Sunday 30 June 2019


From a post back in April:

I'm occasionally right about things guys

So Jamie Hughes binked his maiden (main tour) PDC title, got into every major as a result, left James Wilson to choke on his biscuits, and dumped Glen Durrant out of the Grand Slam as things stand. Not a bad day's work really. Most of the semi finalists were surprises - Simon Whitlock got there after all as far as we're concerned, but as far as the market was concerned Stephen Bunting, the defeated finalist, and Keegan Brown were both surprises, not to us who just banked the money and locked up a small profit for the tournament.

New FRH rankings:

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

Bunting didn't need to make the final to pass Hopp, but it certainly helped opening up a bit of a cushion. Smith continues to close in on Cross but continued early failures keep him from getting up to number 2. Keegan Brown punches into the top 30 with his semi final run, Jamie Hughes is just four places outside of the top 50 following his maiden senior PDC title. For the home nation fans, Karel Sedlacek is only five spots outside of the top 100, but is going to be hugely reliant on qualifying for the remaining European events if he wants to make any progress. But hey, he's not far off the European Championship qualification spots, if he can punch a ticket in the remaining qualifiers and get out of the first round, who knows?

ET9 quarter finals - got to be some sort of Mastercard pun in there

As it's apparently priceless, boom boom. Not really what we wanted after Wattimena was a bit below par and Gilding completely failed to turn up, but it's made it somewhat open with us having Brown/Suljovic, Bunting/Gurney, White/Hughes (again) and King/Whitlock, so no, even if Price hadn't have cocked it up we wouldn't have had the dream match up with Cadby. That's dropped back what we had made in the round of 32 and leaves us down a fifth of a unit for the tournament.

It's now wide open, and unless Gurney or White get a second or third Euro Tour title of the year respectively, the winner's going to dump Durrant out of the Grand Slam and claim the provisional sixteenth spot as things stand, so a lot to play for. In terms of the Matchplay it's now very simple - Brown and van der Voort have clinched, and it's Wilson as the last one in unless Hughes binks it all, which given the field we have left and the way he's playing isn't a ridiculous concept at all. Who's going to get through to the semi finals?

Brown/Suljovic - Keegan got rid of Noppert pretty comfortably, Danny clawed his way back in a bit but was too far behind at that stage. Suljovic was in a bit of a hole against Evetts, but Ted then lost five straight and Mensur advanced. 0.25u Brown 8/5, I think this a fair bit closer and, while Suljovic is still the favourite in projections, he's only just over 50% - Brown's comfortably over the 40% we need here.

Bunting/Gurney - Stephen opened up a huge lead, but Dobey clawed it back from 4-0 to 4-4, then on throw neither could hold out so Bunting moves on. Gurney only lost one leg against Wattimena, who either couldn't score, or couldn't hit doubles when he did score. Not great. Bookies favour Gurney, I can't see a great deal between them at all, it's only Gurney's consistency that gives him a higher overall average, on winning legs they're extremely close to the point they project basically 50/50. As such, 0.25u Bunting 7/4.

White/Hughes - Ian didn't need to do much against Andrew Gilding who simply lost all ability to score and only hit one 140 in the whole match. Hughes was in a bit of a tussle with Ron Meulenkamp, Ron having some good timing to keep it close at 3-3 before Hughes pulled away. The market has this rightly close and I think whoever gets this one wins the event (assuming Hughes has improved his pacing since the last run he made on the Euro Tour), they've got White as a small favourite, I've got Hughes as a small favourite, but they're both so small there's nothing in it. Wouldn't blame anyone betting on Hughes if they wanted to though.

King/Whitlock - Mervyn edged out Cadby 6-4 in the King-off, Corey not really being on his game and only having a couple of holds that looked convincing legs throughout. Whitlock beat Price 6-3, disappointing performance from Gerwyn who basically started too slowly and then, after breaking to get it back on throw, threw the game straight back to Simon who took it from there. This one's only coming through with lines just now, but 365 are giving 0.25u King 11/10, which on a 60/40 looks pretty sweet.

ET9 last 16 bets

As you may have noticed, I posted up the projections in the previous post, so let's quickly blast through the games:

Brown/Noppert - no bet, Noppie's 5/6, looks an extremely accurate line
Suljovic/Evetts - no bet, it's quite close to a bet on Evetts but we've not even got 7/4, we need better than that
Bunting/Dobey - no bet, Dobey's the slight favourite, I think he's the slight favourite, nothing here
Gurney/Wattimena - 0.25u Wattimena 8/5, think this is worth a poke, Jermaine looked pretty good on Friday, yesterday was a bit more of a grind but he probably played a little bit better than Gurney did, projections don't take into account consistency but did give Jermaine the tiniest of edges, 8/5 doesn't look too bad
White/Gilding - 0.1u Gilding 3/1, it's worked once and I'm thinking it could work again, a bit of luck like he got yesterday would always be useful, but we were seeing slightly more than 1 in 3 wins for Andrew just based on pure numbers - even if we say that it's a bit optimistic based on lack of main tour data on Gilding then I'm not sure we can justify moving it enough to make this a bad bet
Hughes/Meulenkamp - no bet, the market's not quite caught up to Hughes' quality yet at 4/7, but as I think it should only be slightly shorter than 1/2 there's not a great deal of edge
King/Cadby - half tempted by 7/5 on King, I think it should be slightly shorter than that, especially if you factor in King having hit some nice heights this weekend, but I do wonder whether the conditions will play a factor here
Price/Whitlock - 0.5u Price 4/9, Whitlock shouldn't have been here but at least played alright, which is the only reason why I'm tempering the bet to just half a unit - season long Price is over 80% and had the best six leg run of anyone this weekend yesterday and is surely justifying his price as tournament favourite right now (although a portion of that is surely having Whitlock as a last sixteen opponent)

Saturday 29 June 2019

Prague day 2 aftermath - Seedmageddon

I think Burton mentioned on Twitter that we'd equalled the record number of seeds that have gone out of a Euro Tour event at the first hurdle, I can't remember whether that was before or after the Adrian Lewis match, but it was certainly before the Michael Smith match - in any case, we've lost twelve of them! Only Ian White, Simon Whitlock (who got a huge bit of luck against Justin Pipe, with a dart in the treble falling out as part of a 130 out attempt in the decider), Gerwyn Price (who hit a nine darter that I didn't see, thanks bet365 for switching to that rounders fest at West Ham's ground after dart seven) and Mensur Suljovic survived, so yes, that means we did hit on both of our long shot punts, correctly pinning Gilding over Aspinall and also pinning Keegan Brown over Michael van Gerwen for the second time this season. Sadly Ian White winning in a deciding leg recently meant casuals didn't completely lose their shit, but we'll still take it.

On the other bets, obviously the Pipe one we were a bit unlucky with, Price got home, although it was looking decidedly ropey at 3-0 to Duzza, the ultimate game of two halves, Yozza whitewashed Lewis and Hendo got whitewashed, don't know if it was the heat or something mental against Suljovic, but he certainly wasn't himself. Finally we got decent value out of Willie O'Connor, but at 4-4 on throw, after grinding back into the game from a 4-1 hole, he wired the bull to go 5-4 up and that was that, damnit.

Other games we saw - Wattimena got past Jonny Clayton, the Ferret seemingly having real problems hitting the outer ring, Noppert was a bit lucky to get past Webster but got over the line as, like O'Connor, Webster missed darts at double at four a piece, Ron Meulenkamp was able to outduel Steve Beaton, getting a break in leg one and never letting it go, Mervyn King was too good for James Wade, just outscoring the Machine with neither missing much at double, Ted Evetts was at his explosive best to outclass Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey was able to power away from Joe Cullen in the mid stages of the game to advance, Stephen Bunting prevailed in a swingy match against Peter Wright with a lot of breaks, and to end the evening session, Michael Smith nearly pulled off a huge comeback against Corey Cadby, coming from 5-1 down to force a decider before Corey produced a very solid fourteen dart leg to hold and advance to Sunday.

The upshot of the Adie/Webster results is we know much of the seedings for the Matchplay, it'll be:

Wade/Suljovic (in some order)
Price/White or Whitlock
Wright/White or Whitlock

Whitlock will get Wright unless he binks the title, which is more or less equivalent to waying that he'll play Wright. Whether Wade or Suljovic is 8 or 9 is still undecided but completely irrelevant.

Tomorrow we've got Brown/Noppert, Suljovic/Evetts, Bunting/Dobey then Gurney/Wattimena in the top half, and White/Gilding, Hughes/Meulenkamp, King/Cadby and Price/Whitlock in the bottom half. That top half looks extremely open, while the bottom half is arguably stronger with all of White, Hughes and Price scoring higher per turn than anyone in the top half. Projections give it as Noppert 55%, Suljovic 61%, Dobey 52%, Wattimena 52%, White 64%, Hughes 68%, Cadby 54% and Price 81% to make the quarters, so, Gerwyn Price aside, nobody is really a prohibitive favourite in any of the games and we'll wait and see if the markets disagree with what we're thinking enough to start punting more cash. Check back tomorrow morning, I would expect an update before the quarter finals as well given it's not football season and I don't have much planned tomorrow.

Prague day 2

Quick round up of day 1, obviously Durrant will grab the headlines with that superb performance that just got above the average level where casual pundits go nuts, outside of that there's not a huge amount to write home about - a lot of the qualifiers either didn't do themselves justice or simply aren't at the level needed on the Euro Tour yet, a bit disappointing for the home fans I guess, but at least Karel Sedlacek got home in a nip and tuck game against Brendan Dolan, and we get the long awaited rematch against Ian White this afternoon.

Obviously, Keegan Brown now got into the Matchplay as it stands, still a couple of players that could usurp him - Steve West isn't one of them after losing a humdinger in the deciding leg against Mervyn King. He missed multiple match darts, so that put us break even on the day with Hughes getting home over Petersen as expected. Might be worth revisiting that King/West game if it finds its way onto Youtube, it doesn't have enormous averages with both in the low 90's, but it had a bit of everything - West storming into a 3-0 lead with a real powerful two legs then getting the best of a missed doubles fest, then King levels with a 135 out on the bull, a 10 darter (with a bounceout), then a 170 - West says I want some of that checkout action and breaks straight back with a 121 bull finish after King missed the same, West makes it 5-3 after King nearly gets a 122 out straight back at him, then King levels with West missing three match darts in leg 9, another in leg 10, then leg 11 is the sort of super nervous leg where neither can score, neither can hit a double, before King finally wins it in 21 darts. Entertainment value for sure.

Today we have:

Clayton/Wattimena - Jermaine had zero trouble with Kevin Garcia in a 6-0 breeze, Clayton is deemed to be a fairly even opponent in the market, he's the tiniest of favourites at 10/11. This seems fine, with me seeing it at 56% for Clayton I might have shaded it a bit more in the Ferret's direction, but it's close enough to correct to ignore the game. Ought to be tight, maybe the old see who wins the bull and bet 6-5 trick?

Webster/Noppert - Danny won the opening game against Stefan Bellmont comfortably enough, 6-2 being the result, and now faces Darren Webster - it's an important game for Darren, it's a big if, but if Adrian Lewis wins later he could steal the #15 seed for the Matchplay, and you really don't want to be the #16 seed. Market has Noppert at 4/6, this looks fine, I've maybe got Danny a percentage point or two higher, but no edge here.

Whitlock/Pipe - Justin got past Madars Razma 6-4, not an outstanding game but solid enough from both players, Pipe picking his game up from 3-3 to claim it. Whitlock's the next opponent, and as eluded to in the preview, Whitlock ought to be the underdog. He isn't, so while I've only got Pipe at 54%, it's enough given the price - 0.25u Pipe 11/8.

Aspinall/Gilding - Andrew put in a three leg run to close out his game against Rodriguez 6-3 after all legs prior were on throw, it was only a six visit break that he got, but it was enough. Nathan Aspinall's a much classier operator and comes in as I want to say a prohibitive favourite. It's a bit annoying that Gilding isn't playing much Pro Tour - I've got 119 legs on him, and while it's not a huge sample size it is saying to take the underdog punt. Statistically he's about the same level as Jan Dekker, and I doubt Jan would be near 3/1. Given he is leading the (conventional) Challenge Tour averages, I'll take a small stab - 0.1u Gilding 11/4.

Gurney/O'Connor - Willie won 6-0 against the fantastically named Vaclav Schieferdecker, and now faces Daryl Gurney in another must win game to hold on to slim Matchplay hopes. It got a lot harder with Keegan Brown winning, he now needs to make the semis, but at least he's not in an awful quarter and Gurney is the top seed in that quarter. The market's catching on to Willie's quality, but it's not catching up quickly enough - 0.25u O'Connor 7/4, on the numbers he's at least Gurney's equal. Chuck in the added motivation and it seems an even better bet.

White/Sedlacek - Karel got past Dolan as mentioned and now gets into a rematch with Ian White. It's 7/2, it's happened before, it could happen again I guess but I'm really not sure it happens more than the 25% of the time we'd need to go with it. Ought to be a fun game for the crowd at least, shame they couldn't get this one on late in the evening session, pesky draws.

Beaton/Meulenkamp - Ron has a quick turnaround after being third to last on yesterday, getting by Hlavacek 6-2, and now plays Steve Beaton, back in the seeds as he continues an ever present run. Steve's the favourite in the market, but not by much - at first glance I thought this was an overreaction to Ron's decent last fortnight or so, but no, the line looks alright and the numbers concur with Steve being a small favourite.

Wade/King - Mentioned the King game in detail earlier so won't repeat myself. James Wade is next, Wade's rightly favoured, it's close to being a bit too much of a favourite I think - King's 9/4, I'm seeing it around 65/35, nearly enough but with Wade looking really good last weekend and King, stunning three leg run aside, didn't look that convincing yesterday and kind of fell over the line, so I'm alright with leaving this alone.

Evans/Evetts - Ted pulled off a bit of an upset by taking care of Ratajski in some style, really good performance, but not as much of an upset as some people might make out, Ted's being slept on a bit and against Ricky Evans the market's having trouble picking them apart. Looks like the Clayton game - Evans is the tiniest of favourites, and I'm seeing the same. Next.

Cullen/Dobey - Chris didn't really need to get out of second gear to defeat Steyer, 6-2 being the result, and he now faces an indifferent Joe Cullen in round two. It's just like the last game - both myself and the market are seeing Dobey as the slight favourite, so no real value at all.

Wright/Bunting - Stephen beat Robert Thornton to reach this stage, it was 5-0 but Rob briefly threatened a comeback before Bunting closed it off 6-3 with a twelve darter, his best leg of the match. It's another Scottish opponent next in Peter Wright, the market sees it as a one in three shot for the Bullet, which looks good to me. I might have pushed Bunting to 11/5 rather than 2/1, but that's not a huge difference.

van Gerwen/Brown - Keegan got the huge win he needed for Matchplay purposes - can he get another win over van Gerwen to give himself the chance of getting past James Wilson and being absolutely sure? We're getting 6/1, that's way more than enough - 0.1u Brown 6/1, van Gerwen's obviously a favourite but I'm only getting him just over 70% to claim it. If the pressure's now somewhat off Brown and he can play naturally to his best, who's to say he can't do it again?

Suljovic/Henderson - Big John got past Borland 6-3, all round good performance, Mensur's the next opponent and the market's seeing it as similar to the Wright game, Suljovic favoured to claim this about two times out of three. That's a bit disrespectful to John - 0.25u Henderson 15/8, I've got this as very close to 40% for Hendo so at that price I think it's worth a stab.

Price/Durrant - Mentioned Glen's game earlier, stand out performance of round one, but against Price he'll quite possibly need to do the same again, or close to it. Market has this really close, Price is 4/5, I think there's a bit of value in there, 0.25u Price 4/5, I'm seeing 61% so I reckon we can go with it.

Lewis/Hughes - Jamie got past Devon Petersen, one of those annoying games where Devon plays horribly (18 scoring visits of 60 or below in 10 legs, but he's in form, honest) but wins four legs somehow. It wasn't six though, so we've got another game against Adie, as mentioned in the Webster section it's an important game for Adie to try to get past Webster and out of an early van Gerwen draw in Blackpool. Yet another tight game, but I disagree with the market, 0.25u Hughes 6/5, Jamie's simply that much better, the projections I have seeing this at nearly 65%.

Smith/Cadby - Explosive game to finish after Corey easily dealt with Nijman in the opening round. Market has Smith at 4/6, that looks spot on to within a twentieth of one percent. No further bets.

So five decent plays, the Hughes and O'Connor bets looking especially good value, and a couple of small stabs on significant dogs in the market. Let's see what happens.

Thursday 27 June 2019

When I said that qualifier might take a while...

It's still going on, Sebastian Steyer won the eastern Euro one some time last week, but right now it's Sedlacek, some guy called Ondrej Pisek (no idea), one game's just about over and another's only just starting. Hopefully nobody's got any games scheduled early on tomorrow afternoon... with it not being Koltsov and the Czech qualifier taking all day, betting opportunities are limited, so let's just post what we have rather than going through every game:

0.25u West 11/10, it's a small advantage but there's an advantage - I'm seeing West around 54%, he needs to win this game and then go on from here to make the Matchplay, he's averaging more than King and while they're both a bit inconsistent there's nothing in it to suggest this shouldn't be the other way around.

0.5u Hughes 4/7, this should be nearer 4/11. I'm simply not a believer in Petersen - Hughes is much, much better and that Hughes is the favourite by this much isn't anywhere near enough of an accurate representation of the difference in class.

That's about it - five games were basically off the board from tonight's qualifiers, another five were off the board because I lack data on Bellmont, Borland, Garcia, Nijman and Larsson, while the remaining four (the Pipe, Gilding, Ratajski and Bunting games) looked close enough to what I'm seeing to not consider.

Vaclav Schieferdecker has just got through into the third qualifier spot and appears to be close to a free win, the last one's still got a way to go, I'm not waiting up. Be back Saturday morning probably.

Czech Darts Open preview

I was going to do a probabilities post for who might get into the Matchplay yesterday, but as it'd primarily be running Keegan Brown against a bunch of players I decided it wasn't really that interesting, and it could be academic if he draws a host nation qualifier. Here's the draw courtesy of the PDC website, and here's my thoughts:

van Gerwen/Webster section - And yes, Brown does get a home nation qualifier - they've just kicked off around 7pm local time, so that's all he has to beat to get to Blackpool. Kyle Anderson must be furious but it's obviously on him as well for not qualifying here. There isn't a name I recognise on that board so Keegan should be alright - although apart from Sedlacek and Humpula, who are in sections 4 and 2 respectively, I'd have been struggling. It's a good job he doesn't need to do more than get one win, then again it wouldn't be an unprecedented result. Oddly can't see Pavel Jirkal? Good chance for Noppert to make the Sunday, Webster's a bit out of touch, and I can't see Bellmont making much impact on a second appearance of the season.

Suljovic/Evans section - All Scottish affair in round one as youngster Borland continues his development against John Henderson, can't see past the Highlander, who might have something to say against Mensur, who's maybe dropping down the seeds a bit if he doesn't get a result here. Other section is fun, we've talked about Ratajski a lot, but Evetts is doing alright for himself and that could be a highlight game of the opening round. Evans will have his hands full against either following a pretty disappointing Pro Tour weekend.

Wright/Cullen section - That first round match would have been a lot more high profile if it was held four or five years ago, but Bunting against Thornton is high profile enough that the PDC have highlighted it. I'd think that Bunting eases through, then Wright does the same, but Stephen's shown some flashes so who knows? Not a bad draw for Dobey, the one qualifier from the Eastern Europe section may be tougher than typical, although Koltsov is the obvious name you'd think would get through, he's been taken all the way to a deciding leg by Karolina Podgorska in the opening round before getting through, so there is that. If Chris gets through that potential banana skin, whoever it is, Cullen's there for the taking in current form.

Gurney/Clayton section - O'Connor's the one to watch here. He needs a big run, and it's not the worst section he could get. A home nation qualifier is a nice warm up, then Gurney would be an extremely interesting match up with a lot on the line. The other players aren't the worst opponents either - Clayton isn't in as bad form as some people make him out to be but he's definitely not the hardest seed you could get, Wattimena could be a tough ask but apart from Denmark he's had a bit of a quiet run, while Garcia's been on the Challenge Tour for a while and makes his Euro Tour debut, so while he could be a wildcard, it is a big change of scenery as well.

White/Aspinall section - If Sedlacek gets through, we could have a nice rematch between him and White, which'd be good to see in this venue, but we're a long way off that, and Dolan's been much better over the course of 2019 and will definitely have something to say in this part of the draw. Aspinall ought to be favoured heavily in round two, Gilding and Rowby are about two of the most different players you could hope to see, both have had issues with consistency, and it'll be intriguing to see who gets through this clash of styles.

Lewis/Beaton section - That Hughes/Petersen game has enormous banker written all over it, especially at the early price that's out there, some people have been saying Devon's been playing better of late but I've really not been seeing it, his stats look incredibly similar to, say, Robert Owen, and nobody would be saying Robert's having a good season. It'd set up a rematch on the Euro Tour from last month, which Hughes won. Beaton's back in the seeds following a sustained run of excellent play, while Meulenkamp hasn't been putting up a sustained run for sure but looked much improved last weekend and when he's hot he's hot, which might spell trouble for whoever comes through the qualifier.

Wade/Smith section - This whole area is explosive. King/West is going to be good old fashioned darts, likely a lot of treble 20 damage, should be tight, West is still mathematically in the Matchplay picture but neither of these would want to draw Wade in current form. Smith will have a tantalising matchup with Corey Cadby in the second round with the young Aussie on debut - assuming Corey gets by Wessel Nijman, another player of the Dutch production line who's not done a lot this year other than getting to make his debut here, but he did win a Development Tour title last season, so must have something about him.

Price/Whitlock section - Price against Durrant would be one of the picks of round two in a rerun of a Grand Slam group game from last year and also a Euro Tour quarter final last month. Durrant would have to get past Daniel Larsson, which he should do, although Daniel can put together occasional spells which might trouble Glen. Razma against Pipe is another odd one to look at, Razma hits an extremely high number of four visit legs, but also has a lot more weak legs, but if you look at the two overall they're only separated by a tenth of a point in the averages, and both are ahead of Whitlock, so whoever can get through this early one in the order has a good chance of making it through to the last sixteen.

Bets later, I would not envisage seeing any sort of lines for the games involving qualifiers - looking at some of the early results, the standard isn't great, we have seen David Pisek take out Challenge Tour player Roman Benecky in the opener with both averaging 80 so maybe he's one to watch - it's going to take four rounds and they only have eight boards to work with by the looks of things, so that might take a while, as opposed to the Eastern Europe qualifier which doesn't have anywhere near that level of numbers and they're already underway in the quarter finals. More to follow.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Weekend of darts aftermath

So for those of you who picked Jose de Sousa as part of a scattergun each way approach (Chris Mason, I'm looking in your direction), you'll be quite happy right now, as the Portuguese star made his first final - James Wade would prove to be a bit too tough there as he picked up his fourth Pro Tour title, but Jose can't complain one little bit, as he went on a great run taking out Monk, Aspinall, de Zwaan, Whitehead, Richardson and van den Bergh to reach that stage. Personally, I had Durrant (lost early to yesterday's semi finalist Ron Meulenkamp), Ratajski (reached the semi but lost to Wade), Hughes (inexplicably threw away a 5-0 lead against Chisnall), White (completed back to back first round exits, really), Dobey (lost to surprise package last minute replacement Callan Rydz), de Zwaan (mentioned above) and O'Connor (got to the quarters but ran into Dimitri). Oh well, it's not going to work every week.

That's covered most of the players who went deep - Luke Woodhouse also made a quarter today, which should help keep him the right side of the worlds cutoff, and he'll probably need to do so to retain a card, while yesterday James Wilson reached the semis, which will be a real help towards making the Matchplay, Luke Humphries and Boris Koltsov made the quarters (not a bad weekend for associates really), while across the two days, DvdB, O'Connor, Ratajski and de Sousa won their boards both days. Bit of credit due to Matt Clark, he made the board final both days, which for someone who's not done a huge amount since regaining his card is worth mentioning.

On the Asian Tour, we saw the same final both days and the same result both days - Lourence Ilagan picking up two victories over Noel Malicdem. Paul Lim and the brilliantly named Teng Lieh Pu Po weighed in with a semi and quarter, but nobody else was able to do anything too consistent across the two days.

With the Players Championship weekend in the books, we're now just one tournament away from knowing the Matchplay field. Kyle Anderson's on the bubble right now, and will need Keegan Brown to lose his opening game in Prague to stand any chance. James Wilson's the next in line, but should be alright as long as nobody goes very deep - O'Connor would need to make a semi final to knock him out, as well as having Brown make a quarter, so one nice draw and he's safe. Vincent van der Voort isn't 100% safe but would need very weird results to not make it. As for others that can sneak in who are currently outside, it's basically just Keegan Brown, and then anyone else needs a real big run, O'Connor needs a minimum of a quarter final and Meulenkamp and West need a semi, while many others can get in by binking. Doesn't seem too likely really, I think realistically it's down to just Anderson or Brown who gets the last spot.

New FRH rankings:

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

There's no movement in the top 20, although Wade's win puts him within 10k of Gurney. Smith could have overtaken Cross if he'd won today, that's how close he is now. Ratajski's within 500 points of the top 25 now, just behind Chris Dobey, while Dimitri van den Bergh's good weekend has put him within 300 points of Danny Noppert for the last spot in the top 30, somewhere James Wilson's managed to stay as a result of his semi final. Willie O'Connor's within 200 points of the top 45, Glen Durrant finally hits the top 50, Ron Meulenkamp is within a couple of thousand points of the same, Jose de Sousa hits the top 70 following his excellent weekend, Luke Woodhouse rises into the top 80, a competent weekend for Mark McGeeney puts him up to #90, Boris Koltsov has hit the top 100, while Callan Rydz climbs into the top 200.

Finally, what on earth happened to Jamie Lewis? Lost 6-0 today, which is not necessarily unexpected, but look at his average. Viewer discretion is advised. Can only assume he was injured...

Saturday 22 June 2019

Mother of god, the prices of some people for PC17

I don't normally bet on outright events, and I wouldn't be making a post right now if it wasn't a blatant brag post, but everyone really needs to look at taking a few shots at the Players Championship events whenever van Gerwen isn't playing and likely taking up a final place a large proportion of the time. This is what the market looks like for tomorrow's event:

The absence of Cross and Anderson makes this even more wide open than the absence of van Gerwen alone - if you pick five players that are 20/1 or longer, then with favourable (i.e. half odds) each way terms, you only need one player to reach the final in order to lock in a profit. And if it works really well and someone wins (or, if you have the dream result I did and got both Ratajski and Aspinall), it's even better. You just need to look at players who are undervalued - I posted up a year long list of stats recently, go off that, but apart from those two (whose odds were obviously longer than they are now at 80's and 33's today) I went with Durrant (who's actually drifted tomorrow), de Zwaan and Hughes (who are the same price). I'd be tempted with the same lineup again, even at those shorter odds, but there's plenty of others that seem flat out undervalued. O'Connor jumps off the screen. The non-Whitlock Aussies, albeit not to the same extent. Dobey's well worthy of consideration. Ian White looks to have drifted from today and at 20's looks like he's worth the shot. Noppert maybe. Beaton could be worth it. Just check the draw at about 11 to make sure you don't run into a Price, Wade or Wright too soon and fire some bullets.

Friday 21 June 2019

European Tour and the Matchplay

I wouldn't normally make a post after just European Tour qualifiers, but with it being the qualifier for the last event that counts to the Matchplay, I thought I'd make an exception. If you recall, at the back end of May I made a big post projecting who might make it - since then, we've just had the Danish Open, which hasn't really done a huge deal. Kyle Anderson won one game and then was done, Gabriel Clemens was the same, Steve West couldn't even manage the one win. So nobody really made huge strides - I thought Chris Dobey looked safe anyway.

That said, I had it narrowed down to about 10 players. Searle ran into Cadby, harsh but fair. Wilson lost to Gilding. Ross Smith lost to Petersen. Keegan Brown made it. Kyle Anderson lost to Ted Evetts. Clemens lost to Wattimena. West just got home against Scott Baker. O'Connor made it. Schindler ran into Ratajski, and Lennon lost to Menzies. On balance, that's quite a lot of players that didn't manage to get in through their primary route to Blackpool - Keegan Brown is an enormous winner here, I think that extra 1k should be just about enough to get him over the line as long as he doesn't have a complete mare these next two days and a James Wilson or Ross Smith (or, at this stage, Kyle Anderson) doesn't go berko and pop in back to back board wins and say "no, wait, this is my Matchplay spot, fuck off".

Naturally we'll know much more 48 hours from now, and I've been posting a lot about the Matchplay implications, but in the long run these Euro Tour events count for a lot - Corey Cadby's managed to get into both of ET9 and ET10 to make his debut finally, Ted Evetts came through at least one bastard group to do the same, Jamie Hughes has, while on the Euro side Wattimena and Rowby John Rodriguez got through both. It's interesting to note Rowby, he had a good run in the Netherlands, and if you look back at the qualifiers (at least for ET9) he was hitting some extremely high numbers in the qualifying rounds. Could be worth paying attention to in the opening round in Prague.

Sunday 16 June 2019

ET8 aftermath

Chizzy managed to win it. Nice job, played good darts throughout and has been doing all year, but can't say I wasn't rooting for Dobey in the final, just looked like after going 2-0 up he hit the wall completely, it was his first Euro Tour final so it's a bit of uncharted territory, and an 11 leg all the way encounter with Jose de Sousa followed by a game of the same length against Gerwyn Price has got to have taken it out of him a bit. Still, it's got him into every major for the rest of the year which Euro Tour money counts for, so there's at lest that. Props to Jonny Clayton for getting to the semi final, always nice when someone who's been throwing decent darts and has people saying he's "out of form" for not getting results get those results.

Going to cut straight to the new FRH rankings:

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

Price was edging ahead of Gurney regardless based on recency of results but a semi didn't exactly harm his efforts. Aspinall was the same, while Chizzy's win was more than enough to dump Suljovic down to his lowest ranking in quite some time. Cullen and Webster are both sliding and much closer to Hopp than they are to Lewis, while Wattimena's quarter gives him the final spot in the top 20.

Lower down, Chris Dobey rises to #25 following his final appearance, Ratajski cements a spot in the top 30, while neither of them played Dimitri van den Bergh has finally passed Kim Huybrechts to become Belgium's number one, and quarter finalist Jose de Sousa sees himself sandwiched between two players at opposite ends of their careers in Harry Ward and Wayne Jones for position number 79 on the list. Kirk Shepherd couldn't quite get into the top 100, being just behind Ryan Meikle for the final spot. And Per Laursen's in the top 200!

ET8 Quarter Finals - ahhhhh, that's better

Nice three out of four hits, including both of the underdog punts, have clawed back half of what we lost yesterday, still a pretty bad weekend but it looks a lot better than what it did six hours ago. We're down to eight players, it's a great spot for anyone other than Price (who's already there) to catapult themselves into a Grand Slam position - none of Cullen, Dobey, de Sousa, Clayton, Whitlock or Wattimena currently have a spot, and Chisnall's only just holding on as well. Moreover, we're guaranteed a new European Tour winner, at least for this season, what do we like betting wise?

Price/Cullen - It's a pity that Joe prevented the clean sweep of bets this afternoon, but if he's capable of beating Wright then he's capable of beating Price, who easily disposed of Bunting, who didn't really bring his best game. Price again is priced as about a 2-1 favourite, and as we think Bunting's a bit better than Cullen, we'll fire on Price again - 0.25u Price 4/9, it's not an amazing edge but Gerwyn's showing at 78%, which I'll take.

Dobey/de Sousa - Could this be the event where Dobey finally gets a first PDC title, or will Jose de Sousa be able to do the same? de Sousa was very impressive in slotting in a 100 average in defeat of Daryl Gurney 6-2, while Dobey saw off Shepherd by the same score line. Bookies have it bang even, maybe finally respecting what Jose can do, that looks more in line with where I have it. I've got Jose as a tiny favourite - nothing to start betting on, maybe Dobey's greater experience on big stages and at the business end of events will counteract raw stats anyway.

Clayton/Whitlock - Jonny took apart James Wade pretty comfortably, dropping just two legs and ending with a 146 out as both players averaged over a ton. Whitlock's win over Adrian Lewis was a lot less spectacular as neither averaged over 90, and it wasn't down to completely awful doubling either, but Simon got the win 6-3. The bookies have it even and I really don't know why, 0.25u Clayton evs, this looks like a 2-1 game in favour of the Welshman, he's won one of these and Simon having one decent win isn't going to dissuade me from looking at a season's worth of respective form. Might even be an argument to go half a unit here really.

Chisnall/Wattimena - Dave got through a last leg decider against Mensur Suljovic, pretty solid game until the last leg killed things, Dave was playing excellently prior to that but needed 21 darts to claim it, Suljovic missing two at 14's somehow for the match. Jermaine ended Ian White's winning streak in ten legs, another player to finish with a partypiece tops-tops 137 out. Chizzy's favoured 60/40 in the market, this looks close enough to me, I think he's slightly better than that but not enough to start betting it, Jermaine's got to be full of confidence having taken out the top seed.

Some FRH ranking notes - Wattimena can blast up to the top 16 if he claims it all, Dobey can get within a few grand of the top 20 with the same, while de Sousa can rise up into the top 64 if he does so. Looks like a wide open evening session, enjoy.

ET8 last 16 - WE CAN REBUILD

So round 2 went about as badly as it could possibly go - 0-5 dropping two units, which coupled with Friday is probably making this about the worst tournament of all time and has dropped back around half our yearly profit. Yikes. I think dartistik on Twitter pegged Durrant and Cross as his biggest favourite on each day. That's not nice, if you had a Burness (who reverted to the mean pretty damn quickly yesterday) and Shepherd double, good luck to you.

Today we have:

Price/Bunting - Both players got through 6-4 yesterday, Price in a pretty decent game against Ryan Harrington, which might have been over quicker if Gerwyn hadn't allowed a break back at 4-1 up, missing doubles as Ryan cleared 237 in six darts. Bunting overcame Cody Harris, not much in this one, Bunting getting a 12 dart break on bull to lead 4-3 and holding from there, although Cody did have two darts to break at 5-4... Price is favourite, around 2-1 on, I think that's worth a small stab to try to get things back on track, 0.25u Price 1/2, I'm thinking it should have been nearer 4/11 and Gerwyn played a heck of a lot better than Stephen did yesterday.

Wright/Cullen - Wright added to the betting pain yesterday with a routine 6-2 win over Willie O'Connor, while Willie really didn't show up, six legs won in fifteen darts or yet is a very handy standard. Joe got a gift against Burness, winning 6-1 with Kevin averaging below 75, maybe there were a couple of Tuborgs after the Durrant win? Wouldn't like to say. Joe was decent on the outer ring but basically cruising otherwise. Wright's about the same price as Price, and I'm seeing about the same win chances, so 0.25u Wright 4/9.

Gurney/de Sousa - Daryl wasted little time getting into today, only dropping the one leg against Ryan Joyce in an impressive display via whatever stat you want to look at. de Sousa won an instant classing against Darren Webster 6-5, although he was 5-1 up (and threw two maximums in leg 7), needing Darren to miss bull for the match to get the extra darts he needed to clinch the game. Daryl's slightly shorter again than Wright, I think this is worth a nibble the other way, 0.25u de Sousa 12/5, he simply can't miss as many doubles as he did yesterday, but the scoring is absolutely there to generate the chances. Could do with Daryl dropping off a touch to help matters, but Jose's less than a point and a half off Daryl on seasonal points per turn, so ought to claim this well over one in three times. Heck, based on winning legs (which does undervalue Daryl as stated before), Jose projects as favourite. He's that good.

Shepherd/Dobey - Gone over the Kirk thing already, a second surprising win for Shepherd, who knew he could make a big run in an event? That's never happened before for him, surely? Dobey was taken all the way by Ricky Evans (told you it'd be close), missing a match dart at 5-4, and then being reliant on Evans to miss match darts of his own to break in the decider. Around the same price yet again, Dobey being installed as favourite - this time the value isn't there. Dobey's 2/5 and I've got him slightly better than that, but 1/3 would be a bad bet.

Wade/Clayton - James was in a little bit of bother against Dennis Nilsson, but put in what looked like a very Wade-like performance statistically, no maximums, but >50% on doubles and some nice mid range outs when needed. Clayton needed every leg and a bit of luck against home favourite Per Laursen, getting the break for 5-5 and then surviving a match dart in the final leg. It's yet another match at around the same odds, Wade being favoured, I think there's a bit of value on Clayton - 0.25u Clayton 2/1. I've stated Clayton's playing better than his results suggest (although he does have a win this year, let's not forget) - I'm seeing around 40% chance to claim this one.

Lewis/Whitlock - Adie got past Kyle Anderson in a tight one, he was 4-2 down before winning 6-4 thanks to Kyle missing multiple darts at double on his throw twice. Whitlock got a surprising win against Aspinall, coming from 4-3 down to win by the same score, Nathan having an annoying mix of either not scoring and hence not getting shots at doubles, or scoring enough to get shots at double, then missing. The two time world champ is favoured and the line looks solid - I see just over 60% for Lewis, he's 8/13, let's move on.

Suljovic/Chisnall - Mensur needed all 11 legs to beat Gabriel Clemens, while Chisnall ran off five straight to end the match against Ratajski 6-2, always just getting the leg won before Krzysztof could step in. The market can't separate these, I'm tempted to shoot on Chizzy at evens, he does have quite a bit better winning average than Mensur which is showing a 60% win chance, but the overall scoring is much tighter. Probably should bet but Suljovic does like Denmark.

White/Wattimena - Ian nearly got knocked out in a surprisingly tight game with Martin Schindler, needing to get out of a 5-3 hole but Schindler only had one match dart in those three legs. Jermaine won 6-4 over Michael Smith, storming into a 4-1 lead, Smith got it back to 5-4 and was throwing to level, but lost the ability to score when he needed it most and Jermaine didn't even need the backup of throwing in the decider. You've guessed it, another 2-1 sort of game, White naturally the favourite, I don't think there's a bet here, I'm seeing it somewhere in the sixties for White, there may even be tiny value on Jermaine but I think you'd need line movement from money coming in on White to really start thinking about it.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Murphy's Law

While I'm watching seemingly everything that can go wrong go wrong (Cross missing three clean at double on three separate occasions? Busting 56 with two darts in hand?), here's some odd play that I've seen over the last couple of days:

This appears to be a pretty standard leg, but let's look at each player's third visit. Now I didn't see the game, so Durrant switching to 19's on the second dart might have been because that dart in the treble 20 was actually blocking the rest of the bed, but I'm going to take a punt and say that it wasn't. Burness cannot even leave himself a shot, so there's zero need to try to leave 170 yourself - follow the line you have on the 60. Then Burness outdoes Durrant with his third dart next shot, switching to 19's instead of 18's, so that even if he was to hit a maximum next visit, he'd leave a bogey number. It's a long shot to take out 340 in six darts, but it's a heck of a lot easier than clearing 339 in the same.

Here's an equally odd one. Beaton's fourth visit - why wouldn't you go big 19 for big 20 to leave tops when you return (which you will)? You are coming back regardless, and while I completely get the logic of going T13 to leave tops, why not just set up tops for sure, rather than leaving yourself just two darts at double next visit if you miss the T13? If you were to hit T19, it's not as if you need to go for double 11, you can just hit a big six to leave a nicer breakdown next door.

OK, he hits it and gets away with it, but Laursen's not on a finish here - why are you even going for a bull finish? Throw at the bull first. And finally, one for the old school guys:

Nothing particularly wrong with Harrington's choice of shot in his last visit, but you would have thought given his old man's phobia of the D18 breakdown he'd have drilled it in to his young'un to go T14 on 66. Actually, knowing Rod, he'd probably have gone for bull, which is the most confusing choice of shots in the world. This leg also appears to feature Ryan unable to count on 303 for bonus value.

Back later, hopefully Anderson (currently 2-2 on throw) and Clemens can ease the pain of the Cross result a touch.

Bring home the bacon

That's what we're going to have to do after an incredibly strange day in Denmark - obviously the one that hurt us hugely was Glen Durrant somehow managing to average near 11 points higher than Kevin Burness and lose, but lots of odd stuff happened elsewhere. Who'd have picked Steve Lennon not to win a leg? Who'd think we'd see a 60 average outside of Gibraltar? When was the last time we saw so many missed doubles? Let's get back to work:

Bunting/Harris - Cody was the beneficiary of that 60 average from Haverinen, whether he was just ultra nervous or simply not at this level, who knows, Harris didn't play that much better himself although taking 46 darts for the last two legs certainly dragged the average down. I'm not quite sure how Bunting keeps getting seeded for these, it's about 2-1 in his favour, this seems kind of fine, Bunting has the higher ceiling and while Harris can certainly take this one down, I think a third of the time seems about the right sort of level lacking any real data on Harris - just 26 ranked legs.

Webster/de Sousa - Jose was one of the better performers of yesterday (I think dartistik had him as the best), solid average in the mid-high 90's against Scott Taylor, a 12 dart leg with an interesting way to finish 84 (clue - he finished it with double 2) and a 10 darter ending on his favourite double 18. It might surprise the casual viewer but doesn't surprise me to see that Webster is the underdog here - de Sousa has been playing extremely solidly all year, Darren less so. The market shading it at 4/5 de Sousa looks fine, I'd maybe go slightly higher, but only 8/11 or so, certainly not enough to think there's an edge.

Clayton/Laursen - Per was one of the two domestic qualifiers and he got past Reece Robinson, just about, not a great game but one with some occasional flashes. Clayton's the next opponent and is installed as a heavy favourite, this seems entirely appropriate, some talk of Clayton lacking form but his scoring is perfectly fine, he should have more than enough additional power than Per to get home quite comfortably. 1/5's a bit too short to think about though.

Chisnall/Ratajski - Ratajski got through the Krzysztof derby comfortably enough, it was looking pretty easy at 4-0 but Kciuk did come back a little, and it's Dave Chisnall up next. I stated in the preview this'd be too close to call just based on looking at overall averages, it is fairly close but Chisnall has a small advantage, around 55/45, Ratajski's available at an alright price that I think is worth the shot, 0.25u Ratajski 17/10.

Whitlock/Aspinall - Solid showing from Nathan yesterday, ending just north of a ton on the averages with a clinical 6/8 on the outer ring. Simon Whitlock's the opponent here and is predictably the underdog given the two player's relative form, and the market appears to be correctly assessing how much of an underdog he is. I'd have set the line at 4/9 Aspinall, he's just slightly the right side of 1/2, so it's in just around the right ballpark, no real value here.

Cullen/Burness - Kevin basically won his game yesterday by winning the opening clownshow leg, Glen missing lots of doubles, hitting a big out when he needed it to break for 5-3, and then putting together a solid 14 darter on throw to ice the game with Glen having just hit a maximum to leave a two darter himself. Cullen is a very nice draw, but it's indicative of Kevin's general level of play that despite Cullen's form, Cullen's shorter than 1/3. As I've got this projecting at 75/25 to Cullen I'm not touching the game.

Gurney/Joyce - Daryl will be looking to put World Cup disappointment behind him here, and his first opponent is Ryan Joyce, who got past Perales comfortably enough, could easily have been 6-0 despite averaging south of 90. No real highlights, Joyce doesn't seem quite the player he was last year, but he might have a little bit more of a chance than the market suggests. He's 5/2 and I see slightly more than one in three wins for Ryan, I'd normally punt at this, but the model does tend to undervalue Gurney somewhat (based off of his top 5 in the PDC consistency score), so I think if I adjust a bit for that any small value there was simply isn't there.

Evans/Dobey - Chris got past Steve West 6-3, West blew this one - he had four darts to win leg 2 and two to win leg 4, that'd have made it 4-0, he then went to pieces a bit and Dobey pulled away (although Steve did have darts to win two more of those that Dobey won). Chris only averaged 89 but got away with it, and the market can't separate him and Ricky Evans. Neither can I really, Dobey's the smallest of small favourites, but it's barely 51%. Could be one of those to see who wins the bull and bet 6-5 correct scoreline.

Price/Harrington - Into the evening session we go, Ryan Harrington got past the domestic qualifier Hansen, it did go from 4-1 up to 5-4 up, but Niels then missed darts for 5-5 (albeit ones given to him by Ryan who was missing match darts as well), before Ryan fell over the line on double three. Gerwyn Price is a heck of a step up, the Welshman is 1/6 which looks close to spot on. It might even arguably be a bit shorter, I'd have gone 1/7, maybe 1/8 to put some vig in the market, not really enough to bet but seems safe enough for an accumulator.

Cross/Shepherd - Another bet killer up here, Kirk Shepherd got home in a scrappy affair against van der Voort, 6-4 with both averaging 83. Vincent was incredibly hot and cold, perhaps the worst extremes in a single match I've seen all year - the four legs he won were perfectly fine, but in the legs he lost he had 7, 5, 5, 6, 7 and 5 visits. That's a lot of darts thrown, and in four of those he didn't have a dart at double, one he only had a single shot at the bull, sure he missed a dozen in leg 9 which effectively cost him the game, but he wasn't close for the most part. Rob Cross is a step up in class, he's 1/8 and it does seem close to a value bet - I'm seeing Rob at 92%. I don't see Rob giving Kirk quite so many shots, 1u Cross 1/8.

Wright/O'Connor - Willie beat Luke Woodhouse in the opening game, not a bad game really, was tight at 4-3 but Willie was able to break in the eighth which was good enough. It's Peter Wright next, the last time they met was just last weekend in the World Cup final (which Wright obviously won given Lennon got Ireland their sole point), and the market thinks it'll be a repeat with Peter shorter than 1/2. That's frankly a bit ridiculous, O'Connor is playing far too well to be that short, he's well over 40% so 0.25u O'Connor 2/1.

Wade/Nilsson - Dennis shocked a lot of people with a 6-0 rout of Steve Lennon, an odd game with Nilsson finishing in five visits every time on the Lennon throw, but Steve not really scoring enough on the Nilsson throw, not getting a single dart to break allowing Dennis easy holds in six, seven and seven visits. James Wade will be Dennis's opponent which ought to be a step too far, James is nicely rested up and I can't see Dennis scoring quite as well as he did yesterday for long enough to really pressure. Wade's too short to really consider though.

Lewis/Anderson - Kyle got a key win in his quest to reach the Matchplay, opening up a 3-0 lead on de Decker without being troubled, that went 4-0 when Mike missed lots of doubles, Mike did then get a couple back before Anderson got home in 8. Adrian Lewis will be in for a tough one here, he's 4/7 which is ridiculous. Kyle's averaging two points higher on winning legs and their losing legs are comparable, and projects to win this one (based off the winning legs) 60% of the time. 0.25u Anderson 7/4, I'm almost half tempted to go a bit more but for Kyle's tendency to not translate statistics into results as often as he should have.

Suljovic/Clemens - Mensur starts his title defence against Gabriel Clemens, the German getting home 6-3 over Mervyn King in a weird game - he had one 12 dart leg where he started 7 perfect, averaged over a ton in the legs King won, but every other leg he won was in a pedestrian six visits. Mensur's 1/2, I think Gabriel's got a bit of a better chance than that, I'm seeing better than 40%, very similar to the Wright/O'Connor game really - 0.25u Clemens 19/10.

White/Schindler - Penultimate game sees the red hot (white hot seems too easy a pun) Ian White against Martin Schindler, who whitewashed (can't help myself) Kim Viljanen, not a pretty game with just an 85 average but it was good enough. Ian is a 75/25 favourite in the market, Schindler looks to be doing just about enough this season that it's maybe a little high (I have Martin at 30%), but Schindler's lack of results might play on his mind against a player of Ian's calibre, so no thanks.

Wattimena/Smith - We end with a clash of players who had disappointing World Cups (if not necessarily on personal results), Smith beat Beaton yesterday to end our betting night on a real sour note, both played very well. Jermaine, despite being the seed, is 2/1, that looks close to spot on according to projections so I won't be touching it.

That's the lot - we go one large odds on banker and then four games all in the 6/4 - 2/1 neighbourhood. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday 13 June 2019

ET8 round 1 bets

As expected, the qualifier went on for quite a while, Per Laursen came through one half and we know exactly what he'll give us, and the other qualifier is Niels Jorgen Hansen, don't know a huge amount about him but he's serious enough to have played Q-School and 7/8 Challenge Tour events, so maybe he's alright. In the quali both ended up with averages varying in the 70's to low 80's which sounds about right, there's not odds up on the qualifier's games but I'm not sure I can flat out recommend betting them without seeing odds, sure, if they make it 2/7 the tour card holder and 3/1 the Dane then go for it. Let's go through what does have odds:

Woodhouse/O'Connor - Willie's a 2-1 favourite more or less, seems about right intuitively, but no, it's liking Woodhouse a bit better than that, 55/45 in favour of the Irish player. I think I'm alright with leaving it given Willie is surely at peak confidence and I think Luke's best performances may have been a bit earlier in the season.

Todd/Aspinall - No real data on Todd, Nathan's 1/5 which I'd think is fair.

de Decker/Anderson - Tough one to call this. Kyle's 4/9, he's playing great stuff, I just wish I had a bit more data on Mike, who's looked excellent in the limited stats I have on him in the senior game.

Harris/Haverinen - Cody's 3/10, I can't justify a punt at that price given how little I know about Teuvo, Cody only having made it here for the first time kind of shows he can mess things up against people who he should beat on a regular enough basis that I can't recommend a bet.

de Sousa/Taylor - 0.25u de Sousa 5/6, yep, when we've seen Scott doing things he's looked alright, but Jose has been playing a lot better than what Scott's shown over a lot larger sample, this looks very nice (Immediate edit - reduced odds to 5/6 as evens didn't appear available, still a good bet).

Justicia/Joyce - The numbers actually slightly favour a bet on Jose again, but I'm not going to go for it - Ryan I think is a better player than his figures suggest, we're only getting 2/1 and the projections are chucking out around 38%, I think it's safe enough to pass.

Kciuk/Ratajski - Avoiding, don't know enough about the random guy, apart from that he's competent enough that Ratajski at just the right side of 1/4 isn't fun.

Viljanen/Schindler - Nothing really again. From what I've seen of Kim this year I don't think that it's really good enough to beat Martin the one time out of three the line's saying we need him to do it.

Durrant/Burness - 1u Durrant 1/6, this appears to be a print money situation, Burness is less than 9% on my projections for a game of this length, so 1/6 looks good enough for a full unit bet.

West/Dobey - 0.25u West 5/4, I'm seeing this the other way around on projections. I thought it might be close, and it certainly is, but there's definitely enough of a chance here that we should bet on Steve. That the model rates him better appears to be based somewhat on consistency, but that issue isn't enough to think this would be a bad bet. Steve definitely needs this win and will surely be at peak focus.

Clemens/King - Nothing here. It's another close game, however this time my leanings align with the market, King's a best price of 5/6 and I've got him ranked ever so slightly better than that, certainly not enough to recommend punting.

Shepherd/van der Voort - 0.5u van der Voort 8/15, Vincent is playing really, really well this year, and I think this is something that needs exploiting, the model I've got is setting this at more like a 75/25 game.

Beaton/Smith - 0.25u Beaton 2/1, there's maybe just about enough edge in the market looking at past numbers (Beaton projects at 37%), but Michael was complaining of a foot/ankle issue on social media earlier today, so if that's even the slightest of problems it makes this a clear bet.

Nilsson/Lennon - Nothing here, Lennon's around 2/5 which feels right, Steve's playing good stuff but Dennis has enough about him that he will cause enough problems to make this anything but a formality.

That's your lot, good luck ladies and gentlemen.

Danish Darts Open

Draw is out - we knew van Gerwen was giving this one a miss already, so it's completely wide open. Can't remember the last time that the favourite in a PDC event was 6/1, and such is the strength in depth of the field, there's twelve players that are shorter than 20's in one place or another - with plenty of other players who are outside that bracket who have the game within them to go out and grab this title. Let's look at the draw and see what's going down:

Gerwyn Price v Ryan Harrington/HNQ2
Stephen Bunting v Cody Harris/Teuvo Haverinen
Peter Wright v Luke Woodhouse/Willie O'Connor
Joe Cullen v Glen Durrant/Kevin Burness

This might be the weakest section of the draw, if only because it's got a couple of weak seeds and a cluster of weaker qualifiers. Price ought to be a strong favourite to make Sunday, Harrington's here for a second straight Euro Tour event, but got steamrolled last time out by someone who's probably not much better than whoever the home nation qualifier is, if at all. Bunting could have a few issues with Harris, if Cody's able to get past Haverinen, who's been around the Scandi scene for a while now but is making a debut here. Wright's got a tough draw whoever he plays - it's a potential rematch from the World Cup final if O'Connor is able to get through, but counting Luke Woodhouse out based on last weekend would be a dangerous thing to do in what's a very strange choice for first match up. Finally we've got Joe Cullen, who seems devoid of form, and Glen Durrant isn't the sort of player you want to face in those situations, with Burness being over 11 points behind Glen on seasonal points per turn you can't see the Tom Kirby winner pulling this one off.

Rob Cross v Kirk Shepherd/Vincent van der Voort
Ricky Evans v Steve West/Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney v Jose Perales/Ryan Joyce
Darren Webster v Jose de Sousa/Scott Taylor

Tournament favourite Rob Cross is in a tricky part of the draw, Vincent van der Voort is having a solid season, averaging solidly and well capable of pulling off the upset, he should get by Shepherd who's not done a great deal since regaining his tour card. Evans will have his hands full in the opening game, but who he'll play and who'd be the favourite in round two is tough - all of Evans, Dobey and West are averaging 90 or 91 per turn this season, maybe the pressure is more on West who really needs a run to force his way into Matchplay contention. Second seed Gurney has an alright game, Perales/Justicia having had one good weekend this season but nothing outside of that, while Joyce hasn't really hit the heights he did last season but should be just about good enough to beat the Spaniard. Webster's been looking vulnerable and went out early last time out, and this isn't a gimmie draw - Taylor showed what he can do in the UK Open and made a Pro Tour quarter recently, while de Sousa is scoring over 90 per turn this season, making either a tricky task for Darren.

James Wade v Dennis Nilsson/Steve Lennon
Jonny Clayton v Reece Robinson/HNQ1
Adrian Lewis v Mike de Decker/Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock v Mick Todd/Nathan Aspinall

Wade's been looking really good this season, and his first game will feature a World Cup player - Nilsson probably being the dog, but he did reach Sunday of the previous Euro Tour event, while Lennon has been a bit quiet in ranking events but putting up solid stats, showing how he's playing in Hamburg. Clayton ought to advance, Robinson hasn't really got out of neutral since winning his card, UK Open aside, and it's a second game where the domestic qualifier has a chance. Adrian Lewis will have a tough game - Mike de Decker has been cleaning up in the associate qualifiers, while Kyle Anderson badly needs results to get to Blackpool, the stats are top 16 level, better than Lewis, he just needs to convert to results. Finally we have one of the weakest seeds in Simon Whitlock, and while Todd was very good in the first Challenge Tour weekend, he wasn't in the second and Nathan Aspinall should easily be favoured to make the final day out of these three.

Mensur Suljovic v Gabriel Clemens/Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski/Krzysztof Kciuk
Ian White v Kim Viljanen/Martin Schindler
Jermaine Wattimena v Steve Beaton/Michael Smith

This section really shows the strength in depth of the qualifiers in this event. Defending champion Suljovic needs a result to avoid slipping down the Pro Tour ranks enough that he might not even be seeded, and it's a harsh opener - Gabriel Clemens and Mervyn King are both in the knife fight to get into the Matchplay, King probably with enough in the bank while Gabriel has work to do, there's little to separate them statistically and they are not too far behind Mensur either. Chisnall doesn't have an easy opener, facing the winner of the Krzysztof derby, hilariously placed at the end of the afternoon session so the ref will have a field day - Ratajski ought to get through, and a game against Dave would be too close to call, but Kciuk has beaten Ratajski in a big game before, so who knows? Ian White's looking for a third straight win and a fifth straight final on the Euro Tour, he's not got the worst opponent whoever it is, Viljanen is competent but probably lacks the scoring to stay with Ian, while Schindler is playing a little better than his results suggest but is certainly out of form. Finally we have Wattimena against the winner of a ridiculous opening round game between Steve Beaton and Michael Smith - Beaton's hoovering up all the qualification wins and is playing at a level comparable to someone like Adrian Lewis right now, Smith's averaging a couple of points better than Beaton per turn, and Jermaine, despite being the Dutch number 2 and despite putting up nice consistent results, is worse than either player on the numbers. If Wattimena gets into Sunday evening he'll certainly have earned it.

Bets to come later, they're only out already from a handful of bookies and we're waiting on the domestic qualifiers to finish as well, they're only playing on four boards for just short of 40 players with just a dozen games in the bag as of right now, so with multiple averages below 70 and some winning averages in the 50's, this could take a while.

Monday 10 June 2019

World Cup format

Nice of Willie O'Connor to take the results of the Scotland half knocking him out of the provisional Grand Slam places using the "this is fine" approach, powering through to the final with Steve Lennon, to grab the 12/13 priority as it stands, and with Peter Wright getting into the list now (nice to see Scotland finally claim the title), it's hard to see too many players who could legitimately knock one or both of them out. Suljovic could certainly threaten, but then after that you're looking at the likes of White, Lewis, Chisnall, Durrant or someone a bit more outlandish making a run to the final of one of the Matchplay, Grand Prix, Champions League or World Series finals. You could see one or two maybe doing something, but you need four to knock one of them out - and in the Champions League, it's more or less just Suljovic (if he's even able to get back in the top 8 by the cutoff) that could play there. It seems unlikely.

But to the reason for the post. There's been some talk on Twitter about how there's too much of a singles slant on things, Simon Whitlock being one player that's mentioned this (does he post if him and Anderson don't both lose their singles games to Canada?), and I think it's a fair point. I'm not the biggest fan of doubles, or of the tournament in general, but I think there's the potential to make one change that would address this, and also have the side effect of giving more players - especially from areas that don't normally get a great deal of TV time - the chance to play on a big stage. Make it three man teams.

How would you do this and keep things running in a reasonable timeframe? Here's what I'd do:

Round 1 - One game of triples, exactly the same as the current doubles except every player has to play.

Round 2/QF/SF - Three games of pairs. Teams select the order for players to sit a game out. If you've got one really good player, do you get him in early, or risk leaving it to the final game and not getting there? Tactics ahoy!

Final - Expand to seven sets, have it go:

C v C
B v B
A v A

So three sets of doubles and singles, with triples as a decider if needed. If it gets to the very end, everyone's going to have to contribute. In every round, everyone needs to contribute. It shouldn't affect timings at all, you might need to start the final session a bit earlier, which I think's doable as the format in the afternoon session doesn't exactly lend itself to long matches.

There's one pressing issue that needs addressing - how would adding a third player to each country affect the competitive balance of the tournament? I don't think it would make an enormous issue - if anything, it limits the reliance a team can have on one player (like Wattimena), and there can't be a huge number of countries that have two good players then a huge dropoff. Let's look at the teams we had this year and put up some potential third wheels - nothing scientific, I'm not going back through the rankings to work out who someone would be for certain, I'm just chucking potential names out there:

England: Cross, Smith (Wade/Chisnall/Aspinall/Lewis/whoever)
Scotland: Anderson, Wright (Henderson)
Wales: Price, Clayton (Lewis)
Netherlands: van Gerwen, Wattimena (de Zwaan)
Australia: Whitlock, Anderson (Cadby)
Northern Ireland: Gurney, Dolan (Mansell)
Belgium: Huybrechts, van den Bergh (other Huybrechts/de Decker)
Austria: Suljovic, Lerchbacher (Rodriguez)
Brazil: Portela, Valle (Rangel)
Canada: Murschell, Long (Smith, Part, Fatum)
China: Zong, Liu (anyone who can get a visa)
Czech Republic: Sedlacek, Jirkal (Benecky)
Denmark: Laursen, Heinsoe (come back to me on Thursday - Lokken maybe? Dartistik I'm looking in your direction)
Finland: Kantele, Viljanen (ULF)
Germany: Hopp, Schindler (Clemens)
Gibraltar: Parody, Lopez (Duo)
Greece: Michael, Symeonidis (Pantelidis)
Hong Kong: Lam, Leung (Shek)
Hungary: Szekely, Vesgo (Kovacs)
Ireland: Lennon, O'Connor (Cullen/McGowan/one of the kids)
Italy: Micheletti, Tomassetti (Petri)
Japan: Asada, Muramatsu (Ono, Suzuki?)
Lithuania: Labanauskas, Barauskas (Sakys)
New Zealand: Harris, Puha (Irwin surely can leave the country by then, Parry etc otherwise)
Philippines: Ilagan, Malicdem (Perez)
Poland: Ratajski, Kanik (Kciuk)
Russia: Koltsov, Kadochnikov (Dobromyslova?)
Singapore: Lim, Lim (find a third Lim?)
South Africa: Petersen, Bouwers (Scheffer, Arendse)
Spain: Reyes, Alcinas (Perales)
Sweden: Nilsson, Caris (Larsson, Engstrom, gonna need two now, thank you Magnus)
USA: Young, Puleo (Butler still active? Lauby? Gates?)

I think oddly enough that the team that would get done over most by such a change would be our beaten finalists, although that's maybe only because they're a couple of years away from some of the youngsters making a real breakthrough - McGowan could hold his own at least. I don't think any of the teams that are already strong would suddenly become unbeatable, and I don't think that it would hugely affect the balance amongst the teams with large pre tournament title equity. It'd also probably help the German team the most, given the really small gap in quality between Clemens and the current team (if you're not going to argue that Clemens is better than Schindler already), and we all know the PDC would do almost anything to boost the German market. The lower tier teams would remain that way, but if some of the middling teams get diluted a bit, maybe more would be able to pull off an upset.

It is a bit odd in that this has been one of the better World Cups I remember us having in recent years, but it's also the one which has created the most discussion. I do think there is a bit of a gap in the market for doubles tournaments (maybe they could hold a one off event the day prior to the Grand Prix - think of the puns), and I think that there's certainly big value in getting more players from around the world onto the stage. This'd possibly tie both of these together nicely. Thoughts?

Saturday 8 June 2019


A mildly interesting question was posed on Twitter prior to the Netherlands beating 2-0, which said little more than "MvG plays Ratajski, is that a mistake from Poland?"

Let's ignore any sort of psychology issues that there might be in terms of if Ratajski were to play MvG first and win, which puts huge pressure on Wattimena and we don't know how he'd react, my gut feeling is that if it was the other way around, van Gerwen would be such a prohibitive favourite against Kanik, that it's putting all your eggs in the Ratajski to beat Wattimena basket, and you still have to win the doubles - surely it's better to align your players so that they both have a chance to win? Ratajski was 4/1 at the one bookie I looked at (stupidly long in a best of 7 format, oh well as it happens, fortunately the same book had O'Connor at 7/2, so this is fine), and while I can't remember the Kanik line (because I didn't bet it), I want to say it was about 13/8?

Annoyingly, I don't have a best of seven match set up as an option on the master computer, as there's no ranking events that use this format, so I'll use best of nine instead - it's not going to be a huge difference in the percentages (looking at van Gerwen/Ratajski first, there's a 1.15% difference in the win chances between in a BO9/BO11 game):

As played: van Gerwen 61.69/38.31 Ratajski, Wattimena 71.64/28.34 Kanik
Alternative: van Gerwen 85.93/14.07 Kanik, Wattimena 40.63/59.37 Ratajski

So, as played, the Netherlands win 44.2% of the time, Poland win 10.9% of the time, and the rest go to doubles.

If we switch it round, the Netherlands win 34.9% of the time, Poland win 8.4% of the time, and the rest go to doubles.

As it is, Poland win outright more often, which was my initial thought, but so do the Netherlands - in the alternative, we get 11.8% more games going to a decider. Poland would need to win 2.5 out of those 11.8 in order for the switch to be beneficial - they'd need to win 21% of doubles matches overall. Is this the right ballpark? It's hard to project doubles and I'm not even going to try to do so, but if you look at in both of the formats, the Netherlands win 4 times more often than Poland do, more or less, look at the van Gerwen/Ratajski singles line, then it's got to be fairly close. Naturally I think that line is crap and Ratajski is much closer, and in doubles the power of van Gerwen is roughly halved, then again at the same time the value of Ratajski isn't as much, and the second player is clearly better for the Netherlands.

Overall it probably doesn't matter much at all what order they do things in - but if we ignore the numbers, I think the best shot for the Poles was as played for reasons as alluded to straight off the bat - you are going to have to beat van Gerwen at some point, and you have a player with the ability to do so, take the punt knowing that if Ratajski doesn't win, the other guy is still live (although, in the projections, nowhere near as live as I thought he would be), and if Ratajski does win, then Wattimena has all the pressure in the world on him.

Hard to look past a Netherlands/Scotland final now, which'd put Wattimena into the Grand Slam, but for fun, type "world cup of" into the Wikipedia search box, go to the first link, and tell me how the hell Frazzles and Monster Munch have managed to win major titles? You'll be telling me Kevin McDine's back winning tournaments next...

More midway point review

As there's nothing interesting happening in the darts world except for the annual team Lim cameo and Wales/Norn Iron choking comically and Peter Wright getting a free run at the Grand Slam as a result, here's how every tour card holder is playing this year:

With there being 128 rows, Blogger's feeble image utilities simply can't handle an image of this size, so you'll just have to click onto it

Sunday 2 June 2019

Midway point review

A couple of quick things I want to go over. First, an update on the Second and Third Division Darts - for those that missed the initial posting at the start of the season (and the season before), I'm tracking players that didn't get into the Premier League on a head to head basis and assigning them points based on how they're doing against each other - the second division is the best of the rest (based on how they did last season, how they rank in the FRH rankings, then wildcards to fill the other spots up), and the third division is just wildcards, but also only looking at players under the age of 30 at the start of the year. The current standings are as follows:

Division 2:

Ian White 11.29
Adrian Lewis 10.82
Steve West 10.00
Krzysztof Ratajski 9.25
Jonny Clayton 9.04
Dave Chisnall 8.93
Simon Whitlock 8.69
Joe Cullen 8.05
Jeffrey de Zwaan 7.27
Darren Webster 6.67

Division 3:

Nathan Aspinall 10.99
Danny Noppert 10.30
Max Hopp 9.97
Keegan Brown 9.83
Dimitri van den Bergh 9.22
Josh Payne 9.00
Luke Humphries 8.15
Martin Schindler 7.93
Steve Lennon 7.79
Chris Dobey 6.81

The players at the top may not really surprise you, although there's a few oddities - Lewis seems to have been quiet, but stuck in big wins over Clayton and Cullen back in March and hasn't really played anyone else since then apart from a close loss to White. Steve West's only played one game and that was a big enough win against Webster to give the full two points in their matchup. de Zwaan being so low looks odd, but he's lost to all of Clayton, Cullen, White (twice) and Ratajski, and only picked up wins over Webster and Chisnall. In the third, Payne has yet to play anyone, but Dobey being bottom looks an outlier. You don't think of him having a bad season, but against this group of opponents he's 0-5, with tight losses to the top two, then Hopp and van den Bergh (twice) have beaten Chris fairly comfortably.

I'll also post up some tiers for the FRH rankings. I post these up after most weekends of events, and the methodology is in the FAQ, but for clarity's sake, we basically take all senior tour ranking money, add on the prize money someone would get if they lose the first Euro Tour game as a seed, do not remove anything due to lack of tour card status, but do not have everything count in its entirety for two years. It counts in full up until 600 days before it's two years old (so for a little over four months), then degrades at 1% every six days until, two years from when the cash was made, it's back at zero the same as the official rankings. This gives a higher priority to more recent results. So where's everyone at? Here's everyone with at least 20,000 points right now:

1m - 1.1m: van Gerwen
375k - 400k: Cross
350k - 375k: M Smith, G Anderson
300k - 325k: Price, Gurney
275k - 300k: Wade
250k - 275k: Wright, Aspinall
225k - 250k: White
200k - 225k: Suljovic, Chisnall
175k - 200k: Whitlock
150k - 175k: Clayton, A Lewis
140k - 150k: D Webster, Cullen
130k - 140k: Hopp, Bunting
120k - 130k: Beaton, Wattimena, King
110k - 120k: de Zwaan, West
100k - 110k: Henderson, Dobey
95k - 100k: J Wilson, Brown, Evans, Noppert, Ratajski, K Anderson
90k - 95k: K Huybrechts, van den Bergh, Lennon, Dolan
85k - 90k: J Lewis
80k - 85k: van der Voort, van Barneveld, Joyce, P Taylor
75k - 80k: Reyes, Payne, Klaasen, Searle
70k - 75k: Humphries, O'Connor
60k - 65k: Clemens, van de Pas, North, R Smith
55k - 60k: Durrant, Meulenkamp, Alcinas, Norris, Schindler, Dekker
50k - 55k: Thornton
45k - 50k: Labanauskas, Petersen
40k - 45k: Mansell, Pipe, Stevenson, Evetts
35k - 40k: Tabern, Rodriguez
30k - 35k: Richardson, Edgar, M Webster, Hughes, Barnard
25k - 30k: Razma, Cadby, Burton, Nicholson, Boulton, Hunt
20k - 25k: Ward, Jones, Lerchbacher, Owen, Monk, Marijanovic, de Graaf, Gilding, Edhouse, Woodhouse, Kist, R Huybrechts, Harris

As it may be of interest, there's curently 343 players listed in the rankings, although 85 of these have less than 1,000 points and a further 19 have exactly 1,000. The number of players in the rankings has stayed roughly around that area for quite a while, but in about 9 months or so I'd expect the numbers to fall, as historically you've had associates enter a UK Open qualifier and make just one cash or similar, which'll all disappear then. It won't stop lots of European associates and day members getting one European Tour cash and showing on the rankings, but it should trim things down somewhat.

Saturday 1 June 2019

1000 not out

The more observant of you (or those who have far too much time on their hands) might have noticed that the betting tracking widget is now showing a record of 489-511 - which is exactly 1,000 bets in the bank. Just for fun, a few pieces:

For reference, roughly half the best have come since the 2018 worlds, which coincides with the introduction of DartConnect - while the first half is mostly drakking around, since then we had an amazing worlds and then had much, much more data to work with than what I'd just pulled from the European Tour and majors.

Who've we bet on the most?

That's anyone we've bet on more than 10 times, and it shouldn't be a surprise that Ian White leads the way. Who've we bet against the most?

The model hated Wade for a long, long time, so it's not too much of a surprise to see him up there. Same with Gurney really, MvG we've talked about recently, Whitlock we've been freely laying for ages. Who's made us the most profit to bet on?

Klaasen and Webster are way up there, pretty much solely based on the two biggest single wins in the records - taking Webster over Whitlock in the 2015 worlds at 3/1 for a full unit, then taking Klaasen over Taylor at 7/2 for three quarters of a unit a year later. van Gerwen's helped by a rare early Premier League bet on Gary Anderson when he was somehow odds against to win a match, which was nice. Oddly enough, and I won't put up the chart, Klaasen is also in the top five most profitable players when we're betting against him - beaten only by Whitlock, Wright and Jamie Lewis. I'd say maybe we should just bet more on Klaasen any time we do so out of general principle, but that kind of requires him to get into events where there is a market - sort it out Jelle!