Monday 27 May 2019

The Matchplay Race

As mentioned, here's a look at how the race for the Matchplay is going. We're only going to look at the cutoff scenarios for the Pro Tour qualifiers - the top 16 look pretty safe:

16 Adrian Lewis 251,000
17 Joe Cullen 222,000
18 Stephen Bunting 206,750

That's a near 30 grand gap from Cullen to the last spot, which Cullen on current form isn't catching, and if there was some sort of miracle, Adie dropping to the Pro Tour spots doesn't affect the cutoff for the Pro Tour qualifiers. So let's go down and look at who's there.

I'm going to eliminate Evans, Ratajski, Durrant, Beaton, de Zwaan, Cullen, Hopp, Noppert and Wattimena from the discussion, they're all on 40,000 or (much) higher which, given what 17th is on and given that it needs eight players to overtake them all, isn't happening, although it's probably not mathematically impossible. So, the race for the remaining spots looks like this:

10 John Henderson 35,750
11 Stephen Bunting 34,250 (**)
12 Mervyn King 32,750 (*)
13 Vincent van der Voort 32,500 (*)
14 Chris Dobey 32,000 (*)
15 Ryan Searle 31,750
16 James Wilson 31,750
17 Ross Smith 30,500
18 Keegan Brown 30,500
19 Kyle Anderson 29,750 (*)
20 Gabriel Clemens 26,000 (*)
21 Steve West 25,500 (*)
22 Ron Meulenkamp 22,750
23 Willie O'Connor 22,250 (*)
24 Harry Ward 22,500
25 Martin Schindler 21,500 (*)
26 Josh Payne 21,500
27 Kim Huybrechts 21,500
28 Dimitri van den Bergh 21,000
29 Steve Lennon 20,750 (*)
30 Raymond van Barneveld 20,500
31 Jelle Klaasen 20,250

Here, a * indicates the player has qualified for ET8, one of the four events remaining - ET9 and PC 17-18 being the others. Bunting has two on account for him being a seed in this event. No mincash is added for anybody - so you can add a grand to a lot of players here.

Who can we cut off? I think that anyone from Meulenkamp down is probably out of the running, unless they are qualified for ET8 already. Meulenkamp is nine grand down on Wilson and Searle, so you're reliant on either winning an event, making the final of ET9, or reaching the semi of ET9 or final of PC17/18 plus doing well enough to make three grand in the other two events. That seems quite the parlay. For anyone who's in ET8 though, it's maybe not quite so outlandish - take Lennon, he's 11 grand down - something like making the ET8 quarter, qualifying for ET9 and losing to the seed, making a semi final in one of the Pro Tour events and winning his board in the other gives you £11,500, which isn't quite so outlandish an ask.

For those at the top, I think that anyone from Dobey up is probably alright. They should all be favourites to win their opening games in ET8 unless they got a brutal draw like Durrant, Ratajski, Aspinall or each other, even then, for one of them to miss out they'd have to do very little in the remaining three events and hope that multiple players do a fair bit.

Which leaves us in my eyes with ten players battling for two spots - Searle and Wilson holding on for now, then Smith, Brown, Anderson, Clemens, West, O'Connor, Schindler and Lennon looking in from the outside. You know that rolling averages graph I did for the Premier League players earlier in the month? Let's do another one.

For the sake of clarity, Smith, O'Connor and Searle all have the dotted lines. So if you look at current values, O'Connor is ahead of the bunch, as you'd expect given he's recently won an event, so while he's a fair bit down on the cutoff right now, you wouldn't put it past him to be able to do something in an event to really make up the ground. Next we have Steve West, who we've not heard a huge amount from this season, but certainly by the graph isn't exactly playing badly. Next is Keegan Brown, who's not in Denmark but already has the points on the board, then there's a grouping of Anderson, Clemens and Lennon, Anderson who was playing clearly the best of these earlier in the season but has since slid a bit at just the wrong time. Making up the rear are Smith and Searle, then a further drop to Schindler and Wilson.

How about some raw season long figures?

Anderson tops these figures, but the graph demonstrates that a bulk of these good figures come from earlier in the season, whereas O'Connor, who's just behind him, is doing it now. You've then got a cluster of four players who are within a third of a point of each other with not much to separate them, before a drop off to Searle, Smith and Schindler, with Wilson a fair bit off the pace, although I believe it was mentioned that James was playing through some sort of medical issue which may certainly explain that.

How about what they've done in terms of results this season? Let's just look at results where they've put more than 2k on the board, I don't see any real point in looking smaller than that, for one on the Euro Tour it's only a first round loss that's worse, and it's that level of result that you really need to start to push away or make inroads into a deficit.

Anderson - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L32
Brown - Pro Tour SF, Euro Tour SF, L16 (2x), L32
Clemens - Pro Tour F (2x)
Lennon - Euro Tour L32 (2x)
O'Connor - Pro Tour Win, Euro Tour L32
Schindler - Nothing
Searle - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L16
Smith - Euro Tour L16 (2x), L32
West - Pro Tour SF (2x), QF
Wilson - Euro Tour L16

So in terms of putting in the cashes that count, Brown has five, Anderson and Searle have four, Smith and West have three, Clemens, Lennon and O'Connor and two, Wilson has one and Schindler has nothing.

What does this all mean in terms of who's going to get the last two spots? I think you can chuck Lennon and Schindler immediately, after that I think you can make a case for anyone. O'Connor's the hardest to make a case for given the ground he has to make up, but he is playing the best of all these right now and has shown he can put the result he'd need together very recently. West's figures aren't bad and he's had some results domestically but the lack of anything whatsoever on the European Tour is a huge concern. Clemens is less than 5k back once you factor in the ET8 mincash he will get and has shown twice he can put together a tournament where he can get that type of money. Anderson and Brown are fairly similar in that they're solidly producing decent results and statistics, and it'd just need a little purple patch to get over the line, Ross Smith has shown some nice peaks in Europe, but only has the one shot to do something there and it'd be hard on the results he's been getting on the Pro Tour to really believe that he'd get enough on the board to get over the line. Wilson's one of the incumbents, but has no real results, is playing the worst and is hanging on for dear life, while Searle is at least playing a bit better overall and you'd think he'd be able to get more in the bank than both Wilson and Smith in the last three events to stay ahead of both of them, which would then require two from outside to overtake him.

Gun to my head and I'd say Searle gets one spot and Anderson gets the other, but it's so hugely dependent on Kyle getting a decent draw in Copenhagen - the difference between getting Nathan Aspinall and Teuvo Haverinen could be the difference between Kyle playing at the Winter Gardens, or shooting off to where it is winter ahead of the World Series.

Sunday 26 May 2019


New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Michael Smith
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Gerwyn Price
7 James Wade
8 Peter Wright
9 Nathan Aspinall
10 Ian White
11 Mensur Suljovic
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Simon Whitlock
14 Jonny Clayton
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Darren Webster
17 Joe Cullen
18 Max Hopp
19 Stephen Bunting
20 Steve Beaton

No change whatsoever, although Price is now within 1500 points of the top 5, White's opened up a huge European Tour win sized gap over Suljovic, and Wright's staying ahead of Aspinall for now. Wattimena and King fill the spots just outside and after their decent showings there's a big drop to #23, with none of the five players immediately below playing this weekend. van der Voort is back in the top 40 and ahead of Barney for the Dutch #5 position. Glen Durrant is now just two places outside the top 50, and after his best weekend in a while Rowby John Rodriguez is back within touching distance of the top 64.

Tomorrow I'll take a poke at the Matchplay scenarios, and update the 2nd/3rd Division Darts tables which have gone unlooked at in a while

ET7 round 3 bets

Before I quickly start on yesterday, congrats to Leighton Bennett on winning the open that dartsplanet organised yesterday (and good job to dartsplanet for getting it running what sounded like successfully, these things aren't easy to sort) - hitting a nine darter in the process.

Yesterday went just about as perfectly as possible. All three of the main bets won, the flyer on Willie O'Connor being the only miss, but that wasn't anything to do with Willie - lots of things have to go right for a bet against van Gerwen to work, the main one being he doesn't average 107... apart from a poor fifth leg and the missing one dart at double in the final leg, O'Connor did nothing wrong and ended up well into three figures for conventional averages himself.

Eight games today, let's see what we've got:

van Gerwen/van Barneveld - Oh how the PDC must have wished the order was the other way around this weekend (as an aside, why do they just have two running orders, standard and reverse? I get switching between those so that MvG doesn't start the session every single event, but surely they can randomise where in the draw the 1 seed plays)! Barney got past Michael Smith, nothing spectacular here, it was purely Smith missing doubles and big numbers. It's 5/1 on Barney which really doesn't appeal. It probably does purely on the numbers (showing just shy of 25% chances), and it's going to be one of those weird crowds where van Gerwen isn't the favoured players in the Netherlands, I just don't believe that Barney believes he can win it. It's a no from me.

Chisnall/Evans - Dave got past Steve Beaton, perhaps a bit easier than expected, a weird game with quite a few breaks. Ricky saw off Danny van Trijp fairly comfortably winning the last five legs in an equivalent 6-2 victory to Dave's later in the evening. Dave is the favourite at 4/7, I think that's fairly close to correct. I might have put it at 4/9, I'm seeing Dave at slightly over a two in three shot, I don't think there's quite the edge to bet on Chisnall.

Durrant/Nilsson - Glen had the bye so just Dennis to talk about, and he got by Clayton in a weird one, Clayton put in some very powerful legs, but Nilsson was able to win all the scrappy legs, including the last one where Clayton was only able to get one dart at bull in eighteen darts, which he obviously missed. Nilsson won despite averaging over six points lower. Data on Nilsson is limited, but 5/1 on him sounds around the right ballpark, an 85 average on the Challenge Tour isn't the sort of thing that ought to trouble Durrant.

Price/Dolan - Gerwyn absolutely blitzed Ratajski, winning the first five legs all in fifteen darts or better, while Dolan was able to see off Stephen Bunting 6-4 with an equally impressive five legs in fifteen darts or better. Gerwyn is the favourite, and there's close to value - he's 4/9 and I've got him at 77% to take it on season long stats, but if we filter down to a smaller sample of the last couple of months, when Price's heater had cooled slightly, it doesn't become value at all and we start to look at Dolan as being the value bet. I'm guessing it's somewhere in the middle and neither is worth the punt.

White/Wattimena - Ian got into a real tough tussle with Mickey Mansell, it went all the way and was generally high quality, at least until the last leg where Mansell missed five match darts - helped by White missing three himself to allow the extra shots. Jermaine got past Danny Noppert, opening up a 4-1 lead before Noppert levelled, Danny was six perfect on throw in leg 9 but couldn't finish 141 in nine darts, giving Jermaine the critical break. It's yet another game where I think the line is incredibly accurate - I see it at mid-sixties for Ian to claim this, and the market has him at 4/7, so let's move on to game six.

van der Voort/Hopp - Two players here who we bet on yesterday, both coming through as underdogs - Hopp with a 6-0 demolition of Joe Cullen, while in the last game of the night, van der Voort and Suljovic was on throw through seven legs before the decisive moment, Vincent taking out 138 using the Harrington special route for a twelve dart leg with Mensur waiting on tops. Awful bit of counting in the last leg by Mensur, going 20-5-20 on 204, dunno if the lie was perfect to hit treble last dart, but with Vincent on a double you've got to surely at least leave a shot, if only so that if he misses the first two on D16 inside he can't think about busting it to return to 32 guaranteed. Market has this very close, Hopp a tiny 5/6 favourite. Sadly I have to agree again - both have had very underrated seasons so while against anyone else we probably bet them, against each other the market is probably underrating them both enough to make the line look accurate.

Wright/Whitlock - Peter was able to get past Ritchie Edhouse, opening a 3-0 lead but being pegged back and forced all the way to 6-4, an odd game, Edhouse took all the scrappy legs but he was right there several times when Wright was winning legs - averaging 97 in them. Whitlock beat Florian Hempel with probably the best darts he's played all year, three 12 or better legs, two of them breaks, wasn't a bad showing by Hempel and if he'd caught normal Whitlock he might have had decent chances to get home. This is very similar to the Price game - Wright is 2/5, and I'm getting him at 77% again. If we trim it down a touch to just April onwards, where Simon was able to make a final, Wright's win chances drop to 72%, which is very close to a correct line. I wouldn't blame anyone for going with Peter, but I can't outright recommend it.

King/Rodriguez - Mervyn was the third of our bets to get home yesterday, running out a 6-1 victor over Daryl Gurney, the highlight being an opening 11 darter, then consolidating the break with a 126 out on the bull after Daryl had missed one dart to break straight back. Rowby had a bit more of a routine game after Friday's fireworks, beating Darren Webster 6-2, only getting the two legs in fifteen darts or better. He was allowed plenty of time to miss 14 darts at double though, maybe on another day when Darren's firing properly, this one gets to 4-4. Now we finally have a bet - 0.25u Rodriguez 8/5. This could go spectacularly wrong, but there's a few things that are in our favour. First, Rowby has shown peak Rowby this weekend so we know he can pull it out. Secondly, while the master computer rates this as basically evens for all intents and purposes, we can check for consistency, as we know that Rowby's bad legs can be really bad, and not be factored into the projections. Rowby scores 93 per turn when winning and 86.5 when losing. Mervyn scores, er, 93 per turn when winning and 87.7 per turn when losing. So Mervyn is also showing up as pretty damn inconsistent - their profiles are oddly very similar this season, so I'm happy to go with it.

I might get something up for the quarters, but I'm thinking I'm probably going to watch the League One playoff final instead, so don't hold your breath.

Saturday 25 May 2019

ET7 round 2 bets

Can we get back over +20 units lifetime today? We're needing less than a tenth of a unit of profit to do so, let's see what we can do.

Bunting/Dolan - This one's priced up quite evenly, Bunting being the small favourite. Thought this might have been a bit more in Stephen's favour but the line's respecting Dolan's game I guess, Brendan having a routine win yesterday, and actually having more points per turn this season than Bunting - albeit by 0.08. This is a close one, Stephen's actually done a little better than Dolan on the legs he's won so he projects a slight favourite, but as that's what the line says anyway, next game please. Maybe see who wins the bull and bet 6-5 correct score?

Whitlock/Hempel - Probably a quick one to analyse, Florian got a nice win yesterday, Simon's not a bad seed to face, but I would think all of Whitlock's experience will get him over the line. It's a 1/3 Whitlock sort of game, I'd usually be tempted to take anyone who's got through a first round game against him, but Hempel didn't do quite enough to make me think he can put in enough of a sustained effort if he faces someone who puts up more resistance than Harrington did.

Wattimena/Noppert - Nice all-Dutch tie here, thought they might have put this one on the evening session? Jermaine's been a little bit quiet the last month or so, not playing in the last couple of Euro Tours and not winning a board on the Pro Tour in six attempts, so if Noppert plays like he did yesterday in a fun game against Harry Ward, Jermaine could be in trouble. The market actually has Noppert as the favourite, which I thought might be surprising, but then the master computer thinks 8/11 is more or less spot on, Noppie actually outscoring Wattimena this season by a point and a half a turn. Let's move on...

Evans/van Trijp - No rubber match between Brown and Evans here, as Danny van Trijp edged home mostly on the back of hitting a shedload of ton 40's. I don't think I can bet this one, Danny's not done too badly at all the two times we've seen him on the senior tour, but a quick check on his Challenge Tour and Development Tour stats and against someone decent like Evans I don't think he gets home quite enough. 11/4 feels about right here.

Clayton/Nilsson - Dennis easily routed a pretty poor Erik Hol 6-0, not a pretty game and Dennis isn't going to be able to afford quite so many missed doubles against Jonny Clayton, who's having a solid season. There's not a huge amount of data to work off, so it's mostly gut feeling and I'm thinking it's similar to the last game - 3/1 for Nilsson looks about the right ballpark.

Price/Ratajski - Wow, this is a nice game for an afternoon session on day 2. Ratajski beat Ross Smith in a high quality encounter yesterday, and meets up against Price again - they've met four times in the past twelve months, splitting the series with Price winning the biggest one in the UK Open, but Ratajski getting the most recent win and also winning in Minehead last November. The line looks more or less spot on - Price is 8/13 which implies slightly better than a 60% shot to win, the master computer says 63% so there's nothing here. Again.

Webster/Rodriguez - High quality performance from Rowby, he doesn't hit his peaks often but when he does it's spectacular. I'm taking this one off the board as I really don't know what to think about Webster and how he'll play after last Saturday, and contemplating about that one with the wild inconsistency that Rodriguez has is a nightmare - after yesterday it'd surprise nobody if he stepped up and averaged 78.

Wade/Durrant - Wade cried off, damnit. I was looking forward to this one. At least we see Glen tomorrow.

Chisnall/Beaton - Two in form players facing off here, Beaton playing arguably the best darts of his life, while Chizzy's won two titles already this year. They've not met since last June so no real form guide head to head, the market favours Chisnall a fair bit, which is testament to Dave's game given how Beaton is playing. Steve's 13/8, I'm getting him winning slightly under 40%, so we're still looking for a bet. If we can't find it on Steve, who can we find one on?

White/Mansell - Ian's going to look to continue recent European form and faces Mickey Mansell, who did just about enough to defeat Kyle Anderson and move on to today. Ian's heavily favoured, and rightly so - I've got a win chance of just over 80% for the Diamond, and he's 1/4, come on bookies, offer us something, anything!

Cullen/Hopp - Maybe we can get something here, Joe's struggled for form somewhat, and maybe even his European Tour specialty is wilting slightly having lost to McGeeney and Mark Webster in opening games the last two events. Hopp beat Aspinall in a game that went all the way yesterday and the bookies have it close to even. This game should not be close to even, Max ought to win this three times out of every five per the master computer, if Cullen can refind his European form quickly then it might be closer, but over 60% and offered odds against? 0.25u Hopp 11/10, there, finally, we have something.

van Gerwen/O'Connor - A rematch from last season's Dutch Darts Championship, where a distinctly below par van Gerwen lost quite heavily. Since then, van Gerwen's form isn't quite so stellar as it quickly became after that event, and Willie's managed to get a title under his belt. We're being offered some quite silly odds here, 0.1u O'Connor 10/1, the master computer might be on steroids a bit to think Willie claims this just over one in three, but ask yourself if Michael wins this 90% of the time?

Gurney/King - Daryl's up next, and he faces Mervyn King, who hit some nice combination outs to see off Luke Woodhouse yesterday. They last met, oddly, in this event last year where Daryl won, but King had won six of the previous seven. This line looks way off, King's playing some good stuff, 0.25u King 9/4, Daryl's ahead by about a point and a half on King per turn this season, but that's all consistency, on winning legs Mervyn's actually scoring better and thus the master computer actually gives King the slight edge. In reality it's not like that but in reality King has better than a one in three shout.

Smith/van Barneveld - Michael shouldn't have been a seed here, but he is, and faces Raymond on home soil after he disposed of Pal Szekely comfortably enough. Some nice big outs on show, and he might need to pick more of them off against someone of Smith's quality. Smith is about a 2/1 favourite in the market, and the master computer spits out the same analysis. Maybe think about the Barney punt if home soil appeals to you, and the potential of one more MvG/Barney matchup tomorrow might be on.

Wright/Edhouse - Ritchie cruised past Hendriks 6-2 late yesterday, not a bad performance but nothing truly special, and he'll need to improve a lot to really threaten Wright, who's installed as a 1/5 favourite which doesn't really look too disrespectful to Edhouse - he's played 300 legs on the senior circuit this year thanks to early Challenge Tour form and is scoring seven points per turn less than Wright, that's enough sample for me.

Suljovic/van der Voort - Last game up and we see Mensur, favourite of fans everywhere, against Vincent, who'll certainly be favourite in the Netherlands. Vincent took out Andy Boulton with a five leg spurt from 2-1 down, and is installed at 9/4 here. Honestly, I don't think van der Voort is that far behind, he's got home advantage, albeit against one of the most likable players in the game, and he's putting together enough power in his winning legs that Suljovic is only favoured on projections using those by about 5% - 0.25u van der Voort 9/4, one more for the road.

We got a few in the end - more tomorrow morning.

Friday 24 May 2019

ET7 round 1 random thoughts

Looks like the betting was more or less break even - nice to see Florian Hempel's perseverance on trying to get onto the Euro Tour rewarded with a 6-0 drubbing of Ryan Harrington, Erik Hol on the other hand... that gave just about enough buffer room to go 2-2 when hitting on favourites, O'Connor only a slight one but Beaton was a decent bit of odds on, Kyle Anderson just missed a bunch of darts to go 5-4 up, Luke Woodhouse started a bit slowly but his clawing back effort was interrupted by Mervyn hitting a couple of very nice mid-large range checkouts on the bull, so fair play to the King on that one.

What else happened? Plaisier never really got scoring going against Brendan Dolan, was always going to be a tough ask but he only got darts at double in one leg, which says it all. Rowby John Rodriguez had a really great performance against Mike de Decker, running off six straight legs after dropping the first couple. Sounded like a great game - ten 180's between them in six legs, both averaging over 104, combined checkout percentage over 50%, Rowby even threatened a nine at one point. Nice showing by both.

Danny van Trijp was able to nick one against Keegan Brown, Danny having far superior scoring in racking up a 5-3 lead, but he was able to just get home after being broken by Keegan in leg 10 to force a decider - Brown having seven visits and still not being under 70 is kind of telling. Durrant easily dealy with Merkx, not a great game really, Noppert against Ward on the other hand sounded a lot more competitive than the 6-1 scoreline suggested. Both averaged over 103, and that was despite a comedy third leg that went to a fourth visit. Danny was both scoring heavily and clinical on finishing, including a couple of bit combo checkouts.

Steve Beaton got past Alan Norris, a bit of a tussle with a fair bit of nerves towards the end. Next game not mentioned was Ratajski defeating Ross Smith, 6-3 with a great combination of heavy scoring and not missing doubles, might be the best game you'll see with neither averaging over 100. Vincent van der Voort advanced over Andy Boulton, Andy missed chunks of doubles in a couple of legs which could easily have made it 4-4, but it is what it is and Vincent moves on to Saturday. Hopp/Aspinall went all the way to the final leg, Aspinall doing well to claw things back to there after getting into an early hole, but Hopp finished in five visits on throw to not give Nathan much of a chance when it mattered. Last couple of games were 6-2 wins, Barney got through over Pal Szekely, Pal being unable to put any sustained scoring together, but Barney was still able to hit three completely unnecessary ton plus checkouts for show. The other one was Ritchie Edhouse over Jimmy Hendriks, fairly poor showing from Jimmy who averaged south of 80 and Ritchie just did a professional job with no real fireworks.

Data's into the master computer, and we'll look at the lines in the morning.

Thursday 23 May 2019

ET7 round 1 bets

This'll be a brief post:

0.25u O'Connor 10/11, unless I've missed some sort of injury post, I don't get how on current form this is anywhere near that close against Joyce.

0.25u Anderson 8/15, simple non-belief in Mansell and belief in Anderson, seems 80/20.

0.1u Hempel 3/1, this is pure non-belief in Harrington, Hempel came through a tough qualifier and while Harrington isn't in the tour card basement, he's not far off it.

0.25u Beaton 4/7, seeing a comparable level of edge as in the Anderson match.

0.1u Hol 9/2, I like Nilsson's game but that's way off, got to be worth a punt on home soil, only a couple of bookies offering it but if more than one is, it seems a legit line.

0.25u Woodhouse 7/4, mentioned I thought this'd be close, the line isn't close enough, analysis looks close to a flip.

Dutch Darts Masters preview

Here's the draw courtesy of the PDC's website:

Cross has withdrawn late so we've got an extra spot in the home nation qualifiers, which look to be pretty strong - Mandigers showed up but lost, van Tergouw lost in the last round, recent BDO event winner Toon Greebe lost as has hotly rated youngster Jurjen van der Velde, but let's talk about who's there:

1/16 section - Can't really look past van Gerwen on home soil. Then again, last year on home soil he did lose to... Willie O'Connor, who's just got the first big win of his career within the last month. Joyce wouldn't be an easy out either but it's fair to say he's not quite at the level he was last year. Possible last sixteen opponents aren't easy - Pal Szekely is making a debut here after being real close on multiple occasions previously, and qualifiers from that region are generally no mugs, but it's looking like one of Smith or Barney - surely Smith has to be favoured and would give van Gerwen a right test.

8/9 section - Chizzy could have his work cut out against Steve Beaton, Steve's current form isn't too far behind, you'd think that form would be too good for current day Norris, but Alan's been known to raise his game on a stage if needed. Ricky Evans could face Keegan Brown for the third time in Europe this year, winning the first but losing the second, the home nation qualifier is Danny van Trijp, who looked alright on his first appearance this year against Adam Hunt, but shouldn't trouble Keegan.

5/12 section - Oh boy, that's not nice for Wade. There's very few people that can legitimately compete with Wade on current form right now, but Glen Durrant is one of them, someone who I think has somewhat of a similar style of play, so could be an interesting one. Assuming Glen gets past Alex Merkx, of course. Merkx made a final in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago, so who knows. Clayton ought not to have too much trouble reaching Sunday, Nilsson occasionally has purple patches and home nation qualifier Erik Hol has been somewhat consistent on the Challenge Tour, but Jonny's a step ahead I think.

4/13 section - Nasty draw for Price as well. Ross Smith has probably cooled a touch over the last month or two, but Ratajski certainly hasn't and easily has a top 16 game statistically, if not top 10. Great first round entertainment midway through the evening session. Bunting has been doing some alright work in Europe, but Dolan seems a very tight matchup, season long stats rating them very similarly, Dolan perhaps being more consistent. Brendan would need to get past what'll probably be Wesley Plaisier (3-0 up in the final round as I type), which I think he should do.

2/15 section - Can White keep his European form going? Hard opening game if he wants to, Mansell has shown occasional bursts and despite a 2-8 record against Kyle Anderson, has won their last two, albeit last year, Kyle's numbers remain excellent but he's just not getting the result. Wattimena on home soil could be formidable, although a derby against Danny Noppert or an opening round match against the newest PDC title winner in Harry Ward isn't necessarily the nicest thing he could have drawn.

7/10 section - Another solid opening round match here. Boulton did start off the year very nicely indeed, he's dropped a touch but should still give van der Voort, who's playing the best darts he's done in a while, a decent examination. Suljovic awaits the winner, and while he should be favoured, might be a bit too far ahead of van der Voort in the markets. The other bit of this draw is explosive - we get Hopp/Aspinall for the second time this month on the European stage, Nathan won that one, will Hopp get revenge? Joe Cullen completes the section, these three could battle it out at a high level for at least a decade or more to come, and Joe will need all of the additional game he brings to the European Tour to stay in this one.

6/11 section - Peter Wright will face up against either Ritchie Edhouse, who's no longer top of the Challenge Tour rankings but is still having a very good season, or a to be determined home nations qualifier - Michael Plooy or Jimmy Hendriks. Ritchie should have enough, and can occasionally show the game needed to trouble someone of Wright's quality. Whitlock's back amongst the seeds after his good run right after he dropped out, and it's a good draw for everyone I think - neither of Florian Hempel on debut, or Ryan Harrington effectively playing out his tour card, will hate drawing each other, both would be happy getting what appears the weakest seed, and Whitlock will be happy with avoiding one of the many qualifier landmines that are out there.

3/14 section - Gurney is looking for a second European Tour title of the season, and will open up against either Luke Woodhouse or Mervyn King. Another good first round draw, King will probably draw a favourite tag on name form but the two are evenly matched up this year and playing solid darts, either one could threaten Daryl if they can put a spurt in. Finally we have Darren Webster, who was able to shake off the injury he picked up on Saturday to compete on the Sunday, albeit in a losing first round effort, how well will he actually be able to compete against either Mike de Decker or Rowby John Rodriguez? Mike's making a habit of qualifying for these and is probably in a bit more form than Rowby, but hasn't yet demonstrated the ceiling that Rowby has - although Rowby rarely shows it himself.

Bets later. I intend on doing some Matchplay scenarios and analysis on Monday after this event, it's a public holiday here so expect some analysis of the race to get into Blackpool.

Sunday 19 May 2019

PC16 - what the heck

Plenty of weird things happened today. Let's walk through them:

1) Harry Ward won the title

Yep, that's a strange one. A very strange one. He'd had a couple of sighters before, getting to the quarter finals on two occasions, but to actually take one to the hoop came from nowhere really. Four last leg victories is ever so slightly fortunate, and a sub-90 points per turn for the tournament shows quite how opportunist this one was, running into Max Hopp in the final, who was scoring less per turn in the tournament than he was. Fair play for getting there, but you wonder if this is going to put him into some things too soon.

2) Robert Thornton has form

What the hell was Rob smoking today? A run to the semi final with a solid 92 points per turn for the event, beating van Gerwen, hitting a nine darter as well, it was only some missed doubles that prevented him from getting to the final and possibly going all the way. It's something to build on hopefully - Thornton's always had a habit of being really good for a month or so, often when there's a major tournament on, then being close to irrelevant for months on end - he is, if I read Twitter right, still outside of the provisional worlds spots.

3) Jose de Sousa is red hot

Here's your last remaining semi finalist, and it was good play from the Portuguese player, approaching 95 points per turn which is easily the highest of any of the four semi finalists, and only bettered by two players that won their board. He was a bit fortunate in who he drew, the strongest player he faced probably being Vincent van der Voort in the last 16, but with how he played, he could have faced tougher opponents and still advanced. He's got a couple of Euro Tour events coming up so can maybe build on this where the prizes can really escalate.

4) Both yesterday's finalists lost first round

This seemed odd. Darius Labanauskas ran into Ross Smith (conventionally) averaging 99, which is fair enough, but Duzza fell to Tytus Kanik, which is a bit questionable.

5) Scott Taylor? Really?

The one guy that had a UK Open run from outside the tour card holders had another solid run, winning his board by taking out Cristo Reyes, Ricky Evans (averaging 101) then Ross Smith (averaging 108), before overcoming John Henderson with another high 90 average, de Sousa would be too strong in the quarters, but it's a nice run.

New FRH rankings:

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

Suljovic took the weekend off, so White making the quarters yesterday was just about good enough to creep into the top 10, while Hopp's final gives him a good cushion over Bunting, who missed on both days.

Lower down the order, a double quarter final from Chris Dobey sees him rise to 26 and will certainly help with Matchplay qualification, Ron Meulenkamp, Glen Durrant, Robert Thornton and Darius Labanauskas all occupy spots in the fifties after their runs this weekend, Harry Ward is just a few hundred points off the top 80, Jose de Sousa is close to the top 90, while Scott Taylor and Ryan Meikle reclaim top 100 spots after good weekends.

We've got the Premier League final this Thursday, not that we care about it, then the Dutch Darts Masters next weekend, before a small break before the World Cup, so next weekend's the only competitive darts in nearly a month, which is a shame. Not even any BDO events to really speak of. At least we have the Development Tour during the World Cup.

Some brief thoughts on Saturday's action

Before I get into Players Championship 15, they're hosting a series of the associate qualifiers in Hildesheim this weekend for the three events that are coming up that aren't in Germany - this seems an understandable if interesting way to do it, it's naturally going to favour the Germans in that they don't need to travel that much for it, and it also has the effect of having a hugely increased turnout compared to some of those where they hold it the day before the event. Got to give props to Mike de Decker for getting through both of them, taking out Diogo Portela twice (sucks for him to prioritise this when he could probably have got into the Pro Tour this weekend), we also saw Cody Harris make one as well as Florian Hempel, who'll make his debut - we saw him in a lot of qualifiers the last couple of years but never got through one, but having made the German Open semi final last month (the one Leighton Bennett made the semi of), only being stopped by the in form Martijn Kleermaker, and getting through this as well, maybe he's hitting a bit of a purple patch. Averages weren't great for Florian outside of a 103 against Erik Tautfest, over 11 legs as well, looking back at the stats they were both helping each other by finishing pretty cleanly with the opponent regularly down on a two darter, nice game lads.

So to Barnsley, and Glen Durrant won his second event - notably in this one, van Gerwen was present and he beat van Gerwen along the way, a 7-2 win in the semi final. He dropped just 15 legs in the event, two whitewashes to start, then three tight 6-4 victories before the van Gerwen game, and then finished off with an 8-1 rout of Darius Labanauskas, looking at his averages it's possible he'd just ran his race by getting over Ron Meulenkamp in the semi final, although the final average is clearly affected by one leg where it took 26 darts to finish it (oddly, this was the one Darius won).

Quite a few surprising runs all round - Ryan Meikle continues his development with a quarter final run, notably taking Peter Wright out early, Pete Hudson, Vincent van der Meer and Nathan Rafferty all won boards (Hudson taking out both Aspinall and de Zwaan, VvdM was able to get a win over Clayton, Rafferty eliminated both Bunting and Barney). In bad days at the office, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis, Mervyn King, Jamie Hughes and Corey Cadby all fell at the first hurdle - Lewis drew an in form Justin Pipe and it went 11 legs, Hughes lost to Barney by the same score, while Cadby's got to consider himself really unlucky - sure, his game against Darren Webster saw a really mediocre performance, but after the first leg against Devon Petersen in the second round, Webster injured himself and eventually withdrew while in a 5-0 hole. Devon was playing alright, but Cadby's got to look at a run of Devon, Dave Pallett then Ron Meulenkamp and think that was a great chance to put points onto the board.

PC16 draw is just out - some standout ties include Ratajski against Monk, Chizzy against Barney, a wild Darren Johnson appearing, which I assumed was a replacement for Webster but he's there against Bradley Brooks, Hopp/McGeeney could be decent, potential second straight White/Dimitri round two tie (if Ian can get past Rafferty), Hughes has Meikle on the same board as Cullen/Razma, West/Woodhouse might be a sleeper decent game, Ross Smith against Darius Labanauskas isn't bad, while Durrant is on Bunting's board, Glen has Tytus Kanik. Other possible second round ties that might be tasty are Dobey/Cadby, Wattimena/Pipe, Searle against either of the Challenge Tour heroes in Edhouse/Gilding, the Darius game winner faces either Wayne Jones or Steve Lennon. Should be a decent event, let's see who pushes on as the Matchplay race gets down to the wire.

Friday 17 May 2019

It's coming home

Wait, it's not THAT World Cup they've just done the draw for? Oh well, that's unfortunate.

Couple of Euro Tour qualifiers are in the bank - let's look at the Euro ones first because they're smaller, nice job by Ratajski and VVDV to get there both times, got to be a bit annoying for de Zwaan to get to the last round twice and fail twice. In the UK, good god that's unfortunate for Hughes to run into Durrant and then lose to Wayne Jones in a local derby. Good for Durrant to get through twice, lower down Luke Woodhouse made it twice which could be important, Kyle Anderson made it twice as well, Joyce got there twice as well, who's been quiet a bit since last season so maybe he can get something going. Good to see that Michael Smith didn't react badly to being in these, getting there twice.

So now that I've made that World Cup reference, let's look at the draw and see how interested I am in each game by likening my interest to an ex-England player. Why not.

Gibraltar v Japan - no Suzuki, Asada and Muramatsu surely too strong. Rating - David Batty
Northern Ireland v South Africa - might be interesting if Petersen shows up and the other guy isn't awful, but probably not. Rating - Matt Le Tissier
New Zealand v Lithuania - Harris vs Labanauskas seems close, their partners might be, ought to be tight. Rating - Ian Wright
Belgium v Hong Kong - Maybe Lam shows up, but I'm guessing not. Probably going to be a mediocre boring win for the seed. Rating - Carlton Palmer
Brazil v Sweden - Supposedly the swansong for Magnus Caris? Could be a tight one, Portela may well be better than either Caris or Nilsson, but his partner probably isn't. Rating - Peter Crouch
Wales v Singapore - LIM! LIM! PRICE! CLAYTON! Rating - Steven "Starfish" Gerrard
Hungary v Germany - Szekely and Vesgo isn't the worst we've seen, but this will be fairly dull. Rating - Paul Parker
Scotland v Denmark - Ando and Wright against Laursen and Heinsoe? Rating - David Nugent

China v USA - We just don't know what might happen here. Anything might happen. Plenty of things could go wrong. It could be brilliant, more likely it'll be awful. Rating - Joey Barton
Italy v Canada - We've got two guys that can't qualify for Euro Tour events, one who I've never heard of, and then two players who aren't great, this could end up being a turgid affair. Rating - Darren Anderton
Poland v Czech Republic - This one might actually be alright. Ratajski/Kanik against Jirkal/Sedlacek? Count me in, it might not be brilliant but it should be entertaining. Rating - Jermaine Defoe
Republic of Ireland v Greece - O'Connor and Lennon may have something, but Michael and whoever isn't Michael, maybe not. Rating - Andros Townsend
England v Philippines - Ilagan and Malicdem isn't awful, but it'd require a huge fuck up from Smith and Cross you'd think. Rating - David Seaman
Austria v Russia - Lerchbacher isn't good, Koltsov is, the other Russian guy I don't know, I'm not seeing anything interesting here. Rating - James Milner
Australia v Finland - Whitlock seems awful, Anderson isn't but just seems to be failing for results, Kantele and Viljanen aren't amazing but will surely be competitive. Rating - Les Ferdinand
Netherlands v Spain - Not a bad one potentially, van Gerwen can only carry things half the time, while Wattimena is better than both Reyes and Alcinas, weird things can happen. Maybe amazing happens, but most likely we get boring commentary. Rating - Steve McManaman

Monday 13 May 2019

Random thoughts

Thank fuck they didn't pick Barney for the World Cup and they did actually go on rankings and select Wattimena. I've said before that I care little for the event, but with the thing giving spots straight into not insignificant ranking money, it needs to be done somewhat transparently.

On the Challenge Tour. The ranking list I popped up in the previous post looks like this - won 2 events, won event (x6), then everyone else. By the time we get to the next Challenge Tour, we've already played another four Pro Tour events, and they'll have already had the entries for two more (PC 19/20 take place three days after CT 9-10/11-12 respectively). So by the time we've got to a stage where any form of consistency comes into play, they've already played two thirds of the Players Championship events.

So while I was thinking that the top heavy payout structure is unfair to those who are playing on a consistent basis and not getting Pro Tour spots in favour of those who bink one event, they're not actually playing Challenge Tour events early enough in the season to make any sort of remodelling take any effect before the season's almost done. So what can we do? I think first, you need to assume that they move some of the Challenge Tour events to earlier in the season before you think of anything - what's to stop them holding back to back weekends with the second weekend during the Masters? Sure, some players may prioritise the Dutch Open (unless, of course, they do what I suggested would be a cool idea and use the Dutch Open venue and run straight before/after while many players are already there), but you'd then have 8 events in the bank. Or swap the first Dev Tour weekend in March with the third weekend of the Challenge Tour in June.

How could we rework the prize fund? I think you need to look at both ends initially - but I don't think you can trim off a round of prize money to bump higher up levels. Players are spending a decent wedge of cash to play these, so allowing a decent percentage of the field to get some return is important. So you need to look at the top end - £2k to the winner and £1k to the runner up is 30% of the prize pool. In comparison, a Players Championship event gives 21% to the top two, a Euro Tour event pays 25%, although that does have a huge jump to the winner. Then again, the winner's cheque is less percentage wise than it is on the Challenge Tour.

I think that the players who are capable of getting to the business end of events would not completely hate lowering the prize money to the top two places a touch. If you changed the prizes to the following:

Win - £1500
R/U - £700
Semi - £500
QF - £350
L16 - £225
L32 - £125
L64 - £50

That'd have the same amount of prize money, but you get move for reaching the last 32 to the quarter finals - this'd have this shift in the top 10:

Stephen Burton 3900
Ritchie Edhouse 2700
Boris Koltsov 2375
Jesus Noguera 2125
Cameron Menzies 2000
Andrew Gilding 1775
Shaun Carroll 1675
Callan Rydz 1650
Darren Beveridge 1625
Dave Prins 1600

It's the same top ten, but in a different order - Gilding now goes up to 6th, and Rydz moves to 8th. Gilding has a final, semi, quarter and last 16 in the bank, while Rydz has a final, quarter, last 16 and three last 32 runs. Both of them seem to be better than binking one and getting either one last 32 run (Beveridge), or one last 32 and one last 64 (Carroll). It's still not going to shift Burton off the top spot - and it shouldn't, winning two should still be huge. Similar with Edhouse, he's got four last 16 or better runs. Koltsov has a semi final as well. If you're binking an event and backing it up in others, you should still be on top, but you can see after just two weekends, that it's allowing players with a bit more consistency to edge up the rankings over those with just the one decent result.

It's also making a lot of people slightly better off in the middle order - the number of players with £1k and £750 is basically the same, but if we scan down a bit more, currently 33 players have £600, which would rise to 39. 46 players have £500, this would rise to 49. 58 players have £400 right now, that would rise to 70. That £400 is an interesting one, as that's the amount you'd need to break even, pre expenses, if you played every event.

It's a pity you can't do a rolling ranking of the last twelve months - because of the way players shift on and off tour cards, it'd shaft those like Burton and Edhouse who'd just come off a tour card run.

Of course, the best thing would be to try to somehow improve the prize money throughout - if they could get to a 2000-1200-800-500-325-200-75 payout structure, which would require a 50% increase in funding (or, to put it another way, half of what they waste in holding the Masters - bin that off and you can do the same to the Development Tour as well), you still get the £2k first prize but every other spot gets a decent bump in funding to boot. Maybe I'll roll it back in 2018 and see what might have changed.

Should just mention Beau Greaves in a bit of a BDO spot. It seems as if she did the double in the Welsh Open weekend of events. By double, I mean the senior events. I wonder what odds you'd get on Greaves/Bennett against any other junior pair in the world...

Sunday 12 May 2019

ET6 aftermath and Challenge Tour roundup

Let's kick off with the Challenge Tour, just for something different - Stephen Burton claimed event 8 with a last leg win in the final over recent Euro Tour candidate Patrick van den Boogaard, which moves him well clear at the top of the Challenge Tour rankings, which look like this:

Stephen Burton 4850
Ritchie Edhouse 3050
Boris Koltsov 2850
Jesus Noguera 2550
Cameron Menzies 2450
Shaun Carroll 2150
Darren Beveridge 2100
Andrew Gilding 2000
Dave Prins 1850
Callan Rydz 1800

That's the top 10 at least, assuming I've not botched any data entry, given how Dart Connect has been playing up this weekend, it's entirely possible. Burton, Edhouse and Koltsov were up there anyway and have basically consolidated their positions, while Noguera and Menzies with their results have pushed their way high enough up on the waiting list for the Pro Tour if there's withdrawals. For Menzies it's been a wait, he's been in the conversation for a long time now as to who's the best player who doesn't have a tour card, so if he's able to get into some events we might have a decent idea of where he really stands. Noguera would be interesting to see, if only because I don't think many of us know really what he can do.

To the European Tour, and Ian White's binked a second title in a deciding leg against Peter Wright - not a classic final by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think either player will really care. White overcame a dogged Steve Beaton with a key break at 5-5, while Wright, after taking down Michael van Gerwen (it works sometimes!) was able to breeze past Jamie Hughes, who looked like he'd completely run out of steam in the semi finals.

On the betting stage, this was a classic, well over two units in the book which has close to eliminated the slide we had in the previous three events. Always got to play the long game - we don't expect every event to go quite as well as this one did, but we can't just look at the last two or three events and assume we don't know what we're doing.

Updated FRH rankings:

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

On the movements - Smith's still keeping the huge chunk of the worlds money intact, whereas Ando's big money is degrading more, that and Ando isn't playing the Euro Tour has allowed Smith to chip away. White's win bumps him well above Chizzy, he was ahead by the semi final stage and is only about 3,000 points off Suljovic for the top 10. Beaton's semi final and continual solid form gets him (back?) up into the top 20 over the absent Wattimena.

Lower down, de Zwaan climbs another place up to 24 over John Henderson, Jamie Hughes is now into the top 70, and Mark McGeeney is now solidly into the top 100.

We're now calming down a touch - we've got another pair of Players Championship events next weekend, then a Dutch Euro Tour event the weekend after, but after that it's a weekend off, then the World Cup, so we can finally relax a touch.

ET6 quarter finals

Not a bad little session that, three hits out of three outside of the lay MvG punt - obviously Richardson didn't turn up at all, was always a risk. This gives us quarter finals of White/de Zwaan, Beaton/Webster, Aspinall/Hughes and Wright/van Gerwen, what do we like?

White/de Zwaan's priced pretty evenly, generally 10/11 pick your poison - this looks to be on the money, I've got Jeffrey as ever so slightly favoured, but not enough where 10/11 would be as much as breakeven. Avoid, maybe do what we did the other week where we see who wins the bull and take them to win 6-5.

Beaton/Webster is equally hard to separate in the market, almost everyone pricing them the same with whatever vig they want to run with, where there is a slight difference it's in favour of Beaton. This looks like a good spot to bet on Steve, 0.25u Beaton 10/11, he's been playing much more impressive darts all around all season, and while Darren's played alright today in nicking it over Price, he didn't do that great against van der Voort - Beaton's had three very good games.

Now we get into games where oddschecker is lagging behind - Hughes is, maybe oddly, priced as around a 60/40 dog. The model has it the other way. There's no real consistency issue, and while Aspinall's been doing it on a larger sample size, I can't even start to think about avoiding this one - can't look at everywhere but 0.25u Hughes 6/4 on at least Paddy Power and Chandlers, if you can see better, obviously take better.

Finally it's van Gerwen against Wright, Peter generally in the region of 7/2. The model thinks this is closer, much closer, but is Wright terminally damaged against MvG after Thursday? Wright's not beaten van Gerwen in a ranking event since, er, the final of this two years ago, when it was 6-0. 0.1u Wright 7/2, what the hell.

Jesus Noguera (who he?) won Challenge Tour 7 over Mark Walsh - Stephen Burton made a semi to put him second in the rankings behind Edhouse, Callan Rydz had another decent run to push into the top 10 - we've got the seven event winners then Gilding, Rydz and a three way tie between Prins/Taylor/Rafferty. I do think they need to rethink how they allocate spots in the Pro Tour, the event is so top heavy that it's not really rewarding the consistency of the likes of Gilding and Rydz. Either they need to rework the prize money, or rework the allocation and not just go on straight countback. I'll have a think about how they could do some things better and maybe post during the week.

ET6 round 3 bets

Not a bad day at all yesterday - everything apart from Dobey and Hopp hit, the Dobey one stung given he missed a match dart in three legs (although it was only Gurney missing three himself that gave him the third dart), but can't be too angry given how things went overall. Think we should have bet on Dolan, who took it to a deciding leg - I've not been on Twitter since yesterday afternoon, but that's probably sparked more "MvG streak of deciding legs omg" posts, which wouldn't be there if van Gerwen was playing anything like his normal self and finishing off these types of games 6-3 or better as he used to do.

Quick look elsewhere, de Zwaan finally got there against Cross to open up that side of the draw, not that it makes it that much easier though, Zonneveld offered more resistance against Wright than I thought he would, but that's mostly Peter letting him, Richardson also got home against King, so what do we have today?

White (8/15) v Brown (13/8) - Brown was one of our bets yesterday and looked very comfortably against Ricky Evans, while White was forced to all 11 legs by Dimitri, who couldn't break in eighteen darts, missing one dart for a 128 out then making a huge hash of the 20 that was left. As an aside, I hate hate hate White going bull route on 132 with Dimitri waiting on tens for the match, I don't like it at the best of times but you have to assume you're not coming back and to maximise your chance of going out, which is T20 then double double. This line looks alright, White's a favourite but only in the low 60's.

de Zwaan (6/5) v Smith (8/11) - Mentioned Jeffrey above, Smith finally got a win in a good game with Ratajski, the standard numbers could have been even higher but both had pretty mediocre double percentages. Think this is another game where the line looks alright, I've got Smith as a tiny favourite and there's enough vig there that we can't consider betting de Zwaan.

Beaton (4/5) v Searle (11/10) - Steve got through Suljovic in a deciding leg, perhaps a bit fortunate to do so given Suljovic missed two clean at his favourite route in the decider (and one at bull in the previous leg for the same 121 he'd hit to break two legs prior). Searle got a bye, never sure whether this helps or hinders, he'll be fresher but one eleven leg match in a day isn't exactly a huge workload and the break may just end up disrupting rhythm. 0.25u Beaton 4/5, Ryan had a good win on Friday but Steve's had two good wins and is generally playing the better darts all year, the model is thinking this is a two in three chance for Beaton, so 4/5? Yes please.

Price (1/3) v Webster (5/2) - Gerwyn got past Carlin as expected, for the loss of just the one leg might be a bit easier than we thought but it is what it is, Webster needed all 11 to beat van der Voort, possibly a bit lucky in that Vincent, in the decider, started 180 but then couldn't leave a finish after 12 darts (which simple fat 20's would have done), so Webster was allowed to hold in six visits for the game. Gerwyn being about 1/3 looks fair enough to me. I'd probably edge it up to 3/10, but that's nitpicking, really can't see Darren being able to make the evening session here.

Gurney (8/11) v Aspinall (5/4) - We've talked about the Gurney game earlier, Nathan got past Max Hopp in what started out as a bit of a break fest before he took control. Market has this close and is slightly favouring Daryl, this seems wrong to me, 0.25u Aspinall 5/4, I've mentioned the consistency being on Daryl's side so the model probably underrates him, but it wasn't exactly wrong against Dobey, and if it's spitting out Aspinall to win 60% of the time, it'd need one heck of an adjustment.

Hughes (4/7) v McGeeney (17/10) - Big shot for both to make the evening session, Hughes got an early break against Lewis where he had eight perfect and then held the game from there, Mark needed a bit of luck against Cullen, 5-4 down he broke in 18 darts (on the bull) then held for the match, Joe's scoring going to pieces when it mattered. 0.25u Hughes 4/7, Jamie's been playing consistently better all season and the model is thinking a fair line would be 1/3, so let's get on it again. This might even be worth a slightly bigger play to be honest.

Wright (8/15) v Clayton (37/20) - Strange line setting, Sportingbet really loving Peter Wright. We mentioned he had problems with Zonneveld, Clayton's game with Ross Smith went with throw except for one break that Jonny got to claim a 6-4 win. Model is thinking this is near 60/40 in favour of Wright, I think you can probably get away with having something on the Sportingbet line but with everyone else being more or less where the model states, I don't know how sure you'll be to get on.

van Gerwen (1/10) v Richardson (15/2) - James is at 18.7% for this one, so that's 7% more than needed for it to be a break even bet. Let's do a checklist - did van Gerwen play well yesterday? No. Did Richardson play well the last two days? Yes. Do we believe Richardson will bottle it if he does get into a position to get home? Maybe, but 0.1u Richardson 15/2, it was nearly there against Dolan and I'd hate to miss out on the time van Gerwen losing does happen.

Quick note on the Challenge Tour, Darren Beveridge and Cameron Menzies got the titles, I've not backfilled the rankings yet so don't know where that'd put them in terms of countback to fill Pro Tour spots but it obviously helps, elsewhere Callan Rydz had a final and I think a last 16 (DartConnect for event 6 is a bit fucked up), Gilding had one as well, Andy Jenkins went deep both days, and Boris Koltsov was able to make another semi final which added on to a previous win can only help him in the rankings. Two more events today.

I might be back later, but I might watch the Premier League final day. Unsure yet.

Saturday 11 May 2019

ET6 round 2 bets

Only the fifteen games today (as previously mentioned, James Wade's withdrawn so Ryan Searle gets a bye), let's take a look:

Smith (4/7) v Ratajski (6/4) - Rematch from earlier in the year, important one for Smith who really needs to bank some ranking money. Ratajski had a bit more trouble with Robert Owen than I thought he might have had, but got home 6-4 yesterday. Line's looking decent, I've got Krzysztof at just over 40%, so while there's not enough value to recommend a bet, if you're feeling the Pole's form and Michael's lack of it in Europe, then I won't stop you.

Cullen (8/11) v McGeeney (5/4) - Tough match for both, Mark got through Josh Payne in a decent game, Cullen in Europe is always strong, well apart from last week anyway. The model can't split them, it's 50/50 right down the line. Wouldn't recommend a McGeeney bet though, 5/4 isn't huge and the model's looking at all games, factor in Joe playing a bit better on the Euro stage than on the floor and the edge ought to vanish.

Clayton (4/6) v Smith (7/5) - Ross Smith had the interesting challenge of Pero Ljubic to deal with yesterday, who to be fair had his moments with a 157 out and held his own for a while before Ross pulled away late. Both players have been quietly good, this is an important one for Smith as he's in the Matchplay cutoff fight (well, everything's important from here on out really), but with Peter Wright being a possible opponent it's not a bad chance to make a run. Might be small value on Clayton here, I'm seeing 65%, we need 60%, if there was a slight bit more edge or slightly better odds then I'd probably go with the Ferret, it's that close.

King (8/13) v Richardson (6/4) - Mervyn got in as the last seed following Chizzy withdrawing in good time (unlike others), so this is for the chance to probably rematch MvG from the UK Open. James got through Edgar 6-3, pretty good performance actually, with 5 maximums, 50% on outs and a near 96 conventional average. Line looks good yet again sadly, I've got Richardson at 35%, maybe tiny King value but 8/13 versus 65% isn't anything huge, particularly given his opponent looks to be playing better than his usual stuff.

Evans (4/5) v Brown (11/10) - Keegan got past Daniel Klose 6-3, who was able to get back into it, going from 3-1 down to 3-3 before Brown pulled away, now Brown faces recent finalist Evans - and I think we have a first bet - 0.25u Brown 11/10, the model's showing Keegan at 55%, so it's just about enough. I always think that having played on the stage on the Friday and winning will give you a little bit of extra help, the bet's there without that but it can't hurt.

White (8/11) v van den Bergh (6/5) - White's been in the past couple of finals and is looking for the hat trick, Dimitri has been real up and down, but was fairly in the middle in a routine win over Rasztovits yesterday. White's kind of tempting - the model's close to what the line says, but Dimitri has much, much more variance and the model's reliant on won legs - which is usually when Dimitri turns up, which has been rare of late.

Price (1/4) v Carlin (7/2) - Gerwyn's the seed for Gavin, who got past Dragutin Horvat and a partisan crowd yesterday without really hitting any huge heights. Needless to say he's got nothing to lose, but it's a much higher test and I'm seeing Gerwyn up at 88% to win the game, so 1u Price 1/4, Carlin didn't show anything yesterday that made me think he can up his game enough to really trouble the potential Premier League playoff contender.

Cross (1/2) v de Zwaan (7/4) - We've talked about this one a few times, Cross kept his hopes of topping the Premier League table very much alive on Thursday, yesterday Jeffrey got through Bellmont 6-2, nice couple of legs to finish, back to back twelves with a 121 then a 156 out (nice of him to go bull first on the former despite Stefan being on a gettable out, Jeffrey thinks a good game as well as playing one). They've had enough practice in getting the line right for this one and I think they've done it again, I don't have Cross quite at a two in three shot, but it's near enough there's no value on de Zwaan.

Webster (13/10) v van der Voort (8/11) - The seed's the underdog here. Not surprising, Vincent's up there in the stats, even if the results may not show it, and Darren's game probably isn't quite at the level it was twelve months ago. Vincent beat Dave Prins yesterday after going a break down early, so nice fightback, the model's showing the same sort of analysis as the market, with Webster being a small dog, so let's move on.

Gurney (4/7) v Dobey (13/8) - Real nice display from Chris yesterday, firing in a big average as he whitewashed the potentially dangerous Madars Razma. Gurney's up next, and such is the level of Chris's play this year, the model spits him out as a favourite. 0.25u Dobey 13/8, if you're not confident after yesterday you'll never be.

Suljovic (8/15) v Beaton (7/4) - Steve got past Bunting 6-4 yesterday in a game that was decided by just the one break, and it doesn't get any easier as he faces Mensur next, but Beaton's been playing great this year. Really, really good. It's another game, like the last one, where he projects as the favourite, so 0.25u Beaton 7/4. Now Gurney and Suljovic are both very high on the consistency stakes, but neither is going to swing enough that they're not still solid bets.

Lewis (8/11) v Hughes (13/10) - Probably not the draw that Adie would want, as Jamie lost just the one leg in beating the domestic qualifier Pietreczko, wasn't spectacular stuff as we've seen but it didn't need to be. Adie's been doing fine this year, he's even won a title, but Hughes has been playing so well that it's not a surprise that the model shows him as a favourite to win, and a substantial one at that - 0.25u Hughes 13/10. I'd probably still think about firing if the odds were the other way around.

Hopp (6/4) v Aspinall (4/6) - Nathan breezed past Kim Viljanen and now faces Max Hopp in a repeat of the world youth final from several years ago, it's probably one of Hopp's last events as a seed, if not the last event, so he's got to make it count. I think he can - 0.25u Hopp 6/4, Max's figures are remarkably similar to Nathan's this season and there's little to separate the two. The model certainly makes it 50/50 in any case so we're snapping off 6/4.

van Gerwen (1/9) v Dolan (7/1) - Brendan got past Rosenauer yesterday, wasn't brilliant but he wasn't missing doubles much and the last two legs he picked up the standard nicely. Dolan has course and distance, but isn't quite showing high enough to take the stab against MvG. That van Gerwen was on fire on Thursday is probably reason enough not to tip Brendan here.

Wright (1/10) v Zonneveld (15/2) - Finally we have the guy van Gerwen demolished, and he's up against Niels Zonneveld, the young Dutchman getting past Michael Hurtz in a scrappy affair, I wouldn't read too much into the averages given they got into a pub level "who can bust 4 or 2 the most" leg which'll drag things down a bit. There's no way we can consider betting Wright at that price at this stage against anyone competent enough to have got a card, but as the model is throwing out Wright at around 90% to win it, we can't back Niels either.

So we have Brown, Price, and then four games where we're firing on small underdogs in the market. A bit more to have a go at today at least.

Friday 10 May 2019

European Tour qualifiers

Not going to talk much about tonight's event - Beaton got the win for our bets, nice, Durrant didn't, oh well, but Ryan Searle was finishing extremely well so give him credit for taking the chances he got. What I am going to talk about is the comments that Vincent van der Voort made in relation to the European Tour qualifiers.

Basically, the gist of what he was saying is that all players in the tour card qualifiers should play together. To give an idea of what's changed this year, whereas previously you'd have 8 European qualifier spots for an event, usually holding a couple the day before an event, then 4 home nation qualifiers the day before an event. There's still 18 UK qualifying spots and then 1 for each of the Nordic and Eastern Europe tours, but aside from possible Challenge Tour eligibility for the UK qualifiers, and some tour card holders having two chances in the Nordic events, for the most part it's unchanged.

Now you have 6 spots for all European (oddly not non-UK/Ireland, I think for example Murschell has needed to play the UK qualifier) tour card holders, then 4 for domestic qualifiers and 2 for associate European members.

This has really changed things for quite a lot of players. For German tour card holders, they've been seriously fucked over, especially someone like Christian Bunse who's just grabbed a card, probably too early, but now he's being passed over for a lot of fairly mediocre domestic qualifiers. For other European card holders, it's similarly bad, but not quite as bad, but they now have two less spots and, theoretically, a harder field as you don't have quite as much chance of running into an associate or otherwise fun player, and essentially getting a free win for a round.

On the other hand, if you've not got a tour card, it's incredible, but at least for the associate qualifier, it's resulting in very few players turning up (there were 15 yesterday, I think there were 12 in a previous one - and this is for two spots). The standard is not good, the standard for domestic qualifiers is worse (interested to see how it runs out when we hit the Netherlands), and it hugely dilutes the fields for the event proper, and squeezes out a bunch of otherwise good players that would make it.

I can kind of see why they have done it - for someone like a Jan Dekker, Ron Meulenkamp, Ronny Huybrechts etc, it would suck to need to trek to Gibraltar, Riesa, Prague or anywhere for that matter (while continental Europe looks close together, it really isn't, I feel for whoever were the away fans in the Freiburg/Kiel midweek cup game in football earlier this year, look it up on Google Maps to get the idea) only to not qualify, so having a qualifier somewhere they will theoretically going anyway to play the Pro Tour would reduce the expenses. But is it really that big a deal? I'm not so sure. I think Vincent's right, if you're getting all the tour card holders in the same place to qualify, have them all play in the same qualifier. Let the cream rise, regardless of where they're from. If you're wanting to push Euros into the event to get a greater blend of nationalities, then maybe just punt the top 2-4 non UK players in the Pro Tour OOM straight through into round one without needing to qualify. But if they're that high, they surely make it through anyway.

Bets for round 2 in the morning. The potential of a Wade/Durrant match for the ages is screwed given that Durrant didn't win, and Wade's withdrawn anyway. Not a bad result for Searle!

Thursday 9 May 2019

ET6 round 1 bets

0.25u Beaton 6/5 vs Bunting, think this should at a minimum be the other way around

0.25u Durrant 8/15 vs Searle, this could easily be 2/5, 4/11, I'm seeing 75/25 this season albeit Searle has a touch more consistency

That's literally it. There's so many home nation/associate qualifiers I don't know, and then plenty of games where the line either looks good, or there's not quite enough there, or there's some underlying reason why I don't want to go with the model, usually consistency (e.g. it's loving Razma and van den Bergh).

6 things to watch for in ET6

1) Will we get another van Gerwen/White final?

Certainly possible, still in separate halves after all, but plenty of hurdles to clear. White will likely get Dimitri in the first game, which is no pushover unless we see the Dimitri we did last time out, while Brendan Dolan isn't the easiest tie van Gerwen could have got. White's potential quarter final in particular looks quite nasty later on.

2) How will the ex-BDO guys do?

Still a talking point near to midway through the season, going to chuck Hughes in here as it's his first year with a card. Durrant has Ryan Searle, which'll be a solid test, before James Wade, which'll be the same. Hughes gets a home nation qualifier and then Adrian Lewis, which ought to be explosive, while Mark McGeeney, on his first time in one of these things, gets Josh Payne and then Joe Cullen if he wins, which ought to put down a decent marker of where he's at.

3) Can the players on the slide step up?

Michael Smith's in a big slide in the Pro Tour rankings, to the point where he's looking like he'll be out of the seeds for the next couple of Euro Tours. Which is odd, given that he's now surpassed Anderson in the FRH rankings for #3 in the world. With Whitlock not being here, Hopp going to drop from the seeds soon, and the likes of Darren Webster and Joe Cullen sliding a bit, it's a bit of a logjam to stay in the seeds with plenty of players such as Wattimena, Ratajski, Aspinall, Beaton and de Zwaan all on the rise.

4) How will Gavin Carlin do?

Gavin raised a few eyebrows after coming through Q-School, and quickly caught a bit of attention by cashing the UK Open and reaching a quarter final early in his career. He's cooled off a bit since the UK Open but it's his first time here, how will he adapt to the big stage?

5) Who'll advance through the big first round games?

Some belters potentially. Beaton against Bunting has a bit of everything, we've touched on Duzza/Searle and McGeeney/Payne, Chris Dobey against Madars Razma has the potential to be a 200+ combined average if both show up, Ratajski ought to get past Robert Owen but the Welshman can certainly bring a decent game, there's a similar tale for Aspinall against Viljanen, while Matt Edgar against James Richardson ought to be a tough matchup, with the winner facing King in what could be the same.

6) Rematches and narratives everywhere!

Ratajski, if he wins, will play Michael Smith in a redo from two months ago. Cross has run into de Zwaan yet again, assuming Jeffrey beats some Swiss guy I've never heard of. I mentioned Dolan, he could get van Gerwen, in round two, and round about this time last year Dolan was one of the few players to take a game off MvG on the European Tour. Keegan Brown could play Ricky Evans in a repeat of their semi final from a few weeks ago. If Aspinall does beat Viljanen, he'd play Hopp - a repeat of their world youth final.

Bets will follow later when lines are up.

Monday 6 May 2019

Back up, back up, tell me what you're gonna do now

The cool thing about the software that I use to produce my predictions and stats is that it's really easy to mess about with different stuff to see trends and the like, so I thought why not see what I could do to create a rolling average. So here it is:

I've changed the formatting of Cross and Wright's lines to dotted for a bit of clarity where colours might be a bit too similar. Let's explain what this graph is showing. In my database, every single leg that's been played (for those who care about these sorts of things, it's currently at around 44,000 after I've filtered it down to just the past twelve months). So I can say for any given match, this player has scored this number of points in this number of visits, and calculate points per turn for that date. Then, using science, I can plot a date axis and tell the program to calculate it for everything 60 days prior to each point on the axis. Hence you get a rolling score of how everyone's done in the last two months.

The period from around mid-January to mid-February looks a bit weird, but if you think about it, it's explainable - there were no competitive darts between the end of November and the start of February, except for the World Championship - so you'll see Suljovic and Price drop off a cliff during that period, for obvious reasons. But one thing that's also interesting to note is the enormous gap between van Gerwen and the field at the back end of 2018, where he was playing some incredible darts, which has all but been eroded since then - for that time in February to March where he was winning for fun and not missing much, Price was rated higher. Cross is now rated slightly higher. Also note the steady rise of Wade as he's got better and better over the last six months or so.

I'd plot some trendlines but the graph is crowded enough as it is already, but you'd look at Wade, Cross, Wright and Price and they're pointing up. Gurney, Suljovic and Smith (if you flattened out the peak he had during the worlds) are roughly level. That just leaves van Gerwen - floating around over 98 for the first half of the graph, but in the 96-97 area since? That's going in the opposite direction. Maybe this is why I seem to be betting against MvG quite as often as I have been doing...

Sunday 5 May 2019

ET5 done

And it's another win for van Gerwen - although not without a couple of scares, both Peter Wright in the quarters and Ian White in the final took him to deciding legs, but he came through both times. Would be nice if someone did pick him off in a deciding leg, if only so that commentators shut the fuck up about it not happening since 1854 or whenever he last lost one.

Semi finalists were James Wade and Daryl Gurney, both got through their quarters in fairly close ones - Gurney 6-5 on the throw for the most of it (remember me saying in the previous post go for whoever wins the bull 6-5? Nice little earner that), Wade nicking the throw at 3-3 and holding out from there against Price. Only evening session not mentioned was Beaton/White, it was competitive for the first three legs then not so much.

New FRH rankings:

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

Just the one move, despite there being two Players Championship events since the last update. Lots of people close though - Smith would have been #3 with just a single win at any point, Lewis was one win away from getting past Clayton, same with Cullen over Webster.

Lower down, de Zwaan following his win is into the top 25 and should be able to overtake John Henderson pretty quickly, maybe Steve West on current results can quickly be reeled in as well. Willie O'Connor following his win sits at #47, a couple of decent results for Labanauskas leaves him just outside of the top 60. Arron Monk is up to #85, after a good week both Tytus Kanik and Boris Koltsov are into the top 100, Mark McGeeney's just one spot outside, and Harry Ward following his quarter final is less than 2000 points from the top 100.

I've got nothing I particularly want to write about right now, I think I'll take a few days just watching the Champions League and then maybe come up with something about the Challenge Tour ahead of the second weekend, where the rankings will get shaken up a bit.

ET5 quarters

Internet connection seems to be playing like it's the 1990's so I'll be brief here, much like the last event it's one with a lot of huge names in the quarters, all the matchups seem close except for the van Gerwen one, for the afternoon bets it's just Bunting not turning up, it happens, what do we have tonight?

0.1u Wright 4/1, this shouldn't be a surprise given I've just made a huge post about how we might be able to profit from laying MvG continually, none of the numbers in that post are going to have changed much at all with the addition of a handful of legs.

Nothing on Lewis/Gurney. This is an incredibly tight game, the two of them on points per turn for the year are separated by 0.02, Lewis is about half a point higher on winning legs (which in turn means the model gives him the slight 54/46 edge), but Gurney's a point higher on losing legs, which might reign things in slightly. Their performances have been fairly comparable this weekend, I'm just trying to talk myself out of a Lewis bet. Gurney beat the world's best on Thursday and will want to have the opportunity to do it again. There, will that do? Maybe just see who wins the bull and go 6-5 correct score for them.

0.25u Price 6/5, this one is a bit different. We're getting slightly better odds, Price is a couple of percentage points higher in win chances than Lewis was, Price is actually more consistent, I suppose the concern is that Wade was absolutely on fire against Suljovic earlier, at least in the first five legs, but that's but one game and Price has all the motivation to avenge the defeat on Thursday.

Nothing on the last game. Beaton's 13/10 best price, which is needing around a 44% requirement. I'm seeing 48%, and he definitely played a lot better today than White did (although did White need to play that well to beat Brown?), and was probably slightly better yesterday as well. Steve can certainly take this and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he did, or at least forced things to go all the way, but there's not quite enough of an edge to start punting, although keep an eye on the line and don't hesitate if you see it get out to 6/4 or something like that.

Won't be about for the semis or the final, you've got all the van Gerwen lines you need, and can derive what Wright should be from the same lines, in the other half Price/Beaton looks about 64/36 Price, Price/White about 61/39 Price, while Wade/White is around 55/45 Wade and Wade/Beaton is 57/43 Wade. Happy punting people.

Let's bet against the best player in the world

It seems as if over the past few months, I've been betting against Michael van Gerwen with increasing frequency - if I look back through my entire spreadsheet of bets (which, at least if you look at the sidebar on the left in desktop view, I've only actually backed van Gerwen nine times - three of them were in the worlds (vs Lewis, Hopp and Anderson), another two were against Anderson (in the Grand Slam and Players Championship semi finals), then you need to go back to the 2017 Matchplay (against Bunting) before I bet him again.

Meanwhile, I've bet against him 29 times - nine times in the Euro Tour alone (all of them lost except the Keegan Brown win), then before that in the Grand Slam (yes, I was on Clayton in the group stage), another four times in the Euro Tour (getting a win through Ian White in the one that Hopp won), then it gets to pre-Dart Connect ages where I had very little data to work with, or no data and was basically winging it, so probably not overly relevant going forward.

Something jumps out straight away - why are we betting van Gerwen in mostly longer games, but laying him in shorter games? How much of a difference does game length make? Fortunately my data model can demonstrate this - first, let's take the last twelve months of data and see how things vary with van Gerwen against Cross:

This is what gets spit out of the master computer - you'll see that if they were to play in the Euro Tour right now, the model thinks van Gerwen would win two out of three, but if they were to play in the final of the Matchplay now, van Gerwen would win over 10% more often. Now let's try against someone a bit further down the pecking order, to see what the shift is like there:

I've picked a random in form player for this year, and included the date slider that I have to show that I'm using just this year - it swings a bit more, but it's not by that much more - 14% as opposed to 11%. What about if we pick someone who isn't in form:

It's the same kind of story really. Where the difference in match format doesn't alter things as much is where the players are extremely close to begin with - this year, MvG is at 51.37% in a best of 11 against Gerwyn Price, but 52.49% in a Matchplay final. Similarly, if the opponent has next to no chance to even win a best of 11, there's not much winning chances to be reduced in the first place (Michael Barnard's figures were, shall we say, interesting). Could it be the case that bookmakers aren't correctly adjusting for the increased variance that there is in a short course format? Maybe, but given that outside of the worlds there aren't actually any games that get to a very long format for more than the quarter finals onwards (Grand Prix as well I guess, but that's double in and an entirely different beast), maybe it's the other way around and they don't shorten the van Gerwen price enough in a long event. I did look back at some of the worlds posts, and did see that van Gerwen was 1/25 in the game against Joyce, which is probably one of the few games that we'd see van Gerwen play in a long format against someone who isn't also pretty decent, what'd he be priced up as if he played Joyce in the next Euro Tour they're in?

Let's look at that Monk figure. If we were to say that is actually 25% to make it a round number, that would equate to a fair price of 3/1. But when was the last time that anyone saw a van Gerwen opponent priced up that short on the Euro Tour? This year I've bet on the following in the Euro Tour:

Mervyn King (13/2)
Jermaine Wattimena (6/1)
Keegan Brown (17/2)
Krzysztof Ratajski (17/2)
Dimitri van den Bergh (5/1)
Raymond van Barneveld (11/2)
Nathan Aspinall (7/2)
Steve Lennon (7/1)
Stephen Bunting (6/1)

Only Aspinall out of those is even close to a 3/1 price, and I think you'd consider all of these players to be at the very least on par with Monk right now.

Let's take a bunch of top 50's - the top 50 in the Order of Merit, the (active) top 50 in the FRH rankings, the top 50 in PPT this season, and the top 50 on the FDI (who's also provided win chances against van Gerwen for his top 100 players), and see what our two projection systems would give them against van Gerwen, and then convert to odds. We'll use decimal (if you don't get decimal odds, google a converter) because it's easier in Excel obv:

Where a ranking is in red, it's because they didn't make the (active, where applicable, hence Ross Smith not being red in the FRH column because Taylor's still drakking around in the 30's) top 50 non-MvG ranking for that particular section. Lendel shipped me the percentages for the top 100 in his ranking, but Lewis, Norris and van de Pas were all outside (at 127, 181 and 185 respectively as far as I can see) - so I've assigned them what the number 100 was projected to be, but if you're thinking of betting on any of those three at all, you're nuts, so it may just be as easy to chuck them out of the data whatsoever. There's not going to be a huge difference between 6.4% and the actual figure anyway.

You'll see that of the players that I bet on, the market price was in the region of 6/1, with some slight variations - that's 7.00 in decimal (the quick conversion is to add one to the first figure then divide it by the second). Peter Wright's 9/2 (so 5.5) for his game this evening (which means the bet on Bunting lost obv). Splitting the difference between our two methods, it's only the very bottom few players where you'd consider not betting on them if offered 6/1 - on my rankings, it's basically nobody.

You'll note that I'm getting much higher winning chances than Lendel is for the non-MvG player - significantly so in some cases. There's a few possible reasons for this - firstly, as far as I can tell, the Elo system is just using wins and losses, maybe also adjusting for size of victory - so it's not picking up that van Gerwen's been pretty ordinary in an awful lot of matches, but he's still been getting the cake in more or less everything he's entered, so his Elo rating will be staying high in relation to the competition.

Secondly, I'm just using data from this season - where not only has van Gerwen not been playing that well, so his overall figures will be down, he's also possibly been running bad - his consistency score is much better than the database average, because his losing average is that high, over 95 - a point and a half higher than anyone in the database, and three points higher than anyone not called Price, Cross or Hughes (with a 100 leg minimum in 2019, only 18 players are even over 90). This'll have the knock-on effect of possibly underrating MvG in games against almost anyone, although Gurney, Payne, Suljovic, Searle, Monk, Dobey, Huybrechts, Clemens, Klaasen (really), Adie and Labanauskas all have better consistency ratings than van Gerwen. van Gerwen's Elo at the start of the season will have been pretty high on account of just having binked the worlds, it is not as if everyone is starting on 1500 from the start of 2019.

Thirdly, I assume Lendel incorporates the Premier League and the Masters into his dataset, whereas I don't include any unranked events. van Gerwen winning the Masters and doing decently enough in the Premier League isn't going to have harmed his rating significantly.

It is interesting to see where our projections don't differ by much - Anderson is I guess because of a small sample size where he's not been great, so his numbers are lower than they should be. That clump of players between Aspinall and Lewis - Beaton excepted - all of them have perfectly fine consistency scores, which may be reflected in Lendel's ratings putting them closer to mine than they otherwise would be. Whitlock being fairly close in odds? I'm not sure how quickly Elo can fall, you can only lose one game in a tournament, so if you're able to get a scrappy win before going out, put together a run out of nowhere, or when losing you lose to decent players, maybe your Elo doesn't adjust quickly enough for the level of actual play you're putting in. On the flip side, look at Steve West - he's not actually been playing bad darts, his points per turn, overall, has been around where his overall ranking is, he's just been a bit unlucky with some close results and draws, that'll end up dropping his Elo a bit.

So do we just bet against MvG until further notice? If you're just using my figures, then go for it. Lendel's figures end up giving a bit of a closer line to the actual market, but compared to prices you actually see, they're still in the range of it being anywhere from a slightly decent bet to at least not a significant mistake (he'd have Lennon, Bunting and Wright at 15/2, 5/1 and 4/1, compared to the 7/1, 6/1 and 9/2 that's generally available). I'm not seeing anything to suggest stopping betting against MvG if our opponent is somewhat competent, at the very worst, if we assume that the bookmakers know what they're doing and are actually pricing things up correctly, if we assume that they want to limit potential liabilities by putting van Gerwen shorter than he should be on name value alone, then as long as we have enough books to choose from that there's not huge vig, then taking the best price we have on the other guy can't really be a mistake.

Finally, no, that 1.88 isn't a typo in the Cross row. On this year's data Cross projects to win the game - just.