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.

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