awful run he has had on TV of recent (outside of the UK Open in any event), while Henderson's under a bit less pressure. John's going to have to throw well, but it doesn't take much for Kim to go missing either and help him out - 0.25u Henderson 7/5

Whitlock/North - Richard was the last one in and it's hard to really recommend anything here, even despite Whitlock having been really quite average since the first 2-3 weeks of the Premier League, although he did reach the final in Copenhagen fairly recently. North's only had one really good run this year and that was four months ago at this stage, I've got things closer than the bookies suggest but I just can't see North getting home.

Wade/Wattimena - 2/5 Wade seems a bit short given the form that Jermaine has been showing, but I've said a few times that Jermaine has got quite a lot of wins through just taking what's been given, something that Wade's an expert at and this seems like a really awful match stylistically for the Machine Gun, factor in that James has now been chucking in some good five visit legs with more regularity and the line makes more sense, the model has it at around 70/30 so nothing of value here.

Wright/Klaasen - Can't see any way for Jelle to win this. His pattern in many games has been to look OK to decent for 5-6 legs then fall away. Against weaker players in a race to six he might be able to get home, if he leads Wright 3-2 at the first break he'll still need another seven legs. Even at 2/9 this is closer to a Wright play than a Klaasen play, although it's the sort where I think a fairer line is 1/5, so I'd just add this into an accumulator if you're having one and you can't go wrong.

And that's the lot. Usual White play and then four underdog punts of differing degrees, let us gogogo.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Projections done

Just posted this up on Twitter. Make of it what you will. Needless to say that the model loving White and hating Suljovic due to White being really good and Suljovic running incredibly cold in ranked events as far as stats are concerned makes White look incredible given that they're in the same section of the draw. Will post up some bets later in the week for the individual games, but if you like an each way punt, I really do think you could do a lot worse than go with Smith at a widely available 33's, or White at widely available 100's (125 on Stars but I'll be damned if that useless site gets a cent of my hard earned cash).

edit - It's actually a bit unclear on the actual format of round two, I've seen both a race to 11 and a race to 13. These are based on a race to 13, but it's not going to alter the projections more than a fraction of a percentage

Saturday 7 July 2018

Matchplay initial stats and thoughts

Some initial early level stats for you. The draw was made on Thursday, so just the 24 hours after it was initially reported to be done, I'd assume the PDC are still within SLA's on that one. The stats should speak for themselves, as ever I'm calculating the averages per turn, not three times per dart, the total line is summing everything for those players in the Matchplay, it's not a PDC-wide or full database stat. The quality leg ratio is something that I've done before - it basically assigns you a point if you finish a leg within fifteen darts, three points if you finish a leg in twelve darts, and then takes a point away if you don't finish within eighteen darts, and it's the number of points a player is getting every 100 legs won. Finish every leg in bang on 15, score 100 on this.

So what of the draw? First thing is that top half looks unbelievably stacked. You've got Lewis as a 16 seed, the top three ranked players from the Pro Tour, Smith as the 9 seed, Anderson and Barney in one eighth of it... whoever comes through this half is going to have earned it.

Looking game by game, van Gerwen/de Zwaan is immediately interesting on account de Zwaan having knocked van Gerwen out of the previous major over a length of match that is the same as what the Matchplay is. I've just shoved their names into the master computer and it's reckoning that de Zwaan would win a best of eleven 24% of the time, obviously that will go down over a longer match, but a possible path of de Zwaan, Lewis, Smith and Anderson just to reach the final really doesn't make me want to pile in at odds on for van Gerwen to win the title (at the best odds, I wouldn't touch the 4/6 offered in some places with a barge pole). Lewis/Wilson could be an interesting one if Wilson can bring his best game, they've played once this year (in the Pro Tour where Lewis lost to Mansell in the final) with Lewis extending the head to head to 3-0, but if Lewis keeps playing the way he has been doing of late he should be fine. Remember it was this event last year where he had his only real good run of the season.

Chisnall/Brown I think is one of the games where it's most likely the seed goes out, although Keegan would need to overcome a comical 0-11 head to head record against Dave, but some of these have been close - the last two being deciding legs (earlier this year on the Pro Tour, but then back to 2016), a 11-13 turnover in the second round of this event in 2015 and that 14-16 loss in the Slam in 2014. Smith/Clayton's another interesting one, Smith should be the stronger player and Clayton can think himself unlucky that he didn't get an easier draw as I think he'd be very much live against a lot of the weaker seeds, they've not played this year, the last meeting coming the week after Clayton won his first title, but Smith's won every match to date.

Gurney/West is a tricky one potentially, West won the last match in Gibraltar 6-1 but Gurney easily won the only TV meeting in Dublin 16, West having the old beat Phil then go out next round ├╝berbok go against him. Price/Cullen if I recall rightly was the closest match at the bookies (let's check, I do, it's a flip and only two or three more are as close as 1/2 for the favourite), they've split their series this year but both went to deciders, Price nicking the semi in Austria where he lost to Clayton in the final. If it stays close will the injury become a factor?

Anderson/Bunting has the potential to be good if we get good Bunting show up, Ando's had a bit of time off so it's always hard to call how he'll play, but despite them seemingly playing every week in the first two years after Bunting moved over, including Anderson winning 13-8 at Blackpool, they've not met since 2015. Barney/Anderson is an even tougher one, with Raymond playing even less than Gary does to the point where he's now dropped out of the FRH top 20, he's won the last four head to head including at the last worlds and Grand Prix but is only 6-5 all time.

Wright/Klaasen is first up in the bottom half and this seems like the worst possible draw for Jelle, he really, really needed to find someone who'll take legs off so that he has a chance when he inevitably throws duds himself, that Wright's on an 11 game winning streak against the Cobra is ominous. Huybrechts/Henderson could be good, both liking a 180 and both capable of widely varying outcomes, they've never played on TV but Hendo has a 9-3 head to head lead, including six from the last seven.

Whitlock/North could be one to miss, Simon's not been doing that great statistically all year, while North was the last man in. North won their first two meetings last year but then went out pretty easily in round two in Dublin. Wade/Wattimena could go any way really, if Jermaine shows up then he could grab a lead, if we get the Jermaine doing a bunch of legs needing six visits to win, then Wade could just do Wade things and get 8-2 up at the second break or something like that. Wade's got a 2-1 lead but it's their first meeting that isn't on the floor.

Suljovic/Beaton was looking like it could have been a bit one sided, but Steve's got a little bit of form back of late. Then again, Mensur did get another Euro Tour win recently. Their head to head record is a bit shocking - while most of it is back nearly a decade ago from the days when they had Pro Tour events on the continent, Beaton leads 8-0! The winner will play one from White/Hopp, this looks like a good spot for White to make a run and push for a Premier League place in this match between players with ranking titles to their name this season, that said, before last weekend White had never beaten Hopp, losing their first five meetings, and how Hopp will react in his first major after finally winning a title remains to be seen.

The remaining section has Cross/King, with King getting his first title in years recently, giving him the same number this season as Cross, but Rob's quietly been putting together good numbers without getting quite the results to show for it, so I'd have thought that Cross should outlast the guy he beat to win his first main tour title. Then again, King's won the two matches they've played at the highest level they've met (the European Tour), including the one in Denmark just two weeks ago. Last match is Webster/Lennon, Steve's managed to battle to the level where he can get in these things, so he's not under immediate pressure to win stuff to maintain a ranking, whereas Webster's just got into the seedings and could do with a run if possible. The market has this pretty close, and if they've met before, it's only the once and dartsdatabase can't find a thing.

Over the next week I'll start doing some proper previews, rework the master computer to calculate Matchplay-length matches, use those projections to get some bink the whole thing percentages, all the usual stuff. We've only got some meaningless World Series stuff which we can safely ignore (the important bit of Jeff Smith qualifying for the worlds aside), and I've got the day after the semi final off which I can put to good use for that. Be back soon.

Monday 2 July 2018

Matchplay field - what's being defended

It's of interest to some people I guess, while the FRH rankings have everyone defending, at most, four grand due to their sliding scale compared to the PDC good for two years then drop off a cliff, it may be useful for some to see what's at stake, so here we go in order of qualification:

Michael van Gerwen - title (100k)
Peter Wright - QF (17.5k)
Rob Cross - DNP
Gary Anderson - SF (27k)
Daryl Gurney - L32 (6k)
Mensur Suljovic - L16 (10k)
Simon Whitlock - L32 (6k)
Dave Chisnall - QF (17.5k)
Michael Smith - L16 (10k)
James Wade - L32 (6k)
Ian White - L16 (10k)
Gerwyn Price - L16 (10k)
Raymond van Barneveld - L32 (6k)
Darren Webster - DNP
Kim Huybrechts - L32 (6k)
Adrian Lewis - SF (27k)

Jonny Clayton - DNP
Joe Cullen - L32 (6k)
Stephen Bunting - L32 (6k)
Max Hopp - DNP
Mervyn King - QF (17.5k)
Jermaine Wattimena - DNP
Steve West - DNP
Steve Beaton - QF (17.5k)
Kyle Anderson - L16 (10k)
James Wilson - DNP
John Henderson - DNP
Keegan Brown - DNP
Jelle Klaasen - L32 (6k)
Steve Lennon - DNP
Jeffrey de Zwaan - DNP
Richard North - DNP

So only 20 players are actually defending cash, that's a fair bit of churn. Those that aren't here to defend, in FRH ranking order, are Phil Taylor (50k), Alan Norris (6k), Benito van de Pas (6k), Justin Pipe (6k), Robert Thornton (10k), Vincent van der Voort (6k), Brendan Dolan (10k), Mark Webster (6k), Josh Payne (6k), Robbie Green (6k), Jamie Caven (6k) and Terry Jenkins (10k). The highest ranked players in the FRH rankings that aren't on that list are Reyes, van den Bergh, Dobey and Dekker, nobody else is above the lowest ranked player (de Zwaan) in those rankings.

Draw should be out on Wednesday, so given the PDC's notoriety for delaying such things, I'll be back at the weekend with initial thoughts, and later, previews.

Sunday 1 July 2018

Hamburg review - the resurgence of Irish darts

So van Gerwen won again, not too much of a surprise, White had half a chance at the upset if he could have timed a twelve dart leg perfectly in leg 10, but the 100-140-137 which would have set him up beautifully for a 124 stab was sadly preceded by a 24, so van Gerwen was able to kill things off. Willie O'Connor was the beaten finalist, and let's have a think about what the Irish, from both sides of the border, have done in the last twelve months. Daryl Gurney won a major title, got into the Premier League, and wasn't far off making the playoffs. Mickey Mansell has won a Pro Tour title. Steve Lennon and now Willie O'Connor have made European Tour finals. Brendan Dolan is showing signs that he may be able to resurrect his career, with decent showings indicating that he should at least be able to get back to the worlds, if nothing else. Further down the pecking order Jason Cullen's managed to win on the Challenge Tour and gain experience at the full PDC level that way. Killian Heffernan looked like a very useful prospect in the BDO youth and hopefully we will see him in Development Tour events sooner rather than later. Kyle McKinstry has been looking competent on the BDO side, and Nathan Rafferty knocked Peter Wright out of the UK Open, has won on the Development Tour and will certainly be one to watch out for.

Andy Boulton managed to edge out Gerwyn Price, don't know how, he seems to have had every opponent simply buckle and let him win easy legs until he ran into O'Connor, while Stephen Bunting was the other semi finalist and must be getting confidence from keeping putting runs together, even if he isn't getting over the line in them.

Matchplay field is now determined, Richard North's got to have been thinking about putting a few quid on O'Connor in the final as insurance, but he's there, as are Lennon, de Zwaan and Klaasen. Seedings look like the draw will be (assuming all seeds win) van Gerwen/Lewis (oh wow), Chisnall/Smith, Anderson/van Barneveld, Gurney/Price, Wright/Huybrechts, Whitlock/Wade, Cross/Webster and Suljovic/White. That van Gerwen half is ridiculously stacked, it's unbelievable. If van Gerwen wins it back he'll definitely have earned it.

New FRH rankings:

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

Barney will almost certainly be out of the top 20 come the Matchplay as Bunting is less than 200 points behind him and has actually played ranking darts matches in the last three months. Klaasen's stopped the rot and passes Jamie Lewis for #24, Pipe's back in the top 30 over Wattimena (for now), while O'Connor gets himself just one place outside the top 50. Boulton's just in the top 75, Lowe is in the top 110 and chasing down current #100 Adam Hunt who's less than 2000 points ahead, Rowley's up in the top 120 and Darius Labanauskas is your #128, and if we had a big tournament seeded via FRH rankings, would see him play MvG in round one. That'd be a fun one.

We've now got a bit of downtime before the Matchplay. It's the Vegas event next weekend, which'll be interesting for the US readers and could give some hints as to who's doing alright there (I can't remember if the new PDC worlds setup means someone can directly qualify through the various events this week, we'll see), then it's Shanghai the week after. I'm very, very tempted to run a Matchplay fantasy comp where you might be able to win some tat, I'll see after I've got various World Cup commitments out of the way. Stay tuned!

Hamburg quarter finals

Lowe couldn't get it done, no real complaints there, Price showed up and for an underdog pick to win you usually need some combination of the favourite not playing quite as well as they can, nothing you can really do when they do hit their stride. Klaasen looked really bad after having a promising day one and two, the Pipe/Bunting quarter was a little bit weird but nothing incredibly strange, the rest seemed to go as expected.

I posted up projections on Twitter earlier - 0.1u White 5/1 looks to be automatic, he's at the level right now where he clearly wins this more than one time in six, the projections get it at nearly one time in three with van Gerwen being the 68/32 favourite, White's done it before at this stage, heck, the last two times they've met in Europe it's been the quarters and White's won both. Bunting/Pipe looks to be priced about right, Bunting's 4/6 and I've got him in the low sixties at 63/37, so nothing to rush to the bookmakers with here. Price, as mentioned, looked good against Lowe, while Boulton advanced without needing to do a thing against a poor Jelle Klaasen who was averaging sub-80. Boulton did have another nice twelve darter to win it and added another couple in fifteen or less, but it's still worse than Price did and nothing really threatening. I've got Price over 70% for this, 2/5 or 4/11 or there abouts looks like it would be a better line than it is, I'm not sure that 4/9 is really enough, I don't know when Price got his injury but it looks like it was after Gibraltar, since then we've not seen how it will react to two games in a day. Enough to avoid it. Last game looks like a good O'Connor value bet, 0.25u O'Connor 13/5, while the model has been underrating Suljovic for a long time, it's getting O'Connor up at nearly 40% to win, he doesn't need anywhere near that much for this to be value. Mensur looked good earlier, but even taking that into account I think we still need to bet this one.

Hamburg day 3 - so close!

Marijanovic gave us a decent sweat, didn't he? Getting a match dart and everything after getting into a 4-2 lead, got to say fair play to Gurney for slotting in an 11 dart leg against the throw where it counts to make it 4-4. Elsewhere, van Gerwen allegedly hit a nine dart leg, White beat Hopp as you would expect, while Lowe missed one dart to end it at 5-4, meaning that he'd have to survive three match darts against Clayton, but did so, so the end result for yesterday is pretty much bang on break even, give or take a hundredth of a unit. Looked a lot better than it did after Thornton won the decider against Wilson (who if he could have killed the last leg in fifteen darts, would have won), Cullen beat Schindler in what looked like an awful game and then Huybrechts edged out Dobey to critically eliminate Norris from the Matchplay. The qualifiers for that are set unless we get a really, really weird champion here to knock Richard North from the last Pro Tour spot, it's been calculated by Burton already so read his Twitter if you want to see more including the seeding situation, I won't repeat it here.

Of the other people that advanced, again, nobody was really killing it apart from MvG, O'Connor looked good again in rallying to beat Rob Cross from 4-2 down with four straight legs, Klaasen looked good in places to eliminate Smith, other than that, I don't know. Rowley looked alright in upsetting King I guess? Bottom half is wide open anyway.

Today's games - van Gerwen/Thornton's about the same price as van Gerwen/Joyce was yesterday, read what you like into what that says about Thornton (or, for that matter, Joyce). This should be routine but I can't see any solid value.

White/Webster is one we've seen three times on the floor this year and White leads 2-1 (it's 7-1 overall), for some reason I thought they'd met in Europe recently, I guess not. White's about a 60/40 favourite which is exactly where the model has things, so let's move on. This is in match and hence draw order, so whoever against van Gerwen in the quarters should be live and maybe worth a tiny punt.

Cullen/Pipe is seen at around 65/35 on the market, there may be tiny value on Joe (I'm getting him at winning a fraction more than two out of three), but that he got dragged into multiple comedy legs yesterday is a worry, he won those but might not today if it repeats. Watch him just roll Pipe 6-1 with all legs in fifteen darts now.

Gurney/Bunting will play the winner of that one after Daryl edged out Marijanovic as detailed above, while Bunting also went the distance with Labanauskas, just about having the better quality and getting a 14 dart kill on throw in the last when it mattered, but that wasn't a game for the ages. This is priced fairly close, Gurney 8/13 and Bunting the reverse, that may be slightly undervaluing Superchin but not by enough for me to start betting him. If you want an acca for fun then you could do worse I guess.

Klaasen/Boulton starts the second half after Jelle eliminated Michael Smith, while Boulton beat Steve Beaton without having to win more than one leg within fifteen darts to do so (a twelve darter with a 121 bull finish in the tenth leg to win it to be fair). It's a big chance for both of these, the market seems to have quite a lot of vig on it, so while betting on Klaasen would be horrible, going on Boulton isn't appealing either. If money comes in on Klaasen and Boulton drifts to 15/8, 2/1 say then go ahead, but right now there's not enough edge to start punting on someone who's won just two out of twelve legs in a par score against a classier player who looks to be trending upwards.

Lowe/Price - will we have the hat trick of bets? Price wasn't massively troubled by Langendorf, but both then and in midweek hasn't thrown anything hugely threatening. While it's working, keep doing it - 0.25u Lowe 23/10, this seems to be another 60/40 or so game ignoring any form/injury issues, so I think this looks good.

Suljovic/Rowley is obviously the second most one sided game on the market with Mensur at around 1/5, there's a fair bit of vig in this market again, not even being able to get 4/1 on Rowley, who you would think could just be happy to reach this stage. Don't want to get into psychology when we can get into numbers, I'm getting Rowley just short of 25%, so if there was value then it'd be here, but it's nowhere near enough to consider a bet.

O'Connor/Huybrechts is the last game of the afternoon, Willie's been one of the stand out players so far, and the market's respecting him, making this around 55/45 in favour of the Belgian. I also have Kim as a small favourite, it's even smaller than the market suggests, so while there's a good argument to make that we should bet O'Connor at 13/10 when the model's giving him about a 47% shot and he's on form, Huybrechts is one of those where he may see that there's a very good chance to make a final here and up his game.

That's just the one bet. It's a bit sparse but sometimes there's just nothing there to be interested in. Should be back for quarter final tips, I plan on watching Spain/Russia at home so should be able to shove the afternoon session into the computer, look at the odds and give some quick analysis. May rework the master computer to make it more efficient, I also intend on updating the Second Division Darts page right now.