Monday 31 December 2018

The evolution of the 132 checkout

I'm bored and can't be bothered to work out a race to Ally Pally 2020 to see what Barney needs to do when Burton will probably do the maths tomorrow for us, so here's a no content post

We have a final

Somehow taking Smith each way to win back in June is half way there, as he's come through the unpredictable half of the tournament, while van Gerwen came through the predictable half, the only unpredictable bit being which of the two obvious picks made it out.

van Gerwen reached here by defeating a bitterly disappointing Gary Anderson, who after hitting a pearler of an opening leg, proceeded to be unable to find his range on the treble 20 for the rest of the night (although, oddly enough, he did end up with as many maximums as van Gerwen did), the only question in the game being whether van Gerwen would whitewash the twice world champ - Gary did scramble home in the sixth set but that'd be all he got.

Smith was also looking like he'd be as easy a winner, rolling to a two set lead in about ten minutes, but Aspinall pressured him well and levelled things at two a piece, briefly threatening to take the lead in sets having broken in set five, but was immediately broken back - Aspinall left 47 after nine darts in the deciding leg with a maximum, but Smith took out 93 on double nine (a target which he hit four times out of four apparently, hopefully causing the subject of the previous title of this blog's head to explode and cause Sky's commentary team to double in quality overnight). Aspinall levelled again at 3-3, but back to back four visit legs in the eighth set to get the break would be the critical moment, Smith showing no signs of finishing line nerves, closing out with a twelve darter and 121 out.

It's Smith's first major ranking final. He's made the Premier League final this year, but that's not ranking, and he's won a World Series event this year, but that's neither ranking nor major. Those two events make up part of the nine games they've played this year - obviously they split those two (Smith beating van Gerwen in the Shanghai semi final), but van Gerwen comprehensively won their two Premier League meetings in the league stage, dropping only three legs, van Gerwen won their most important meeting this year in the Grand Slam, albeit by a much closer 10-8 scoreline with Smith pushing all the way, while they've met four times in lower events - twice on the European Tour, Smith losing 7-0 in Sindelfingen and 7-2 in Göttingen, but in UK Open qualifiers Smith only dropped one leg in the quarter final on the way to victory in the event he won, while van Gerwen defeated him 6-3 in the final two days earlier.

I can't see any profitable bets here, leaving us down around half a unit, which is somewhat miraculous given the beats we've taken. So that means that I'm thinking van Gerwen should win, but Smith is not a complete underdog and will have his chances. How is Smith going to win this? Firstly, he's got to keep playing at the level he has been doing in this tournament. He's playing a fair bit better than he has been doing all year, and he needs to keep it up. Secondly, he mustn't panic if van Gerwen plays something like the peak van Gerwen that we have seen in this event and over the past few months. If van Gerwen starts chucking in four visit legs left right and centre, Smith just needs to keep plugging away - it's perfectly possible that van Gerwen does this for seven sets, ends up with a 110+ conventional average and it looks like a Manley-esque final result. If it does, there's nothing Smith can do about it - Smith just has to concentrate on playing the best darts he can, and hope that the quality that he has doesn't coincide with van Gerwen being unplayable. Thirdly, and this should go without saying, he can't allow van Gerwen anything cheaply. He needs to find his scoring power early, and if van Gerwen's going to break, he has to force van Gerwen to do so in twelve darts. If he can just slot in a fifteen dart leg every time on throw (easier said than done, I know), then he's going to win most sets - sure, van Gerwen will chuck in a twelve here and there, but he can't afford to have too many zero-treble visits, and can't afford to not take out doubles when presented the chance. Finally, he's got to try to pressure as much as he can - even if it doesn't result in legs and sets on the board, he's got to put himself into situation where if, say, van Gerwen doesn't kill in his first four visits, Smith's got to be down on 61, 96, those sorts of numbers where he's saying to van Gerwen that if you miss, I can hit. Sure, van Gerwen's probably not going to miss, but keeping on doing that leg in leg out will mount up at some point. He can't fire in a 100-60-100-60 leg and not leave himself a shot.

What would van Gerwen need to do to win his third title? Simple - keep doing what he's been doing. He's the best player in the world, he's a better player than Smith, and he's playing the best darts he has been doing for quite some time. If his level doesn't drop, then over the course of thirteen sets he's simply going to get more chances than Smith will do, and that'll convert into the seven sets he's been wanting to get all year.

This should be a great final between two players that could easily be a staple part of the Premier League for the next twenty years - it'll be played at a good pace which ought to suit both players, I think the only way it'd disappoint is if van Gerwen roars out of the blocks into a 4-0 lead and Smith's head drops, but I think the way that Smith is playing that we're not going to see that happen. I think it'll be a 7-4 scoreline or there abouts (don't read that as a suggestion or tip, we don't do correct score betting here), we might even see a nine (don't read that as a tip either).

Sunday 30 December 2018

Semi final previews

After an anti-climax of a quarter final day, first the key numbers on the semi finals:

First game is Smith/Aspinall. Smith had what turned out to be a routine win over Luke Humphries, clocking up a 103 conventional average with blistering power scoring allowing Michael to get away with a relatively poor (at this level) checkout percentage. Aspinall had an equally easy win over Brendan Dolan, doing just enough in the scoring stages to pick up some easy legs and stepping in when Dolan missed a few doubles early to get a lead, Brendan not really having enough scoring to threaten any sort of comeback.

This is a big ask for Nathan, Smith hasn't shown any weaknesses to the extent that Aspinall will be able to capitalise, he's winning more legs, winning the legs faster and has twice the rate of hitting a twelve darter - if Aspinall is able to get a good timed leg to nick something, chances are Smith will return the favour twice as much. Michael's been deep into these sorts of events enough now that he should be able to get a lead and maintain it, I think Nathan's only real chance is to be able to come absolutely flying out of the blocks and open up a 3-1 lead to ask questions, Smith should still answer but if Smith's able to hold a lead after four sets it's going to be very difficult for Aspinall to come from behind.

The second game is the one we've all been waiting for. van Gerwen was only really threatened by Joyce up until midway through the fourth set - van Gerwen however found the key eleven dart leg when it mattered the most to grab the throw back in that fourth set and hold out for a 3-1 lead, Joyce not really finding scoring at all after that point and only picking up a couple more legs in the rest of the game. Anderson had easily his best performance so far, hitting twelve maximums, over half his doubles and was easily in three figures for the conventional average, Chisnall not having too many chances whatsoever.

I can't see how Gary's able to win this match. van Gerwen has just outscored him so comprehensively that there'll be a point where van Gerwen either grabs the game by brute force, Anderson misses a couple of key chances or half chances that he'd need to take to stay in the game, or van Gerwen takes enough of the same. There's also the nagging question of whether an even longer match than before will tell on Anderson physically, this isn't the sort of game where Gary is going to storm into a 4-0 lead, he's going to need to grind it out. 1u van Gerwen 3/5, that looks an excellent price for someone who I'm thinking wins the game three times out of four.

Saturday 29 December 2018

Quarter final bets - or lack of them

First game up we have Brendan Dolan (earnings in two years prior to this tournament - £85k) up against Nathan Aspinall (earnings in two years prior to this tournament - £55k), playing off in a match where the winner will take home a six figure score. That's unbelievably huge inflation when you consider that just five years ago, you only got that for reaching the final. Then again, five years ago van Gerwen beat Gary Anderson on the way to winning the title, Devon Petersen made the last sixteen, so has anything really changed? Obviously the previous posts indicated what the projections were, using the whole season sample size - over this tournament, Nathan is heavily favoured - he's scored three more points per turn than Dolan has, is finishing three out of five legs he's won in par while Brendan's below 50%, although if we filter since the Matchplay, Brendan reverts to being a slight favourite. With the market saying 8/11 Aspinall and the season long stats thinking that he wins this slightly more than 60% of the time, I'm not going to bet this one - it's unchartered territory for both (I don't think that making the Grand Prix final is on this level really, heck, Dolan's made more in this tournament than he made in that one already) so there's a lot of unmeasurable things going on here, it's an experience against youth game, anything might happen.

Second is Dave Chisnall against Gary Anderson, Gary running out quite a solid favourite despite needing deciding sets in both of his previous round games, whereas Chizzy didn't drop a set in either. The year long projections say Chisnall wins this around one in three, so 5/2 is possibly tempting but I'm going to need more than that to go against Anderson. First thing to consider is that he's been complaining of a back issue. Whether this is going to severely hinder his game against someone who should be a lot fresher is debatable, but it doesn't need to drop off much at all to start to become a real problem. Secondly, what's the form like? Since the Matchplay, Gary rates to win the game 85% of the time, which is not a good sign for a potential Chizzy bet, but just in this tournament it's 55/45. Dave has played very, very similar darts to Gary so far, although due to the speed of his last couple of wins he's played less of it. Chizzy's winning a slightly higher percentage of legs than Gary has, against what I'm thinking is similar opposition, if not stronger (Burness/Wattimena/Dobey vs Payne/Huybrechts/Lewis looks close to me). They're both finishing around 10% of their won legs in 12 darts or better, both in the mid-60's in finishing in 15 darts or better, their averages when not winning the legs are separated by less than a point. Gary's slightly better in each category - but not by much. I suppose it comes down to a gut check - Gary's already come through two very tight matches, and Chisnall's doubling, while a lot better in the first two rounds, dropped a bit against Lewis, and in a match where you think he is going to need to take some chances where he only gets one dart at a double, you don't really want to have to fall back on what's historically been his weakness. I'm going to no bet this, but I really wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being close.

First in the evening is Luke Humphries against Michael Smith in an epic beard on beard encounter, Smith got past Ryan Searle fairly comfortably, while Humphries shocked the world in coming from two sets down to dump out the defending champion. The market is saying around 75/25 Smith, slightly closer actually, is this fair? I'm thinking it's not underrating Luke's chances for sure, if anything it might be the other way around. Season long, this isn't close - Smith is rated over 80% over the full database, but as I alluded to in the preview of the Cross game, Luke has played his best stuff over the latter portion of the season. Just looking at statistics since the Matchplay, Humphries' winning chances seem bang in line with the market, Smith projecting to win 72% of games. Just in this tournament, however, and Smith's win chances drop further, still more than two in three but under 70%. The two key areas where Smith's outperformed Luke in this event are in power legs - he's second out of the eight remaining players with 15% of legs won being in twelve darts or better, where as Luke is less than half that, and consistency - Smith's not let himself (or not been allowed to) take more than 18 darts for any leg that he's won, Luke's been given five legs by the looks of things in more than that, although they're earlier in the tournament and his figures against Cross were spectacular. This gives Michael a couple of points over Luke on the tournament overall points per turn metric, their scoring when losing being virtually identical, which ought to be enough. No bet again, there's enough in more recent games to negate the season long stats saying to bet Smith, Smith may easily be thinking this is the best chance he'll ever have to make a world final, which would be incredibly dangerous thinking. Luke clearly isn't going to care about that - but then after beating Cross will it all be a bit of a comedown?

Finally we've got Michael van Gerwen against Ryan Joyce. I'm not going to speak a whole lot about this, and I'm going to spare analysis of just how well van Gerwen has been playing until the semi final - or so I hope, the year long stats aren't even in van Gerwen's favour as much as the tournament stats for last year's Lakeside were in Durrant's favour and we all saw what nearly happened there. Joyce has won ten more legs than van Gerwen, but he's only won eighteen legs in fifteen darts. van Gerwen's won 31. van Gerwen's finishing over 27% of all legs he's won, and over 18% of all legs period, in twelve darts or better, and in the tournament has nearly 13 more points per turn than Joyce. I've bet a lot of underdogs in this tournament, but this isn't going to be one of them, even at 1/25 it's nearly a van Gerwen value play. Heck, if you look at just the scoring in this tournament, the master computer gives Joyce a one in five thousand chance. One thing that people might be interested in is correct score betting - what chance a 5-0 victory? It's more or less evens, slightly on the right side of evens for the punters. Fortunately the master computer has set winning chances built into it, and season long, van Gerwen should win 84% of sets on his throw, and 73% of sets on the Joyce throw. It's easiest to look at the chances of MvG to get to 4-0 up, and it's not even 40%. So don't bet on the 5-0 guys.

Friday 28 December 2018

Michael van Gerwen has a 141 and two thirds chance of winning at Ally Pally

The numbers don't lie, and they spell disaster for everyone else at Ally Pally. Bets and further analysis in the morning.

Worlds last 16 - Bottom Half, now sadly featuring Devon Petersen and Benito van de Pas

We're now about a 6/1 double away from that being a quarter final, jesus christ

(2) Rob Cross (1/4) v Luke Humphries (10/3)

It was one hell of a break between Cross taking down Jeffrey de Zwaan on the opening night in what was until yesterday the match of the tournament (Anderson/Dobey being one hell of a game and is must see TV), but there was no real sign of any rust developing as Rob strolled to a 4-0 victory over Cristo Reyes to book his place in the last sixteen. Luke Humphries, having come through an extra match and not starting until three days after Cross did, has had a bit more rhythm to his appearances, taking out Adam Hunt with relative ease, putting up an extremely impressive display to defeat a resurgent Stephen Bunting, before taking down a hit and miss Dimitri van den Bergh to reach unchartered territory. Rob's been the standout performer along with van Gerwen in the games he's played so far, winning the vast majority of the legs he's won in double quick time (it's bang on an average fifteen darts per leg) and still averaging over 97 in the legs he's lost for a 99+ overall points per turn so far, only van Gerwen is that high and nobody else breaks 94. Luke's not played bad at all, but is only just in the 90's for points per turn. The season long projections echo the line quite tightly - 1/4 Cross implies a bit less than an 80% chance once you take out the vig, over more recent projections Luke has more of a chance, rating at better than one in three, which makes sense if you think that Luke's best run apart from here came in the last Players Championship event, so while you might think that Luke could be value, Cross is playing too well. I wouldn't be surprised if this remains somewhat close and Humphries can nick a couple of sets, but with winning the throw making such a huge difference in correct score/handicap betting I can't suggest anything, one break of throw for Cross could be 4-1 or 4-2 dependent on who wins the bull.

Ryan Searle (9/2) v (10) Michael Smith (1/5)

The other game in that quarter sees Ryan Searle take on Michael Smith. Searle had a comfortable opening win against Stephen Burton, before surviving a Suljovic onslaught in the opening set to take the chances he was given and grab a big upset victory. Willie O'Connor would be his last 32 opponent and couldn't score enough to really threaten Ryan who's now in or close to the top fifty in the world, which given three months ago he was probably losing his tour card is remarkable. Smith's not been firing on all cylinders, taking out Meulenkamp first up without looking impressive while doing so, before being given a tough test by John Henderson yesterday, going 2-1 down in sets which all went to a deciding leg before running 9 from 10 to get home. Searle really has nothing to lose and for Smith it's mostly a case of not doing anything stupid - if he can get through this he'll face probably Cross for the right to be a huge favourite in a World Championship semi final regardless of opponent. Searle clearly can't be taken lightly given he's beaten a player ranked higher than Smith already, and I think I read it similarly to the Cross match - Searle taking a set or two wouldn't be a surprise, the projections point to tiny value for Ryan but not enough margin to go for the underdog. Smith's performance between rounds 2 and 3 trended up, and he seems to be having a lot more maturity in terms of getting wins when he should do over the past year or two.

Nathan Aspinall (4/7) v Devon Petersen (6/4)

In the bottom quarter, or as we like to call it, the wide open omnishambles quarter, former world youth finalist and Pro Tour winner Nathan Aspinall takes on Devon Petersen, who's single handedly sending me to the poor house, I think that rather than being down 10% on investment, if Jones had pinned any one of the six match darts he had in the opening round I'd be up 15%. Nathan easily dealt with Geert Nentjes before having a cracking come from behind win against Gerwyn Price, and made this stage by taking out Kyle Anderson in a solid game, Kyle didn't play badly, Aspinall just did a little bit better. Devon as mentioned survived a clutch of match darts in a deciding leg against Wayne Jones, before coming from two sets down against Ian White, who was playing incredible stuff in those sets, and then came from a set and a break down to Steve West, who had what was real comfortable scoring and fast finishing both desert him enough to allow the South African back into the game. Now the first question that needs asking is whether the projections are hugely underrating Petersen, and whether him playing terribly for the entire season should suddenly turn around in the course of a couple of weeks. If we look at what he's done so far, he's won less than half of the legs he has won in fifteen darts - people are letting him in. This isn't Petersen playing brilliantly, although in fairness to Devon five of those seventeen legs were twelve darters or better to be one of the few players above 10% in terms of legs won being within twelve. He's still a couple of points below Aspinall on all of winning, losing and overall points per turn in this tournament, and if I ran a projection based just on the 35 leg sample of legs they've each won, Aspinall still rates to win this game 70% of the time - which is more than enough to bet on. 0.5u Aspinall 4/7, I really should go higher but there's intangibles - Petersen's now secured his tour card so maybe the pressure is off, maybe Aspinall realises the huge opportunity that he has and crumbles under the pressure, I can't not bet but maybe being cautious and not going a full unit is appropriate.

(30) Benito van de Pas (15/8) v Brendan Dolan (8/15)

And so we come to our final game, and the highest seed left in this quarter was the lowest seed at the start of the event. Benito van de Pas overcame a dramatic fight against Jim Long, who missed a match dart, and then got by a deeply disappointing Toni Alcinas yesterday to reach a couple of rounds further than many pundits thought he would. Dolan is doing the same, with many people thinking that he'd easily beat the Chinese qualifier Liu, which he did, but then turned over an out of sorts Joe Cullen, before getting into a bit of a slugfest with Mervyn King, which didn't see fireworks, just plenty of "proper darts" from both players with Dolan racking up twelve legs in fifteen darts or better. If you'd have asked Brendan whether he'd be a near 2-1 favourite in the last sixteen three weeks ago, he's probably have laughed at you, but here we are. We should sanity check the Benito stats, given that like Petersen we've gone against him in all his games (although the Long game was a throwaway micro punt), so let's do that. Dolan, over the 29 and 33 leg samples that they've put up, actually projects to win more often than over the year long stats. Benito hasn't hit a single twelve darter all tournament and has more than 20% of the legs that he's won being in over eighteen darts - three in each game, you can excuse Long somewhat but Alcinas was letting him off good and proper - if Alcinas converts all of those, he wins the first set 3-1 rather than losing it by the same score, and the second set also goes to a decider. 0.5u Dolan 8/15, this is a good edge and Brendan is exactly the sort of professional veteran that will hoover up the opportunities that the Dutchman will surely give him.

Couple of quick thoughts on yesterday, other than what's been mentioned already - that Anderson/Dobey game was a classic, it's just a pity that Dobey had an off leg straight after the second break that allowed Ando to easily run it off against the darts. I think that coupled with the sorts of performances he was putting up at Minehead and on the floor are those that'll give him the belief that'll push him up into the top 32 and finally not finish on the wrong side of the line for the likes of the Matchplay etc. van Gerwen looked extremely good, Adie didn't do a great deal wrong in fairness and if he had a couple of bounces go the right way in the mid stages of the match he could have kept it a bit more interesting, but you can't do much against someone that wins 12 of 14 legs in fifteen darts, half of those being in twelve. As someone pointed out on Twitter, Adie lost four legs because he didn't throw a nine darter. That's kind of tough to play against.

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Worlds last 16 - Top Half

(1) Michael van Gerwen (1/5) v (16) Adrian Lewis (17/4)

Tough ask for Adie here, who stated he was suffering with some sort of bug prior to his game against Labanauskas, he who knocked out van Barneveld in the previous round. Lewis hasn't lost a set yet but it's fair to say he hasn't really been tested, as opposed to van Gerwen who didn't get things entirely his own way against Tabern, and while he took a big early lead against Hopp, did let the German back into the game with a bit of iffy doubling and it wasn't too far off being hugely different, Hopp missing one dart for the set in the fifth to effectively put things back on throw. Lewis hasn't beaten van Gerwen since 2016 and hasn't beaten van Gerwen in a match of any appreciable length since 2013 when he edged him out in several majors. I really can't see Lewis being able to get quite as many chances to win legs slowly as he has had in the previous two matches, notably against Labanauskas - 1u van Gerwen 1/5, I can't see Michael messing this up although Lewis grabbing a set or two wouldn't surprise at all.

Ryan Joyce (13/5) v (9) James Wade (4/11)

Intriguing game here, as surprise package Ryan Joyce, who really wasn't tested at all until Alan Norris charged to an early lead in the previous round, and who has a straight sets win over someone who is seeded higher than Wade is (albeit it's difficult to argue that Whitlock's actually a better player right now), against the Machine, who's needed to come through two tough games, firstly against Japanese qualifier Seigo Asada in an infamous match which it's best to ignore, and then over Keegan Brown, avenging his first round defeat from last year but not before Wade was stuck in a 3-1 hole, Brown not being able to leave better than 70 on throw after fifteen in a deciding leg, which Wade jumped all over. The line's looking just about alright, the season long figures reckon that Joyce has a bit more chance than the market suggests, but Joyce did much of his best work early in the season so that difference is understandable, and you have to think that Wade will not be gifting quite as many legs in less than fifteen darts. I think the run ends here for Ryan. Probably.

(28) Jamie Lewis (6/4) v (12) Dave Chisnall (3/5)

Jamie's at it again. After a 2017 where he was mostly playing complete junk then turned up hugely in the World Championship, he then had a 2018 where he was mostly playing complete junk and has defeated Daryl Gurney. That was a second straight deciding set victory after a win was ground out against Cody Harris, while Chisnall, whose 2018 has also been somewhat average, was also taken to a deciding set by Josh Payne, Dave needing to come from two behind after Payne won all of the first seven legs. A second round game against Kim Huybrechts was a lot more comfortable with the Belgian not being able to claim a set. I can't see any bets in this one either, all the metrics point to Dave having an advantage, but it's not by a great deal - the line's thinking that Chisnall takes this a little more than 60% of the time, which if you split the difference between the two projections looks to be about right, over the course of the tournament Dave's been better, but not by much, this could be another close one and one that I'm not going to be betting on.

(4) Gary Anderson (1/6) v Chris Dobey (11/2)

Our last game of this half sees Gary Anderson, who was surprisingly made to work against Kevin Burness and needed to survive a match dart against Jermaine Wattimena, who similarly had darts to win two of the other three sets that Anderson took, come up against Chris Dobey, who strolled to easy wins over a disappointing pair of players in Boris Koltsov and Steve Beaton, only to be challenged by an improved Vincent van der Voort, missing chances to take a two set lead and having to come from 3-2 behind. Dobey's actually lost less legs than Anderson despite having played a match more, and the speed of the legs they've won isn't hugely dissimilar, but Anderson could easily be heading that by more - the points per turn he's scored when losing legs is actually higher than when he's won, so it's a case of the other guy grabbing legs by force which Ando may well have turned into a fifteen darter or better. Hard to recommend a bet in this one, Anderson is quite clearly the better player, but Chris has shown enough over the course of the season to suggest he's not drawing completely dead, and if he can slot in some comfortable early holds and maybe fire in a twelve on the Anderson throw, it could get very interesting.

Bottom half analysis will come tomorrow night or Friday morning once we know the last few competitors - reminder that we're already on both of Alcinas and West tomorrow from previous analysis.

Monday 24 December 2018

Clarity of thought 2 - Electric Boogaloo

As we've finally got an off day, I thought I'd highlight a couple of dumb things that I've seen over the past few days. Firstly, from Norris against Lennon:

Alan's had a very good start to the leg to leave 86 after nine darts, and despite a 180, Lennon is not on a finish. Now here, Norris starts on 18's - this is fine, it's the only target (other than a questionable shot at bull) that leaves you a sensible double if you hit. You miss, that's fine, now you leave 68. Now Norris is a tops and 10's guy, so the shot here ought to be treble 16 - leave yourself double 10 if you hit, or single twelve to return on tops if you don't. Or you could go treble 20 for double 4, treble 12 for double 16, there's a bunch of sane ways you can go. Except that Norris stays on 18's. This of course is fine - if you either really, really love double seven, or need to go for the bull - which he doesn't need to as Lennon's not on an outshot, and then he doesn't go for it regardless (I should note that I didn't actually watch this game, and can't verify personally that it wasn't actually a shot at the bull, but questioning it on Twitter someone said it was a setup shot). So why the hell doesn't Norris switch after the first dart if you're not going to go for the bull?

Then we have this piece of genius:

Here we've got everyone's favourite double sixteen specialist Mervyn King getting away with a really questionable piece of shot selection on his leg winning visit. Now I'm not questioning the choice of the initial dart, although that is extremely dubious (and something that I thought he'd taken out of his game, but despite seeming to recall him going the 20's route in some recent game, I can't for the life of me find where it took place) - it's what he does after that. You can dislike tops all you like and love double sixteen all you like, to make that first choice fine you'd better be incredible at hitting double sixteen - and if he is, then surely the play with 64 left is to go double-double? You can't go for a dart to leave a preferred target and then wuss out of shooting at it just because you need to hit it twice, it's more or less the same principle as going for tops-tops if you miss first dart at 100. You've made a statement, follow through on it.

Merry Christmas to all readers, I should be back some time on Boxing Day to look at the first couple of round 4 matches, which look to be the Anderson and van Gerwen games. I'll probably do the other two games that are set up already (the Wade and Chisnall games) simply because it makes sense to do one half one day and the other half once we know who's playing who after the games on the 27th.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Oh my god upsets, panic!

Sure, we've had some high profile players go crashing out in comedy fashion, but can we really call them upsets, or is it just the general population not recognising that there's a great deal of parity in the game today and that the difference between number 6 in the world and number 56 in the world, particularly with the comedy ranking system that we have today, isn't really that big of a deal? I think the latter, seeing how our tips have correctly told us to bet on Wright, Suljovic, Gurney, Barney, Webster and Cullen to go out, but how big a deal is this? Let's plug some criteria into the master computer and see what happens:

Now let's chuck out the last column, as that's a small sample and is going to be heavily weighted to the players that came through the PDPA qualifier and the likes of Burness, Labanauskas etc who otherwise hold a tour card or play in tracked events, but compare those middle two columns. There's really not a great deal between the lower end of the seeded players, and the Pro Tour qualifiers. This makes sense for some reasons, mainly if you are qualifying through the Pro Tour, you are doing well this year, and not qualifying possibly entirely based on what you have done in the past. Sure, if Jermaine had have hit that bull to knock Anderson out, then that's an upset. But a lot of the others can't really be described as hugely shocking. 3/1, 4/1 shots do tend to come in around 20-25% of the time - if they're priced right, if they're not priced correctly, then they'll come in a lot more often.

Some other things I want to touch on - I've been updating the fantasy game spreadsheet after each game (if I'm not at a computer then it'll wait a bit, but it's definitely correct as of right now), but a summary of who's still alive, how many players they have left and who they are follows - * indicates it's not an actual entry:

360 - itskelvinn (4/11 - van den Bergh, Reyes, Alcinas, Petersen)
351* = UNUSEDENGLISHBOT2 (3/11 - Joyce, Aspinall, Searle)
334 - ashley12 (5/9 - van der Voort, K Anderson, Petersen, Dobey, J Lewis)
301* - EUROBOT (4/10 - van den Bergh, Labanauskas, Reyes, Alcinas)
260 - Scothead180 (3/7 - M Smith, Dobey, Humphries)
259* - DUTCHBOT (1/8 - van de Pas)
254* - UNUSEDENGLISHBOT (3/6 - Chisnall, King, West)
248* - IRISHBOT (1/6 - Dolan)
218 - Ra_Z_Boy (3/5 - J Lewis, Reyes, G Anderson)
215 - royalblue (3/6 - van Gerwen, van der Voort, van de Pas)
214 - CyCoSan (4/8 - van de Pas, van den Bergh, Brown, M Smith)
209 - 16redbird16 (4/5 - G Anderson, M Smith, van den Bergh, Petersen)
207 - @warrenallsworth (3/7 - M Smith, Dobey, Brown)
205 - thebigeasy59 (3/5 - G Anderson, Brown, Henderson)
195 - Eric T (1/5 - G Anderson)
194 - aks304 (2/7 - Cross, A Lewis)
184 - erroneous (4/7 - G Anderson, van de Pas, Reyes, Alcinas)
180 - @benonsport (0/7)
165 - BigPoopsT (1/5 - van den Bergh)
164 - Paasei (3/6 - M Smith, Dolan, Petersen)
160 - whatarethebands (2/6 - van Gerwen, van den Bergh)
154 - Jamaleum (3/5 - M Smith, Reyes, Petersen)
147 - slaity212 (2/5 - G Anderson, Wade)
136 - Jebeezers (2/7 - Cross, van den Bergh)
126 - thedinergetsby (2/5 - van Gerwen, Cross, van de Pas)
117* - ANTIPODEANBOT (1/7 - K Anderson)
102 - Wseries (2/5 - Wade, van den Bergh)

Will the teams that loaded up on multiple players be able to hold leads against the teams that went for one or two big hitters? Who knows!

Saturday 22 December 2018

World Championship round 3 projections and bets

There we have it. I've run the numbers, so let's see what we think in terms of bets, we'll go in order of play - we already did Joyce/Norris yesterday and punted on Joyce, so what else do we have?

Chisnall/Huybrechts - I don't think there's much in this really, Dave is projecting a little bit better than what the lines suggest, but Kim played really well in the first round. Chizzy did as well, he needed everything to squeeze out the win over Payne, but I'm inclined not to bet given that Kim's game was almost like a return to the form we've basically not seen all year and the game could be tighter as a result.

Gurney/Lewis - This is actually lining up to be much closer than you might think, Gurney looked close to unstoppable on scoring against Smith, doubling was a different matter, but Jamie's only a point or so behind on year long points per turn, and is hitting a comparable percentage of legs in four and five visits. Sure it went five sets but Lewis was hitting the big scores frequently, and if he can keep up with Gurney, which I think he can, he might be able to cause an upset - 0.25u Lewis 5/2, Jamie Lewis causing a big upset in the round of 32 of a world championship is perfectly plausible.

Searle/O'Connor - One of a few games where we've got no seed at all, Willie taking down James Wilson in a tight one while Searle overcame one of the best sets we've ever seen from Mensur to get a huge turnover. It's more or less evens on the market, so 0.25u Searle evs, he got the bigger win and while Willie was good against Wilson, against Meeuwisse he was somewhat average.

Anderson/Wattimena - Should be straightforward for Gary. I can't recommend betting the Flying Scotsman at double digits to one on, and with the way Wattimena played being what he's done all year, namely just taking a bunch of cheap legs not overly quickly, I can't see how Anderson gives him enough chances to consider the 10/1 punt.

van Gerwen/Hopp - 2u van Gerwen 1/12, Hopp may be able to play well enough to grab a set, but van Gerwen is simply that much better, just look at the graph, it's 97% season long and over 98% on recent form. van Gerwen played excellently against Tabern and I do not see how Hopp will be able to hit enough of his good scoring legs or huge outshots often enough over a race to four sets.

van der Voort/Dobey - Another game where the bookies can't separate them, so it's a case of whether you favour a large sample, where I'm seeing Dobey coming out slightly on top, or a smaller form based look, where Vincent, who's been looking great so far, rates to be a strong favourite. I'm leaning the former, Dobey's not exactly been playing bad himself over the last couple of months, but if you want to ride the Dutch train while it's still going then I won't blame you.

Dolan/King - Another close one in the market, and another one that differs wildly when you compare all form, where King's a lot better, or more recent games, where it's Dolan who ought to take it. It's 5/6 King which offers a little bit of value on the former, but I can't pull the trigger, King seemed to be running out of steam a little bit later in the game, this one is longer, Brendan's not going to go away. Will avoid this one.

Wade/Brown - 0.25u Brown 14/5, the game of Brown's against Klaasen went as expected, Keegan will need to up his game a bit, but over the course of the year he's not that far off Wade, who really should have been out against Asada, and with Wade maybe not being in the greatest of places he may not produce quite the game needed. There's a consistency issue in this one, Keegan does throw in some bad legs so the difference between winning and losing averages is about twice that of Wade's, but I can't see how that'd bump Wade's win chances to the near 75% they need to be to not bet on Brown here.

Lewis/Labanauskas - I think Darius' run probably comes to an end here, the compilers have this as a 75/25 game in favour of Jackpot, who saw off a decent performance from Ted Evetts in straight sets. That's where I see things more or less as well, over recent games we don't have a great deal on Darius, it's just this and a couple of Euro Tour events, so I'm not reading a great deal into the projections thinking this is going to be tighter just looking at those matches.

Aspinall/Anderson - Nathan pulled out a big shock coming from two down to defeat Gerwyn Price, and is priced (boom boom) as a 60/40 dog to Kyle Anderson, who was a bit fortunate to get past Noel Malicdem. Kyle's play was good enough to make me think he's on good enough form that we can go 0.5u Anderson 8/13, he's rated as much higher on the season long performances and we see it so often where someone gets a big breakthrough win just like Aspinall has, only to go and underperform in the following round.

Cross/Reyes - Really not much to see here, Rob is a big odds on price, and while there may be a tiny bit of value I'm not going to chase it, there's been enough from Cristo to make me think he has a small chance to get things done.

Petersen/West - 1u West 5/11, Steve looked good in taking down Richard North and I'm going to keep betting against Petersen until he goes away. The season long numbers speak for themselves and Devon will surely not be able to pull off yet another miracle over a longer format this time.

van den Bergh/Humphries - Dimitri's second game was much, much better than his first, not giving Clayton much of a chance, while Luke took down Stephen Bunting with a comparable performance. There might be small value on Luke, year long there's not much there but on more recent form he's up around the 40% mark which makes slightly better than 2/1 half tempting - if Dimitri didn't look like he's clicked into gear.

Smith/Henderson - Don't see any great value, Smith took care of Meulenkamp with the minimum of fuss, while Henderson needed everything to get past Gabriel Clemens, this will probably be a game too far for Hendo, 4/1 seems an accurate appraisal of his chances.

Alcinas/van de Pas - 1u Alcinas 8/13, the tiny sample on Benito over recent games is a bit of a concern before you look at that it comes from more or less six good legs out of 100 played, over the course of the season Toni's been so far superior that I can't see how he doesn't get into a lead and hold it, when you can get this price on any top 50 player against someone who conceded a match dart to a Canadian qualifier you have to take it.

And that's the lot. Norris appears to have flown out of the blocks so let's see if Joyce can halt things at all.

Friday 21 December 2018

Day god knows summary

Pretty quick, I'll be back in the morning with hopefully a round 3 megapost, but for now let's look at the Friday games.

Benito against Jim, good god, I was absolutely right to bet on Jim just based on Benito not being good, Long upped his game a bit and pushed him all the way, but got his one match dart - and missed. That's 4/4 for players who missed match darts and lost that I've bet on, this is much fun. Next was Hendo against Clemens, by all accounts it sounded like a good game (I was at work, so was listening to Mason and Nicholson etc on Talksport 2, if you've not listened to it and think darts doesn't work on radio, give it a go - it's not bad at all), some big scoring, some big outs, I don't think anyone could see a clear edge for either player and it went to the last set, value was had. West/North in the compass point derby followed, Steve got home fairly comfortably, North showed in flashes but West seemed a bit better, hitting multiple big outs on top of hitting high scores, he does seem a real threat. Kyle Anderson against Noel Malicdem ended the session, Kyle came through, although despite Kyle putting up what looked like real good numbers on paper, Malicdem pushed him incredibly hard and showed exactly what he can do, continuing a trend of the Asian qualifiers performing really well. Maybe if he could have held out the first set after pinning two huge outs the game might have ended differently.

Ian White. Good god. If another player in any tournament costs me more money than Devon Petersen for the rest of my life I'll be stunned. I'm pretty sure I'll be piling into Steve West next round, but really? Really? I'm just glad that he'd already fucked up his Premier League spot. Klassen against Brown at least pulled something back for today, it wasn't pretty, but it went something like was expected - Jelle kicked off alright but then faded and the other guy came home. Then Aspinall didn't just blow up the bottom half, he nuked it from orbit by defeating Gerwyn Price. Nice stuff, should have trusted the model and bet it. Then we had Dimitri returning to form after a questionable opening game, eliminating Jonny Clayton by bagging a nice early lead, not being able to do much in the second after Clayton found form, then nicking a third then turning on the afterburners in the second half of set four to get home.

The bottom half is such a trainwreck now that there's only two seeds in the top sixteen left in Michael Smith and Rob Cross - oddly enough the only two players I have money on each way for the title. We're going to have one of Aspinall, Kyle Anderson, Petersen, West, Alcinas, van de Pas, Dolan or King being a world championship semi finalist.

Only going to pre-emptively add 0.25u Joyce 5/6 against Norris, it looks about 60/40, nearer 2-1 on recent form, I don't think Alan's "form", if you can call it that is sustainable. I'll get to more in the morning, but for right now we're down a third of a unit, which considering the amount of really marginal stuff and other comebacks we've been on the wrong side of, seems almost like a relief.

Thursday 20 December 2018

The fat of the land

Well, that was a strange day in terms of the bets. Have Lennon miss match darts, get dragged to a deciding leg by Norris who's playing his only good game all season, Lennon wins the bull then Norris throws in a twelve darter, Beaton can't score and loses to Dobey, Rowby chucks away a two set lead, then Ryan Searle gets us out of it partially by beating Mensur Suljovic who threw six maximums in four legs in the first set. How odd. As ochepedia pointed out, we've now had three players this year miss darts for the match and go on to lose - Jose de Sousa, Wayne Jones and Steve Lennon - no prizes for guessing what the common factor in those matches was. Still, I think I heard Searle using Breathe by the Prodigy as his walk on, if you use van Gerwen's old walk on then you might play like him to. Maybe that's how it works.

Tomorrow we round off the second round. Eight games up - we've already looked at van de Pas/Long and I don't want to look at it again, second game is Hendo/Clemens. Gabriel was clinical in finishing off Aden Kirk who really looked a bit out of his depth and not in form, and I more or less can't split the two. The bookies can't either, so let's move on to West versus North, we looked at this one earlier and thought the 4/7 West line was close to on the money, so next up we have Kyle Anderson kicking off his campaign against Noel Malicdem, who got past Jeffrey de Graaf in what was a fairly sluggish game. That's obviously all the data I have on Noel, he was doing OK without de Graaf helping to boost his average at all, but nothing to really think that he can trouble Kyle, and the line of 1/5 Anderson reflects that.

In the evening we start with Ian White against Devon Petersen. In the season long stats I'm seeing this as nearly 97% for White. 1u White 1/5, Devon didn't do anything against Jones to make me think anything different is going to happen rather than what should have happened against Jones, but with White being a slight bit shaky on stage over the past few months I'm just going to go with the solitary unit. Klaasen/Brown we've done and we're on Brown for half a unit, we then get Price against Aspinall, Nathan beating the Dutch youngster Nentjes in straight sets on Tuesday, looking pretty good outside of a couple of trainwreck legs which dragged the whole standard down. Nathan's been playing well all year, has won a title, and his stats aren't that far behind Price's at all. Even if you filter down since the summer break, where Price won his Euro Tour event, his major title and has been over his injury, Aspinall is still better than one in three to win. That said, the market isn't quite as all over Price as I thought they might have been and the best price we can get is 13/5, which I honestly don't think is enough. The last game is a mouthwatering tie between Jonny Clayton and Dimitri van den Bergh - Dimitri is installed as the favourite, which seems counter-intuitive given Clayton is the seed, has won a bigger event this year than Dimitri has, and that Dimitri really didn't play well against Puleo at all. The projections agree though, but they don't have the Belgian anywhere near as far in front as is needed to consider a bet, and over more recent form it looks more like a coinflip game. So the only thing we're adding is an expected punt on Ian White, which I think everyone saw coming a mile off.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

40 yard screamer then hit the bar

That seems like a decent summary of today's betting. We nail the Dolan over Cullen punt perfectly, god knows how the game actually looked, I was at work, but 3-0 is kind of comical, then we just miss out on the Asada over Wade upset, oh well, Seigo's done himself incredibly proud and certainly booked himself into an invite for the Asian stages of the World Series tour... oh.

Elsewhere today, Aspinall beat Nentjes comfortably, de Graaf didn't show up at all and while Malicdem needed to work he got there in the end, Huybrechts rolled back the years to obliterate Larsson, Wilson ended up on the wrong end of a very good showing from O'Connor, Whitlock basically failed and Smith was given an alright test by Meulenkamp but got through.

It's all a bit rushed, but tomorrow we have:

Wattimena/Barnard - Michael didn't play great in his opener which seems quite a long time ago now (think it was Friday?), it was about 64/36 before kickoff and 65/35 now, edging a bit more in Wattimena's favour on a more recent sample to more than two in three. With the line running at 1/2 Wattimena, I won't be punting on this one. Looking at the recent sample, gun to head I'd go Jermaine given the model has tended to underrate him slightly, but there's no guns here, so it's fine.

Norris/Lennon - I do hope to got that Steve puts Alan away as he should do and doesn't have some crap legs as he's shown on occasion over the last month or two, this is more than a 70% shot for Lennon, and if you go since the Matchplay it seems a virtual lock, although Norris has only won fifteen ranked legs in that timespan. 0.5u Lennon 4/7, winning's a habit that Norris doesn't have since forever. His penultimate result in the Players Championship was a 6-0 turnover. To Benito van de Pas.

Bunting/Humphries - Bookies have this fairly close, probably based on Luke looking very impressive in dispatching Adam Hunt, probably his best televised performance, albeit on a small sample. Season long I'm seeing 55/45 Bunting, but it's more like a 2-1 advantage of late, which makes sense given that Stephen had his best TV run right before here (although Luke also had his best floor run right at the end. No bets here.

Beaton/Dobey we covered already and are on Beaton, so Reyes/Rodriguez - if anyone's brave enough to touch this given how inconsistent both players have been for the entirety of their careers then good luck to them, the general line seems about 60/40 in favour of Cristo, which is a bit more in favour of the Spaniard than I was thinking, looking at roughly 55/45 year long - although over the last few months it's probably looking even better for Rowby, despite that being the timespan where Cristo's had his one key TV result. 0.25u Rodriguez 13/10, his figures were good in the opener and like in that game the pace should suit him, it's not the greatest play in the world but I think there's enough edge all things considered to go small on it.

King/Dekker's even more of a layoff for the round one winner than Barnard, as such we've already taken a gander at it, same with everything else for tomorrow evening actually, so we've just got the two add-ons for tomorrow's matches. A betting update as I think it's needed - we're up just over a unit on a 12% ROI, I don't know why I feel disappointed, I guess it's just because the ones we did lose have been completely brutal - the Jones missed match doubles (can I write it off as a scratch if I said I bet on Paddy Power where they refunded it as a free bet?), the Mansell non-performance, Asada pushing Wade to overtime today, de Sousa hugely outperforming, if just one of those hits we're crushing the tournament. Still, let's not get greedy, shall we?

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Day 6 roundup

That was good from Gurney. Smith missed a couple of chances but was never really going to generate enough with the way that Daryl was playing. What else did we have today?

Daniel Larsson kicked off with a bit of a surprise over Robert Thornton, don't think anyone doubted he could play but we just didn't know a huge amount at the top level. First set was scrappy, a couple of 180 flashes and a 125 out being the exception rather than the rule, second set was an improvement from both with more maximums from each side and a nice 106 out, Larsson should have cleaned the set up but missed five for it in the decider. Third set was all whoever hit a maximum for the first three legs before Thornton missed one dart to break in the fourth leg and Daniel stepped in, and he took the fourth set from behind as well, Robert missing two set darts in leg four. It's not bad, and he'll certainly be live tomorrow afternoon against Kim Huybrechts.

Rowby-John Rodriguez took out Ricky Evans next, first set being pretty tidy from both with only the one leg going over 15 darts, the Austrian nicking it in a decider, Evans equalised in the second with a fourth leg break after Rowby's scoring deserted him, he got an early break in the third set, second leg was a bit of a clownshow which Rowby took, Ricky had a dart at bull in the third for a 126 but missed and Rowby stepped in, both hitting 180's in the leg, then Rowby stole a poor leg to clinch the set. Third leg of the fourth set was fun, scoring going 180 Evans - 180 Rodriguez - 124 out Evans, but Ricky missed two set darts in the fourth and forgot how to score in the decider and Rodriguez advanced. He'll be back against Reyes on Thursday night and has got to have a chance.

Seigo Asada came from two sets down to beat Krzysztof Ratajski, missed darts getting him in a 2-0 hole in the first, he pulls it back to two each but Ratajski nails a fifteen darter to break with Asada waiting on tops. Solid second set from the Pole, three legs in five visits getting it done, which is what Asada does in the third as he ups his scoring. First three legs of the fourth set are all breaks, Ratajski pinning a 110 for his and Asada punishing missed doubles for his two, a steady fourth leg levelling the match, Ratajski breaks in the decider to open but then can't finish 204 in six darts and it's back on throw, Ratajski should break straight back but missed one at bull and then one at double two and Asada goes a leg away, and Seigo hits his best leg of the match when it counts with three successive two treble visits and then 96 in two darts to win. Great comeback, and if I thought Krzysztof was a slight favourite over Wade on the projections then Seigo has every chance.

We finished on Vincent van der Voort winning eight straight legs against Darren Webster, the second leg of the first set being the only one the Demolition Man won, and that was a 22 darter. Not really much to say about this one, Darren missed nine darts at double but five of them were in that one leg he won, he just really couldn't score heavily enough, and it wouldn't have taken too much as Vincent wasn't a great deal better, both averaging below 88. He'll get the winner of Beaton/Dobey, which should theoretically be an easier game but he'll have to play better.

Steve Lennon easily shrugged off James Bailey, 3-0, the Australian never really doing quite enough in any aspect to create enough chances. He had some half chances in the opener after taking the first leg, but missed big numbers at key points in a couple of checkouts to deny himself a shot, the second set was probably his best chance, missing three clear at 40 in the first, levelling in the second, getting the fourth in a mutual horror leg after Lennon took the third well, but his scoring abandoned him in the decider after a 140-100 opener, only hitting one big treble in the next nine darts to let Lennon hold in six visits. Lennon opened up a 2-0 lead in the third, Bailey stole one back after Steve missed six match darts, but Lennon left 57 after twelve and cleaned up in the next leg. He'll need to tidy up some of these bad legs, something he was doing at times in Minehead as well, but against Norris it may not matter anyway.

Ron Meulenkamp gave us our second comeback of the day against Diogo Portela, the Brazilian storming to a two set lead, Ron with a combination of some missed doubles and failure to score at key spots, a crucial pairing which did not help at all. He kickstarted things just in time, a 180 and 124 out in the third leg of set three to break, and then a 140-180 start to the next to hold in thirteen darts. Ron started adding a bit more power scoring and Diogo's composure seemed to go a touch, but Meulenkamp still needed to break in the deciding set, and a twelve dart leg in the third leg was the key moment as the Dutchman sealed it out, not before missing seven match darts. Ron's got Michael Smith next, and it's hard to see Michael letting Ron back from a two set deficit.

Dimitri van den Bergh easily shrugged aside Chuck Puleo in straight sets, it was an instantly forgettable game as Dimitri never really got out of second gear, an 85 average being enough, the only real highlight being a 144 out in set three when Chuck was threatening to break the van den Bergh throw. Chuck had occasional moments, a 180 in the first leg would be his only one, but a 102 out and a nice fifteen darter in the third set were good arrows from the American, he just couldn't really get the extra trebles when needed and missed some doubles when it mattered, particularly in the last leg where he missed two set darts at D16. Dimitri's now got Jonny Clayton and will need to up his game very quickly.

Finally we had Daryl Gurney overpowering Ross Smith, Smudger wasn't awful but Daryl hit six maximums, it was only Gurney's doubling that gave Smith some chances, he missed one dart in the second leg which would have seen him take the opening set if the other legs went the same way, the second set basically ended it as Smith botched an 81 out to leg Gurney break straight up then missed a stack of darts to win the second and one to win the third, he was too far behind then and didn't get another dart as Gurney hit a 180 in each of the three legs in set three to clean the set in just 41 darts. It looks ominously good form and he shouldn't have trouble getting as far as Anderson if he plays like this. It's also pushed him above Peter Wright to #4 in the FRH rankings.

Tomorrow we've got Cullen/Dolan, Huybrechts/Larsson, Wilson/O'Connor, Whitlock/Joyce, Smith/Meulenkamp and Wade/Asada to look at. We've not looked at any of these yet but I'll need to be quick. I think Dolan's worth a stab. He didn't play great in beating Liu, although he didn't need to, and the year long stats probably weight Cullen's mediocre floor form too much, but Brendan's above 40% against Cullen for the year, and over more recent games he appears to be playing the better darts, so 0.25u Dolan 11/4, Cullen you sense is the sort that might bin it after a draw opens up for him, which is exactly what has happened here.

Huybrechts/Larsson, I really don't know. Larsson played fine and Kim's not exactly been playing great all year, but we're only getting 2/1, I think there's a possibility he can repeat but it's hard to quantify with how little info we have and the price just isn't right.

James Wilson should come through, but O'Connor is definitely a live dog here. He'll need to improve from what he showed against Meeuwisse, but he has a chance. It's not one I want to bet on though, the market is fairly tight with Wilson at 8/15, and I've got him at 63%, so I can't really see an edge.

Whitlock/Joyce has opened up quite a long way in favour of Whitlock at around the 75/25 range. Season long this is an easy Joyce bet, and while he did a professional job against Dobromyslova, it wasn't that impressive statistically and his more recent form isn't that great, which swings a 65/35 in favour of Whitlock season long to 82/18 since the summer hiatus, so no bets here.

Smith/Meulenkamp is priced as if it should be one sided, and I'm reading the same in a similar way - Smith easily in the eighties in win percent chances, with Ron at 9/2 that looks to be pretty plum. I think the real interest is to see how Smith steps up given how he's also in the half of the draw that always looked a bit weaker and has just lost Peter Wright, in terms of how he looks to try to make a final. He's in the tougher quarter, but he's got to get through this game first.

Wade/Asada? Seigo looked good. Seigo beat someone that I projected to be more or less a flip with James. Seigo is 5/1, and that makes little sense to me. 0.1u Asada 5/1, only that small given that we don't have a huge amount of data on Seigo outside of the Asian Tour, and as I've mentioned a few times I don't think any of them there have been playing that well, but you don't beat Ratajski and then come in at that price. No way.

Rare non-worlds related post during the worlds

So, on the day that Asada surprised Ratajski, and on the day after Ilagan did respectably well against van der Voort (a hell of a lot better than Webster did anyway), the PDC sneaks out their World Series schedule:

Now what the hell is this? You've introduced an Asian Tour which is allowing for a lot of players in that region to try to develop within what is still a fairly small pond, but what's the next logical step up? Well, it'd be qualification or invites to the World Series when it pops into your respective area. So, naturally, four years after they bin off Singapore, two years after they bin off the Japanese event and a year after they bin off the Dubai event, they now bin off the Shanghai event, instead just concentrating on a huge cash cow in Germany (because we clearly don't have enough events in Germany), one in Vegas and then three in the Australia/New Zealand area.

OK, they've not actually announced how they're going to sort the competitors in these events, and the door is open for them to give a couple of spots to Asian qualifiers and/or expand the events a little bit, although scheduling them all for two days seems to rule that out I'd guess, it's an incredibly dumb step back. The whole point of this series is to breed the sport in developing areas - so Asia is the logical place to go. The sport is already thriving in Germany and has been down under for years. USA seems fine given how that area's dropped since the Part/Butler peak in the mid-nineties. Would it really hurt just to have the one Australian event and have one somewhere we can see all the players that are lighting up the worlds right now?

Also can't agree with having the European qualifier for European Tour events now being split with a huge chunk of the places going to tour card holders and only two that associates can hope to win. It's just further ringfencing the tour as a whole to Tour Card holders, a system that I'm not a fan of at all. Think about when they have the early qualifier for Zwolle - exactly how many continental non-Dutch tour card holders are going to be competing for six spots? If Hopp's still up in the seeds it's Huybrechts x2, Dimitri, Schindler, Alcinas, Reyes and Clemens of those that are retaining their cards, Marijanovic, Justicia and van Baelen who are in the second year of their card from 2018 Q-School, and whoever gets through 2019 Q-School. That's ten players for six spots - is it that unreasonable to think that if there's, say, ten Euro spots, you get Harms, Veenstra, Hendriks x2, Razma, Labanauskas, Asada, Larsson, Mandigers and Unterbuchner come through - of which only Unterbuchner would be eligible to play that qualifier, giving someone a bye into the event. Why try to fix something that isn't broken?

Monday 17 December 2018

Chumbawamba status

RIP the world championship career of Raymond van Barneveld, 1991-2018. Because unless Barry starts throwing out unprecedented wildcards that he's never done in the past, or unless Barney decides he's actually 35 again and plays the tour with a vengeance, he's done. He's just far, far too far behind on any sort of ranking system to qualify for next year. It's sad that it's going to end like this, but it is what it is. And as we bet on it after that debacle of the Jones/Petersen match, I actually feel somewhat upbeat. It's 0.3 units in the black rather than 2 units in the black if Wayne had have hit any of those match darts, oh well, we're somehow still actually up for the event.

Tomorrow the new games are Webster against van der Voort, and Gurney against Ross Smith. Vincent against Ilagan was a really good game, credit to Lourence, he did an awful lot better than I thought he would have done, and also credit to Vincent for riding the storm and getting through when it really didn't look like he would have done, but for doubles this could easily have been a reverse result. The market's saying 8/13 Webster and 8/5 van der Voort, which is understandable given their relative positions in the world rankings and performances in major tournaments (Webster been good, Vinny been at home). This seems a bit harsh on Vincent, on the year long stats it's closer, and there's not an inconsistency issue there either, if anything it's Webster that's been more inconsistent. The year long says 55/45. The truncated post summer break sample says that van der Voort is a favourite, and better than a 2-1 favourite. Given that everything is in his favour and he looked really good under what was pressure from Ilagan, I'm going to take the stab at this one - 0.25u van der Voort 8/5. Love Darren, he's one of my favourite players, but if you see value you grab it.

On Gurney versus Smith, before this event I was seeing the game as 65/35 in favour of Gurney, which you might think it too close, but Ross has been having a fantastic season and, if anything, my projections overrate him. The metrics I go off just look at won legs, and if you look at the points per turn in won legs over the course of the season, Gurney's at 93.82 to Smith's 91.94. That's a great figure for Smith, but if you look at the scoring when they lose a leg, Gurney is at 88.89 to Smith's 89.35. Smith's actually scoring better in the legs he is losing compared to Gurney. There is no consistency issue here that should put us off betting Ross. After his professional job against Lim his win chances have actually increased by a percentage point. Since the Matchplay, which you would think would favour Gurney, given that's when he won his second major title and all that, the projections don't change in the slightest. Last year we bet on Gurney and Wright to go out early. They both worked. This year, we bet on Wright already to go out early. That worked. 0.25u Smith 9/2, that's just huge.

Be back tomorrow evening, with there being an afternoon session and me sadly having a whole week at work, I doubt there's any rushed updates but every game tomorrow's already covered.

Sunday 16 December 2018

He's changing his stems, he's changing his flights, he's mostly a fan of drinking snakebite

Santa Claus is going back home as Antonio Alcinas somehow puts us into the black for the tournament. Normally what happens when I make a post like this is that Devon Petersen somehow remembers to play darts and puts us back in the red, but what the hell, if you can't celebrate a hit then what's the point in playing.

Only the one session tomorrow evening, and only the one game to look at and it's Barney against Labanauskas, after Darius put Prime Time out after Edgar won the first set. This is pretty simple analysis. Darius is an extremely competent player. So is Barney, but he's played so little ranked darts that I'm really not sure that he can get home as often as he needs to in order for this not to be a value bet on the Lithuanian. There is enormous pressure on Raymond, and I think it'll tell - 0.25u Labanauskas 11/4.

That's all for now, there's nothing urgent to analyse so I'll catch up tomorrow evening.

Some more of the second round matches analysed

With fifteen first round games in the book already, we'll be half way through that stage in about an hour or so, let's have a quick look at some of the games that have already been finalised and see if there's any value in them. Obviously, five of those fifteen games have already been played, and we looked yesterday at the Chisnall/Payne and Wright/Alcinas matches, so there's not too many to do, which is good as the punt of the round starts fairly soon.

Wattimena/Barnard's the first game, which is all the way on Thursday afternoon, Michael being somewhat fortunate to overcome the decent looking de Sousa. Jermaine's a guy that's crept into the top 32, but whose numbers don't really look amazing whenever I look at them, it's the first time that he's been the seed with a bit more expectation on him, and I think Barnard will be a lot more comfortable having had one game in the books that was a real tester. The season long stats are saying 65% Wattimena to within a hundredth of a percent, which with the current line being 4/9 Jermaine 2/1 Michael isn't that enticing. Over a more recent sample it clicks right in to what the market suggests, so there's no bets here.

Beaton/Dobey's an interesting one later in the same session, Chris coming through a somewhat disappointing Boris Koltsov in straight sets, Beaton's the opposite of Wattimena in that his numbers appear generally better than what his results have shown, so while I've been laying Jermaine a fair bit I've often been backing the Adonis throughout the year. For this one, I'm finding it very hard to split them - I had Beaton as just a favourite by less than half a percent on a season long sample pre tournament, it's increased to nearly 51% after Dobey's first round game. However, if we drill into more recent matches since the Matchplay, it's looking like two to one in favour of Beaton. This seems somewhat counter-intuitive given that it's Dobey that appears to have been coming into form and we've not seen much out of Beaton, but we've got a good 100+ legs in that smaller sample for both players, and Beaton's outperforming Dobey on every relevant metric. Given he'd be just value season long with him being odds against, 0.25u Beaton 6/5, Dobey wasn't really tested and if he comes in a bit cold as a result it could be costly.

In the evening we've got three games we can look at, the first being Mervyn King against Jan Dekker. Dekker got through Lisa Ashton, first set aside Dekker seeming generally the better player, although he looked awfully nervous and his action appeared somewhat suspect as if he was afraid to release the first dart, although it was normally accurate when he finally did. Mervyn rates around 60/40 to take this on the year long sample, while the bookies have it slightly closer at 4/5 King and 5/4 Dekker. Looking at the more recent form guide since the summer break it transforms to 70/30 - in favour of the Dutchman, Mervyn looking honestly bad compared to his early season form (where, of course, he managed to claim his title). I don't want to bet Mervyn as the season long stats don't give enough of an edge, and I don't want to bet Dekker simply because he didn't look right at all in the opening game.

This is then followed by Adrian Lewis against Ted Evetts, Ted coming through a game against Simon Stevenson relatively easily. The line's at the 80/20 Lewis level, which is close to where I had the line before the tournament, I'd got it read at 79% Lewis. As such, I'm not going to touch this, although looking at Lewis' figures since the summer break, I wouldn't be shocked if Evetts can keep this close - Adie's stats really aren't that great and while Ted's only just thrown 80 legs in the database since then, he's actually scoring more points per turn than Lewis is, and while Adie's finishing legs faster in five and six visits in that sample, Ted's just killing him on four visit checkouts. Adie still rates to be the favourite, although only 55/45. As it's such a small sample on Evetts there, I'm not going to use it, but just bear it in mind before you start betting Lewis to win 3-0, Ted claiming a set or more really wouldn't be a surprise.

Final match of that session is Mensur Suljovic against Ryan Searle, Ryan getting through what rated to be a close game fairly easily just like Evetts did, taking Stephen Burton apart 3-0. Searle's generally available at 4/1, and I'm wondering if there isn't a spot of value there. He'd certainly need to improve his game from yesterday to stand a chance, but year long he's north of 35% to take the match according to the projections I have. His legs in par of fifteen darts compared to Mensur is only a couple of percentage points behind. Strangely, given that Searle's early part of the season was not great at all, Suljovic's win chances increase to 75% if I filter to just after the Matchplay. That'd still indicate a Searle bet, so let's go small - 0.1u Searle 4/1, I should probably go a quarter of a unit but I just have the sense that Mensur's at the stage where he just doesn't mess up these sorts of games as often as he should. Then again, he did lose to Cristo Reyes in a major just two months ago.

On the Friday afternoon we've got Benito van de Pas against Jim Long. Urgh. Why couldn't this have been Mansell then we can bet all the chips? I'm simply not going to analyse this and go 0.1u Long 5/1, purely based on three things - Benito is that bad at this stage that he shouldn't be that far odds on against anyone, Long may not be quite so bad having had a game to settle on the stage, and given how awful that game was Benito will have the pressure of being expected to win - something that he's not done much of at all all year.

We then have Steve West against Richard North, this should be a heck of a lot better quality with West getting close to winning titles this year and North gaining a lot of stage experience. West was rated in the high 50% range before the tournament on my projections, such is the level that North's playing at, so with North at 13/8 we might be having a look at that. Despite North hitting all those 180's, West's winning chances actually went up about half a percent after the first round game, and after the summer break there's an indication that West is in better form - 65% to take the game just based on games played since then. As such, I'll leave this game alone and just expect some decent arrows.

Final one we can look at, and I'll be quick as the Clemens game is starting, is Klaasen against Brown. Keegan looked great yesterday, although that few legs really didn't shift any win percentages season long - it's still Keegan better than 2-1 to win it, and very nearly up in the 70% range. After the break it's even more emphatic, Brown being more than 80% to win. 0.5u Brown 8/11, I might go stronger but Jelle's game has been such all year that he's been alright for four to five legs, and then fallen apart - if that can nick him a quick set, then maybe he can get home if Keegan slips up.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Day 3 evening report - beer beer beer

Er, yeah, we really didn't need to see that before the MvG game, but hey, ply football-style crowds with beer for hours and hours within feet of the players, this is fine, nothing bad will ever happen, right?

Not a huge deal to write home about. Ross did more or less what we thought he'd do and printing money on Alcinas went as expected to further claw back some of the Mansell losses with the best punt of the round first up tomorrow. Was in an interesting discussion on Twitter with a poker player whose blog I read from back in the day, him basically saying the extended format is a money grab and some of the players are out of their depth - while both parts are to some extent true, one thing you've got to remember is that last year, every single Pro Tour qualifier and several of the international qualifiers got a bye to what's round 2 - so last year you wouldn't have seen a Noppert, de Zwaan, Ratajski etc at this stage. While they've increased the size of the field, with two thirds of the increase going to Pro Tour qualifiers and 24 of the first round players coming from those who otherwise would have skipped the preliminaries, I think the opening round is stronger than ever, it's just a case of bad timing with Mansell shitting the bed against what's going to be one of the worse players here earlier, and during the game of someone who wouldn't be here but for Irwin messing up badly.

Searle surprisingly beat Burton, not so much in the result itself as it was arguable either way, more in the size of the victory, I'd have thought Burton would have kept it a bit more competitive than it was, but it just seems to be doubles, nothing more nothing less - Burton missed, Searle didn't. Stephen probably should have won the first set and if he does that the whole game might have ended up differently.

Keegan played well. Karel brought it a lot better than I thought he would have done, a 92 average is very respectable and he was keeping up with Brown on the scoring decently and certainly not missing doubles, was just timing - first set Keegan pulled an 11 darter to break in a deciding leg where Sedlacek had hit a 180 and left 82 after nine, just botching the finish, then he hit a twelve to complete a comeback from 2-0 down in the second set. Will certainly be interesting to see how Karel does in the coming year, I guess that the relatively poor performance he had the one time we saw him in the PDC this year might be an outlier, he did after all claim a decent sized WDF event last month, with there being a Euro Tour event in Prague next June I'm not sure too many people will be wanting to face him.

Then we had the van Gerwen game. Credit to MvG for putting the incident behind him fairly well, his figures were certainly formidable against Tabern, who was playing some nice darts himself and was well worth winning the set that he did take. The game against Hopp now looks a little bit more interesting at least.

Tomorrow we've got the Clemens game first up which Gabriel should win, then we follow with O'Connor/Meeuwisse where I'm thinking Yordi should keep it competitive, Dolan/Liu could be comical either way, and then we've got Chizzy/Payne as the second round game - Chisnall is strongly odds on with Payne at 3/1, Josh just did what he needed to without being that impressive, I had this as Payne being maybe 5/2 rather than 3/1 in terms of a fair line before, but Dave's jumped a percentage point and a half after that showing from Payne, smaller sample sizes favour Chisnall more and more, so I'm happy to let that one slide.

In the evening we've got Humphries/Hunt, should be a well paced game between two of the newer players on the circuit, Edgar/Labanauskas has the potential to be high quality, Ross Smith and Lim has narratives all over, then we've got Peter Wright making his start against Alcinas, who I'm thinking probably played down to the level of the opposition a touch, he wasn't good today but he didn't need to be. Wright is very strongly odds on at 1/8, 13/2 Antonio - season long I'm thinking this should be a 3/1 line, since the Matchplay something like 5/2, since the Grand Prix I don't think there's that much to separate them at all. These two met at Minehead and it was just missed doubles that made the difference. What the heck, 0.1u Alcinas 13/2, we've seen the quality in the past and it's not as if Wright is lacking in dodgy results this year against players of comparable quality to Alcinas, or worse, and it's not as if the last result on this stage wasn't a huge upset.

Day 3 afternoon report - a Canadian calamity

Good god. Mickey Mansell. What the hell was that? For those of you that didn't watch it, don't bother, Mansell was playing at maybe Superleague level, if that, and Long only averaged less than a point better, it's a minor miracle that it didn't go to a fifth set. That might have been the worst match in Ally Pally history - if we look at Speedboat%, a new metric I've made up right now where we measure how often someone scores 101 or more in their first six darts, Mansell was at 89%, although on three occasions he only made it exactly, and Long was at 78%. It was a horrific game to watch, and Long now gets to play van de Pas, a game which if anything might be worse.

Before that Richard North edged out Robert Marijanovic, North hitting a stupid number of maximums but kept being pegged back by Robert scoring consistently and hitting key outs at critical times, including three 100+ outs with North waiting on double or an easy two darter, but he choked at the end - needing 70 for the match he missed a big number three times and only left 47 if he returned (which he didn't), god knows what Harrington would have said (suppose it's karma he got the Mansell match). North will have to up his game against West next round you'd think, well everything except his 180 hitting.

Josh Payne advanced past Jeff Smith, who had a good first set but wasn't really at the races after that. Payne found his scoring in set two and didn't leave Smith much of a chance, comfortably held out set 3, the game dropped in quality after that but Payne got home.

Then we were left with Hopp against Noppert, a match which didn't really didn't reflect on how well Noppert played given the 3-0 scoreline (first set excepted) - he just couldn't hit a double, 3/22 is atrocious no matter how you dress it up, oddly one was a bull to finish a 130 out. Danny had darts to win five of the six legs Hopp had won in the second two sets, it was only the 140-180-134-47 out leg where Hopp denied him a shot. Hopp played fine, not "will threaten MvG" level of fine but enough that the game will be competitive, assuming Tabern doesn't shock the world.

Briefly on that Second Division Darts I just mentioned

For newer readers, or those that have just looked at the sidebar and wondered what the heck I am on about with the link to the results, what I did right at the start of the year is, for those players who weren't in the Premier League, picked out ten players (four from the FRH rankings and six wildcards), then looked at how they did against each other throughout the season in competitive matches, weighting their overall performance against each other to see how they'd get on, as if there was a second tier to the Premier League. For 2019, as it'd be a second season, I'm going to tweak the entry requirements ever so slightly, to give us:

- The top two players from the 2018 season (who aren't in the Premier League)
- The top four players from the FRH rankings (who aren't in the Premier League)
- Four wildcards

Additionally for 2019, I am going to add in a third division, but limit eligibility to players under 30, making games in the Development Tour count for that tier as well if applicable, and then allowing promotion up to the second division for the winner or top two, I haven't decided yet.

So what would the second division look like for 2019? Obviously we still have the worlds to come, but if we assume that nobody goes berzerk, they include Barney and the other players are what we assume they'll be right now, i.e. van Gerwen, Anderson, Cross, Wright, Suljovic, Price, Wade, Gurney and Smith, then we'd be looking at:

- Top 2 from the second division (White, Cullen)
- Top 4 from the FRH rankings (Whitlock, Webster, Clayton, Chisnall)

Then the four wildcards. If I just went on the rankings we'd get Bunting, Lewis, King and West, but Hopp's not too far behind and has won two events, de Zwaan is surely in the running, then there's plenty of players like Ratajski, Noppert and so on who are on the borderline.

For a third division? If I did just go on the rankings and included the next four, then if we keep going down the rankings for under 30's we'd get Hopp, Jamie Lewis, de Zwaan, Noppert, Lennon, Dobey, Brown, van den Bergh, North and Evans. van de Pas would be the last man out but there's not a chance I'd include him, Schindler's not far off but can't now rise obviously, Payne's there or there abouts, Aspinall's not far away, then you have Cadby, who if you knew he'd sort his visa out would be a cert. That's a heck of a lot of decent players which'd create some exciting matchups.

Day 2 roundup and day 3 thoughts

We'd just finished with the Nicholson game when I last posted and were being very brief, so here's a bit more on the whole day 2 - we kicked off with the Barnard/de Sousa game, which basically came down to missed doubles, de Sousa had darts to win every single set - four in the first, two in the second and then six for the match in the final set. It's alright outscoring someone, but if you both hit twelve doubles and you need an extra 24 attempts to do so, there's only so much outscoring you can do. It seemed very weird where, if you go back to the leg where de Sousa was on the nine darter, after seven perfect darts he doesn't go for treble fifteen to leave double 18, which is what he was leaving at every single possible opportunity, and exactly what he did when he returned the very next visit needing 52 - a number that gives you the choice of any of the 20s/18s/16s breakdown. Maybe he likes double 12 even more, who knows, but he's shown enough that I think we were well on the right side of the bet. Would be great to see him try Q-School again, even if he doesn't outright get in then to see him try some Euro Tour qualifiers would be fun.

Tabern/Smith was up next, it was an alright match but not really with the quality from Smith that we might have expected, a missed double cost him the second set and more should have cost him the third (and hence the match there and then), but he got back into it, fourth set was good then he just couldn't score enough early in the decider and got into a hole, missing more doubles to let Tabern back in. Could be a common theme this.

Nicholson/Burness, I'm really not sure what was going on here. Neither player was scoring that well, outside of hitting nine 180's between them in three sets, just too many straight tons and mediocre checkout percentages. Scoring just really wasn't there for Paul and it basically allowed Kevin into the game. Oh well.

Lewis/Harris closed off the afternoon and Jamie was made to work for the win, was a decent display from Jamie with him getting eight of the thirteen legs he won in par, and forcing Harris to win a deciding leg in the two sets that Cody did end up taking, although in fairness Jamie was nowhere near in those two legs. Cody wasn't exactly playing badly, although it seemed too often that if he had slightly better scoring, even if it was just one extra treble at some point in the leg, that he'd have got more than one dart at a double, or for that matter got a dart at a double, there were several legs where he's been left waiting to come back on sixty-something or has only got a shot at the bull, just get that little bit extra scoring and you turn those lost legs into wins, or at least give yourself the chance to do so. Still, not a bad outing for the New Zealander who's got plenty to build on in after what was always going to be a transitional season.

Evening started with Noppert/Lam, and after Royden got the first leg, Noppert won the next nine to sweep it in straight sets. This is sort of what I thought might happen, Lam simply didn't score enough to really compete at this level - he only had four shots at double the whole game, the one he hit then three he missed. It seemed like every single leg he was having multiple visits where he's not hitting a treble - if you're then trying to break a Noppert level player you're then putting yourself in a hole where you need to clean up the high 300's in nine darts, which is not an easy thing to do - if you're going to put in two visits of 60 somewhere, the others need to be 140-140-101 out or similar. That's really tough. While we're on Noppert, that's one of the two second round games today, and he's the marginal favourite over Hopp, 5/6 to Hopp's 6/5. That's more or less the line I was looking at before yesterday's game, where I had Noppert at 53%, Noppert's decent performance has improved that slightly, if I drill down more recently then it starts to favour Hopp a fair bit, oddly enough, around 59% Hopp after the Matchplay, and even more since the Grand Prix at 63%. I'm more inclined to stick with the larger sample and no bet the thing, Hopp really still doesn't convince me and the eyetest makes me think Noppert is the better player.

Second up we had Stevenson/Evetts, and Ted won this 3-0 with the first two sets going to a decider before Ted broke a real sloppy fourth leg in the third set to close it out. First thing that jumps out is the Stevenson checkout rate, which is down at 21%, this cost him the first set where he had two darts to win the decider, which could have been more if he'd not opted to go what I think is a suboptimal route on 121 purely because Evetts hit a max the turn before to leave an even larger out. Similar in the second set, he missed one for shanghai on 20's earlier in the set before choosing what I think was the wrong route again on 85 - go bull first and give yourself a dart at tops. He missed four doubles earlier in the set in one leg but it didn't cost him, then it all showed in the last leg where he missed six more to make it 2-2 - although he only got all those because Evetts was missing as well. Shame really, a bit more thought on routes and he may well at least nick one of the first two sets and it still be game on.

Dobey/Koltsov was surprisingly one sided, Boris averaging sub-80 and only getting two legs in the whole match as Chris cruised 3-0. Boris simply couldn't get his scoring going at all in the first set, it improved in the second but he then missed multiple darts at double in the last two legs. Koltsov finally got on the board with a good fifteen dart break to start the third, then the scoring disappeared and Dobey did the same, Koltsov didn't threaten the scorers much as Dobey went within a leg of the match, Koltsov competently held leg four hitting a maximum, but then despite Dobey needing seven visits to hold out the match Koltsov was still needing over a ton if he'd have got a seventh visit himself. Shame, I guess if it clicks for Boris he looks good, as it has done when he's put up silly averages on the Challenge Tour, but that's four legs and not three sets.

Finally we had Anderson against Burness, I think this was just Ando in second gear if anything, he didn't play that great in the first couple of sets apart from a couple of spots, Burness was just about keeping up and probably value to take a set, then the game became a bit sloppy and while Anderson won every leg, if he wasn't being tidy like in the first leg of set three and the first two of set four, it's because Burness was letting him off the hook, Kevin having darts at double in every leg outside of those three.

So on to today - I've already given the lines for the first round games and mentioned the Hopp/Noppert game above, the other second rounder is van Gerwen/Tabern which is one where 22/1 Tabern actually looks like a correct line based on what my projections say, so I'll ignore that one - given how they played against each other in Europe twice this year, maybe there's tiny value in laying the 3-0 scoreline? Probably not, it was earlier in the year on both occasions where Alan was playing better stuff. Mansell/Long and Payne/Smith I'll be interested in as I want to see how those bets do, now 0/2 after Stevenson lost but should hopefully push back into profit with those, I know there's a lot of North American readers so I'm interested for their sake as well (couldn't they have put these two on an evening session so it's not a breakfast tee time?) and to see the general state of Canadian darts. First we've got North/Marijanovic, this should be competitive, the Noppert/Hopp game closes the session, we then have our third bet of the day on Alcinas against Ross, always fun to see how someone who's a late replacement does, Searle/Burton should be a slugfest and surprise a lot of the crowd who probably don't know a great deal about them, Brown/Sedlacek may not be that close, but if Karel is actually a bit better than what the limited data I have shows and if Keegan has an off day, which isn't unheard of, who knows, then we've got the van Gerwen game which I'll probably ignore and just go to the pub instead.

The fantasy scoreboard is up to date, I'll use this bit of time I have now to update the Second Division Darts through to the end of the season, I don't know how deep everyone would need to go to get any more matches in it though.