Thursday 18 October 2018

Outright betting for the European Championship

This is something I've briefly touched on before I think, it may even have been the exact same sort of post. Michael van Gerwen is a current best price of 10/11 to win the European Championship. The question is whether this is value or not. My initial assumption would be no, if only because his half of the draw is absolutely brutal - let's look at a best and worst case scenario for each round, and then see what chances the master computer thinks he has of binking the whole thing. Bear in mind that, in order to make a profit, van Gerwen needs to win the whole tournament 53% of the time.

Round 1 - Paul Nicholson

This is clearly a best or worst case. While Nicholson certainly isn't the hardest opponent he could hope to face, the first round is just best of eleven. Anything can happen in a best of eleven format. It was only two years ago where van Gerwen himself was a dart away from elimination against Simon Whitlock. The computer thinks that van Gerwen wins this match 83.93% of the time. That's already eating over 14% of the 47% that we can afford to give up - mostly this is the format, if these two met in round two, van Gerwen would be over 90%. In this format he's lost this year to Schindler, Razma, Dolan, Clayton, White, O'Connor... would Nicholson really be that odd?

Round 2 - Steve West/Mervyn King

Now we come onto games where we have a choice. These two, if they faced, would project to see King win 51% of the time, so let's say King is the worst case scenario. Here, in a longer format, van Gerwen wins 87.94% of the time - but 87.22% against West? That's a strange one, but we'll roll with it - that now makes van Gerwen 73.2% or 73.81% to make the quarters depending on his opponent. That's already more than half our wiggle room gone and we've not even hit a top ten player yet!

Quarter final - Simon Whitlock/Peter Wright/Jermaine Wattimena/Steve Beaton

Pretty obvious worst case scenario here, and that's running into Snakebite, who having not won one of these where they got shared about quite a bit, finds himself as the number 9 seed. While Wright's managed to get some key wins, he still is a big dog, with van Gerwen winning 74.41% of the time. What of the best case? That'd be Jermaine, who van Gerwen projects to defeat a whopping 91.64% of the time. It's the first one where we have a bit of deviation, in the worst case, van Gerwen's now down to 54.47% in a worst case - considering that rounds one and two don't have much deviation and Wright is surely a huge, huge favourite to make this stage, this is also the most likely case if you ask me. In a perfect world for MvG he advances 67.64% of the time, just more than two in three - a fair bit better, but still with plenty of early exits.

Semi final - Ian White/Joe Cullen/Michael Smith/Rob Cross/Danny Noppert/Steve Lennon/Jelle Klaasen/Richard North

Boy, that's a fun section. If all those top four advance to round two, the remainder of this quarter will be must see TV. The big danger here ought to be Cross, who van Gerwen in a now longer best of 21 format, defeats 72.97% of the time, but oddly enough Smith actually beats van Gerwen a bit more often, van Gerwen winning that one 71.37% of the time. Smith's actually averaging more on the winning legs than Cross is, oh boy. White would also have better than a one in five shot at him. Best case? Klaasen and it's not really that close - van Gerwen should beat Klaasen 95.61% of the time. This leaves him in the final 64.67% of the time given the easiest run, but 38.88% of the time given the worst run out.

Final - Anyone else that's left

We've already mentioned the vast majority of the FRH top 10 that are actually playing this - it's only Gurney and Suljovic that aren't there, with Price, Webster, Chizzy etc just outside, Lewis is there as well. It might surprise you to learn that Dave Chisnall has the best chance of beating MvG, with van Gerwen only winning 76.27% of matches, it might also surprise you (or not, depending on how much you read here) to see that Max Hopp would be the best opponent, who van Gerwen ought to beat 95.02% of the time.

So what's our worst case scenario? van Gerwen lifts the title 29.65% of the time - which makes a fair line somewhere between 9/4 and 5/2. In the best run, he takes the crown 61.45% of the time - around 8/13 being the right price. His actual chances are obviously somewhere in the middle, but they're going to be weighted fairly strongly towards the better run - he'd have to do well to avoid Wright, avoid all of White/Smith/Cross, then avoid all of the decent players listed in the final. Let's just say I won't be lumping on van Gerwen to lift the title. Nicholson at 10/1 to win the first round though? That's a tempter...

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