Sunday 28 July 2019

Cross GOAT

So Rob got home, damnit, should have been more bullish on him, but who could have envisaged Smith playing quite how he did to get into an insurmountable deficit, which he nearly surmounted? God knows. Was a great final as long as you didn't turn off midway through the second session, hopefully this doesn't take things out of Michael too much.

New FRH rankings:

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

Wattimena gets bumped out of the top 20 in favour of King. Durrant is up to #26 and will almost certainly hit the top 25 extremely quickly just on countback alone. Jamie Hughes just making the event has put him into the top 50, surely he will be able to keep climbing, but he's now at the stage where he needs to put in either huge floor performances or TV runs to make huge jumps.

And then there were two

So it comes down to Rob Cross against Michael Smith for all the cheddar, Cross looking for, oddly, his first title of the year and second major overall, and his first ranking title in over a year, while Smith is also looking for his first title of the year, his first major title, and he's not won a ranking event for two months longer than Cross has, so there's a lot on the line here. The bookies can hardly separate them (Cross is 5/6 with Smith the opposite), but can we? First things first, the year long stats:

That's not overly pretty reading for Smith - Cross hasn't played quite as many events as Smith has (only having played half the Pro Tour events), but his win/loss percentage is basically the same as Smith's, and in both the legs he's won and the legs he's lost, he's performed considerably better - which translates to the model thinking Cross wins the final 73% of the time. That's not exactly 5/6. How have their averages fluctuated over the course of the year?

Not overly pretty for Smith either, it looks like Cross has a bit of a slump before rising again once the Matchplay's been under way, but there's a very real sample size issue possibly at play, at that point in the year he wasn't playing much darts, at least ranking darts, and went out fairly early in some Euro Tours when he was playing. How about how they've done in this event?

Here it's a bit closer - Smith's actually doing better in the legs he's won, with a great showing of power legs, primarily against King and Hughes, while we all saw the level of play he put in to effectively end the game early against Durrant yesterday. Those winning legs give Smith the match 63% of the time if we just consider Matchplay stats, although when Smith's had some bad legs, they've been bad enough that Cross still leads in the overall statistics, although that clownshow leg against King where Smith had 27 darts and still lost the leg may have something to do with that.

Head to head, Cross has a pretty dominating record - 12-3, although a lot of this is in unranked tournaments, which included two of Smith's three wins in the World Series last year. They last met for ranked money in the UK Open semi final where Cross obviously won, while Cross also won their other major meetings late in 2017 - in the European Championships, which was easy, and in the worlds, which was anything but, and I think we can all remember how that one went down. I suppose the only real thing is that the only time these two have met in a final, although unranked, Smith had his only real comfortable win he's had against Cross, 8-2 in Shanghai, the other two wins for him being deciding leg shootouts.

It's really hard to look past Cross here, but there's something in the way Smith's played in this event that dissuades me from going past the Cross bet. I get the sense that he's finally at the stage in his career where he's ready to nick a title, he finally managed to get to the major final in the worlds and it didn't work out, and I think that experience might be enough to get him over the line. On the other hand, after Gurney chucked away that huge lead in the semi final, is Cross's name already on the trophy? I'm not going to bet this, and just enjoy the final, which for the tournament leaves us down three quarters of a unit, not great but could have been a lot worse given the state we were in where we were going multiple underdogs and very few favourites, and all the chalk was coming home - except in the few matches we did go for the favourite (thanks Gerwyn and Peter).

Some other notes - we had the fifth weekend of the Asian Tour, and Paul Lim had a great weekend, claiming event 9 and finishing runner up in event 10, beating the young Chinese kid that looked a decent prospect in the 2018 worlds, but then losing to Yuki Yamada, who I don't really know a lot about but was a finalist earlier in the year, and has put himself in the equation for an Ally Pally spot (I'm going to the Friday evening straight before Christmas by the way) - Ilagan and Lim have clinched and Malicdem looks fairly safe, but then Asada, Lam, Yamada and Muramatsu are all separated by less than $1,500, so it wouldn't take much for any of them to power their way in. Especially if Asada is able to win the Japanese qualifier again, it's more or less wide open for the last spot.

Saturday 27 July 2019

Quick thoughts on the semi finals

No bets on the Durrant/Smith match. I find it very hard to separate the two on season long stats, but one thing you might want to consider is that Smith has the most twelve dart legs of anyone in the tournament to date with nine - Durrant only has two. Sure, Durrant has the most 13-15 dart legs in the event that's left (Bunting actually has a couple more), but will the ability Smith has to put in a power scoring leg more often make the difference? The model just based on the Matchplay rates Smith as a substantial favourite, but I'm not going to start betting based on such a small sample size.

That small sample size for Cross and Gurney strongly favours Cross. We're talking 85/15 here, over the course of the tournament Cross has finished 29 of his 37 legs won in fifteen darts or better, inclusive of seven twelve dart or better legs, this is compared to Gurney's 23 from 37, where only five were in twelve or less. Gurney is maintaining his stupidly high consistency level, his losing average in the tournament is only a quarter of a point lower than his winning average, and his losing average is comparable to Cross's, give or take half a point. Cross does however have a four point lead on winning average, and over the course of the season Cross scores over five points higher per winning leg turn than Gurney does (and a point higher on losing leg turns), which indicates both players are doing comparably well to how they've done season long. Season long stats rate Cross to win 90% of the time, so I've got no real problem in 0.5u Cross 8/15, I think with this sort of edge I really ought to go the full unit, but we've been stung by Gurney three times in this tournament. Heck, that price isn't much better than what we got on Wright yesterday, and we saw how that ended up (well, those watching live did, anyway).

Friday 26 July 2019

Oh, it's always fun when dartsdata crashes

Such joy. I have no idea why the PDC persists with a company that seems incapable of watching a TV and entering what the opposing player has thrown with such alarming regularity, one can only assume Uncle Barry was locked down to a twenty year contract at some point and is stuck with the useless fuckers. Still, at least the PDC has refs, which is more than other organisations have...

In any case, huge thanks to Martin, Carl and whoever runs @theredbit180 on Twitter for helping me piece together the stats for the Wright/Gurney match. It's always great when a community doing things for the love of the game can piece things together better than a multi million pound organisation.

So we're down to Cross/Gurney and Durrant/Smith, the key thing here being the possibility of Glen saying "butnahhhhh" to Jamie Hughes stealing his Grand Slam spot by swiping it straight back with a victory, it should be interesting to note at this stage that the prize for winning the semi final is worth less than the prize for winning the quarter final, the same stupidity that exist in the Euro Tour going from the quarters to the semis, except on a much larger scale. That means by beating Smith, Durrant would only get up to #22 in the FRH rankings, rather than the top 20 which he would have done with any sensible prize structure.

I'll look at the odds for tomorrow's matches in the morning. I could look at the Duzza match now but frankly these past few days have taken things completely out of me. It won't take long to shove things into the master computer, but it may take a bit of time for the bookies to price up Cross/Gurney, so I'll wait.

Next weekend is PC21 and PC22, where there seems to be basically nobody of note playing either of them. It's the one that's over in Hildesheim, and just looking at the first one there's no van Gerwen, Cross, Gurney, GAndo, Wade, Wright or ALewis from the FRH top 20. No Cadby either. That makes things super wide open, so maybe there's some decent each way value to be had on these.

While I'm not analysing the final, here's a first couple of parts in an occasional series - "If I ran the PDC":

1) Winners on the Asian Tour win an entry into a Players Championship event of their choice

This makes some sense to me. I would imagine that if you put this into play, most players who would be in a position to utilise this would either wait until they've banked a couple and play a weekend, or (and?) look to time a week to ten days where there is also Challenge Tour events or decent sized BDO opens which they can also take advantage of. The Asian Tour seems so separate in a way that other regional tours aren't, especially since the DPA tour at least has some influence in getting into the World Series. You could look to do similar for other something like the DPA tour, but I think throwing up the opportunity for an Ilagan, Malicdem, Asada etc to be able to target a time period where there's the Pro Tour midweek, play a couple of events and bookend them with the Challenge Tour or other major opens, it'd allow them to get enough darts in whereby the sunk cost of flights may be easily negated, ignoring the fact that by winning on the Asian Tour they've got a few quid in the bank anyway. Just one Pro Tour win would come close to paying for the flights in themselves.

2) PDC qualifiers for the Grand Slam are initially seeded by Grand Slam qualification countback

Again, this makes perfect sense to me. If Durrant wins tomorrow, surely it would be logical to start seeding by the last players not to make it in? So Hughes would be the #1 seed, then Clayton, Lewis, Ratajski etc? There's an effective Order of Merit for qualifying for the Slam - if you're not high enough to get in directly on it, seed the qualifier by it.

Back in the morning.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Matchplay QF bets

Seems everyone got eliminated yesterday, let's take a peek at who's left:

Smith/King - Market is 2/5 Smith. This seems about right. King, based on year long stats, is just under 35%, which isn't amazing value in any case, but let's factor in the conditions. I live up in the north west and it's fucking unbearable right now. King's done incredibly well these last two games, but I have to think that the extended format once you get to the quarters will surely be a bridge too far. If he can overcome it, good luck to the lad, I'm not going to recommend tiny edges on the off chance he doesn't fall apart in the mid-late stages.

Durrant/Wade - Oh boy, this one should be fun. I'm sure I've mentioned previously that if there's one player that I think Glen is comparable to in the PDC in terms of style, it's probably Wade, I'm really looking forward to this match. I'm going to have to go with a small nibble on James here, 0.25u Wade 6/5, over the course of a Matchplay quarter final length game I'm getting Wade at 55%, that's got to be worth the shot at odds against, Wade's been taken to overtime both games and is surely playing at a high enough level that he'll at least be able to drag it out into his backyard - while Glen's played long games in the past, there's not been too many of them, and it'll have been exclusively at Lakeside, this is the unknown.

Cross/Bunting - 1u Cross 1/4, Stephen's fun ends here. Cross is simply playing far too well and is nearly at 90% on my projections.

Wright/Gurney - 0.5u Wright 1/2, Peter's just absolutely killing it over the last two weeks. Daryl rates as an enormous underdog on the projections, as always I'll reference the consistency, and he's actually again averaging nearly three points higher on losing legs in this event than in winning legs. That's because Evans and Brown let him off. Wright won't do that.

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Matchplay round 2 bets

Not a great deal in terms of shocks on day 2/3, so no post since day 1 - I suppose the only thing that was a bit odd is Chisnall losing to Hopp, and Cullen not winning a leg, everything else was more or less just seeds or favourites advancing, which isn't too pretty given we've been on underdogs. What for round 2?

Smith/Hopp - no bet, Hopp didn't play badly, Smith was maybe a touch fortunate to get by Hughes. We can get north of 2/1 on Hopp, nearly value but Smith's up near 65% so not quite enough edge.

Wade/Suljovic - 0.25u Wade 4/5, the market has this fairly even and I don't know why, Mensur hasn't done a great deal this year whereas James has, this looks more like a 2/1 game to me.

Anderson/King - 0.25u King 11/4, we're going to stay on King after his first impressive display, Anderson frankly wasn't great against Noppert, and just got let off by Danny missing many doubles. Think Mervyn's about 40% here, only concern is that third on it may be a bit hotter than when he opened on Saturday, but it's only a race to 11 so it shouldn't be that bad.

van Gerwen/Durrant - no bet, the market's correctly assessing that MvG isn't playing great and that Durrant is quality, and put him at 9/4 - I'd probably edge it slightly closer, but not enough that we can start thinking about betting on Glen. It certainly isn't a "ZOMG van Gerwen is shorter than 1/3 pile on" situation.

Gurney/Brown - 0.25u Brown 21/10, Keegan's pretty damn close to Gurney in overall quality, he's within a point per turn over the course of the year. As he's got a fair bit of inconsistency, his winning average is actually higher than Daryl's and he projects as a favourite as a result, but let's not go too crazy.

Bunting/White - no bet, Bunting's doing just about enough that he probably steals this one time out of three, which is exactly where the market's at. This is despite winning by the narrowest of margins in the last round, and that he plays someone who won by completely the opposite.

Cross/Ratajski - no bet, I'd have thought that Krzysztof being near 3/1 would be a bet against anyone in the world given how good he is, but then again, Cross is just that good. Line looks extremely accurate.

Wright/Whitlock - 1u Wright 2/7, Whitlock wasn't awful yesterday and Wright did look a bit sluggish, but recent form is more than one game and Peter has incredible recent form, he also ought to win this well over 85% of the time on season long data. This looks safe.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Matchplay day 1 - this is all going nicely OH GOD NO

Let's just chuck out some winners and losers, shall we?

Winner - Mervyn King. Hugely. Four legs won in four visits is pretty impressive, two of them at key points - one after it went 5-5 to kick off the final session, then one to ice the match, getting a big lead and then killing the game when it looked like it might have been in doubt.

Winner - Rob Cross. First three legs were a bit ropey, but after that zero complaints can be had - finished every leg after that in 15 darts or less, averaged 97 in the three legs he didn't win, it didn't appear flashy but it was extremely competent and a big warning sign to the field.

Winner - Nathan Aspinall. Odd choice, but there really wasn't much he could have done - every leg he won was in fifteen or less, and on the legs King won, he was one point below averaging 100 (no, not that he was averaging 99, he scored 4599 in 46 visits). Sometimes you just run into someone who's unplayable.

Loser - Gerwyn Price. For the love of god, what was that? Even when it was looking fairly comfortable at 6-3, he hadn't won a single leg in fifteen darts, then he proceeds to do a leg that I'd be disappointed with by not even halving his score in fifteen darts, somehow hauls it to 8-8, misses a match dart on the 140 to avoid overtime, and the rest is history.

Everyone else I'd have to say was break even. Bunting was simply the more competent player early on but there was a reason why Price was able to have a decent lead in the early stages. Anderson was poor, at least for his standards, Noppert at least showed a bit of a pulse after gifting Anderson a 4-0 lead primarily through missed doubles, extremely annoying as he'd have won the match if he took his chances, Dobey was at least putting himself into positions to win legs but I think got a bit disheartened after losing the first couple of legs, which he could easily have won.

It's Super Sunday tomorrow, we're going to lose a quarter of the field from what it started as, we only have the Wattimena play to concern ourselves with on the betting front but there's so many hugely interesting games, let's enjoy the action without worrying about pluses and minuses.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Matchplay round 1 bets

Let's work through them in chronological order:

Aspinall/King - 0.25u King 9/4, honestly this doesn't seem anywhere near as one sided as the market makes out. King's winning scoring is within half a point of Nathan's, while his losing scoring is a couple of points back meaning he might give away a couple of legs, Mervyn's projecting at 45%, and I really don't think you can adjust it that far down based on a slight bit of inconsistency.

Price/Bunting - 1u Price 4/9, this looks the other way around. Bunting is a clear five points behind Price on winning points per turn and is more inconsistent to boot. Projections show Price at over 80% to claim the first round win, so 4/9 looks like a nice enough edge to work with.

Anderson/Noppert - 0.25u Noppert 11/4, I should have just recommended the bet when seeing the 7/2 earlier - I've taken that, but I think I still need to recommend Danny at this price, Anderson no longer projects as the underdog after a couple of solid days of performance, but he's not put in anywhere near the level of performance that makes this line even remotely justifiable. It's 55/45 Anderson on year long stats.

Cross/Dobey - no bet. Should probably go with Cross, he's looked sublime in a couple of games this weekend and looks to have enough game that 4/11 is a tempter, it's probably acca safe but I can't really recommend a straight single play. Dobey's shown enough about him this year that the 80% I'm seeing for Cross might be a slight overestimate.

Webster/Ratajski - no bet, Darren continues to struggle, but the market's correctly adjusted to that I think - it's 1/2 on the Pole and I'm reckoning about 70/30 in his favour, so no real edge on the Eagle here.

Chisnall/Hopp - no bet again. It's another 1/2 line, and I'm seeing Dave within a percentage point of that implied probability. Hopp's not made a huge number of headlines this year in comparison to Chisnall but is playing well enough that we're not interested in lumping on Dave.

White/Cullen - no bet once more, and for the exact same reasons as the last two. Again, White is around the 1/2 mark, and I'm seeing him at 66%, so no thanks - that's shifted in a solid 5% in Cullen's favour as a result of the past couple of days.

Smith/Hughes - no bet. This is a reluctant one, I should be firing on Hughes as we're getting close to 6/4 and both players are rated closely enough that it ought to be a flip, there's just something very worrying about how Hughes has played these past two days, I wouldn't want to say it's a case of he's taken the foot off the pedal having got into here at the last second, but those stats don't look great.

Wade/de Zwaan - no bet. Very close to firing on Jeffrey, if the money comes in on Wade (and there's every reason to think that it might do), then a small play might be in order. Jeffrey is projecting at about 43%, albeit with a bit more inconsistency, the 13/8 currently available isn't quite enough. If it shifts nearer to 2/1 then fire at will.

Suljovic/Wattimena - 0.25u Wattimena 23/10, the projection here is about the same as what it is between Wade and de Zwaan, but we're getting a much better price so perfectly happy with recommending a bet on this one. That head to head record is a bit of a concern but surely Jermaine will put that aside at some point.

van Gerwen/Beaton - no bet. Odd one, you would expect over a longer format that the market would favour MvG more than it does do in the Euro Tours, but we're only getting 6/1 on Steve, and he's not even up at 20% to win the game, so no shock punts at this stage.

Lewis/Durrant - no bet, very close to firing on Glen, 8/13 is probably slight value, but given I'd put the line at about 2-1 in Glen's favour, with Adie punching through to a semi final today and with Glen not looking brilliant, I think there's enough uncertainty to avoid it. And let's not forget, for all Glen's experience, it's his first proper PDC major, and we've all seen him talk about what it means to play here - maybe it means too much?

Clayton/Brown - no bet, this one looks extremely close to being on the money, Clayton's rated at 4/5 and I'm seeing him in the mid 50's, could be one to look at the over/under number of legs.

Whitlock/Henderson - 0.25u Henderson 6/5, this is another one where I'm seeing someone in the mid 50's to win the game. Fortunately for us, it isn't Simon Whitlock, who continued to look pedestrian these past couple of days.

Gurney/Evans - 0.25u Evans 2/1, the only thing that's in Gurney's favour here is the consistency rating, because as far as winning legs go they currently score within 1/100th of a point per turn of each other. It's only the distribution of that which separates them - Ricky being a tiny favourite. I mention consistency, Gurney's losing average is about 1 point lower than his winning average, but Evans is solidly below the PDC average on that as well. This isn't a concern and looks a good bet.

Wright/van der Voort - no bet, while Wright looks unstoppable, he needs to be a bit more of unstoppable in order to punt at 1/3 - he's a little bit better than that, but south of 80%. It's not worth the gamble.

That's your lot - six bets, one big favourite in Price, one minor dog in Henderson and then four in the 2/1 to 3/1 range where if we can pick off two of them, we end up nicely ahead.

Pre-Matchplay final checkup

Peter Wright's claimed his second title in as many days, so with Michael van Gerwen and James Wade having given this Pro Tour double header a miss, let's have a quick look at the stats of the remaining 30 players from these two events:

Clearly Peter is leading the way, but some interesting things to note:

- Michael Smith's got to count himself pretty unlucky - sure, you wouldn't expect two first round losses to Toni Alcinas and Pete Hudson, but it's not like he was playing badly in the legs he lost.
- The other players up there are those that you'd have thought would be, but Joe Cullen's put a bit of form together right at the right time, capped with a final run today (although he was obliterated therein) following a last 16 yesterday. Maybe it's not so straightforward for Ian White as we first thought.
- While Smith lost twice in the first round, so did his opponent Jamie Hughes (to Josh Payne and Kirk Shepherd), and didn't look good in either of them, not the greatest of looks coming into a big major. Similarly, fellow newbie on the circuit Glen Durrant seemed a fair bit off the pace, sure it took Wright to beat him yesterday, but he did chuck away a 5-2 lead in that then lose to Steve West in the opening round today.
- Speaking of Wright, the players in his quarter really haven't performed - five of the seven others are all in the bottom ten of this pair of events, Gurney's also in the bottom half - only Jonny Clayton continues to put up any kind of resistance in his quarter and and 7/4 for Peter Wright to claim it looks really quite good.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Michael Smith (UP 1)
3 Rob Cross (DOWN 1)
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
19 Max Hopp
20 Jermaine Wattimena

Cross's prize money degrading faster than Smith's has helped Michael claim the #2 spot in the rankings despite a pretty poor couple of days results wise. Otherwise there's no movement - Wright's double bink has kept him above White where some real failures would have seen him slip to #10, he's opened up a near 20k point gap over him and is back within 10k of Aspinall. Cullen's final has stabilised him in the top 16 for now, lower down Ron Meulenkamp's semi final yesterday sees him hit the top 50, Justin Pipe is now solidly back in the top 64 following his final, a couple of board wins for Christian Kist has bumped him back into the top 90, surprise semi finalist today Adrian Gray is up to near the top 128.

I'm going to shove all the first round matchups into the master computer with all of the data from the last two days and recommend bets accordingly, watch this space.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

PC19 - There is now steam in the Flying Scotsman

Nowhere near fully digested what's happened today, that's for tomorrow during a well earned day off work, but the critical information right now is that Gary Anderson not only entered an event, but didn't withdraw from it, and actually managed to reach the semi finals - which gives us a heck of a lot more data than what we had previously to this year, which was more or less fuck all.

In the 33 legs he won, he managed five in 12 darts or better, a further sixteen in 15 or better, and all but one of the remainder were in 18 or better. Which goes at a nice clip of 95 and a half for winning average. That's not bad, that's more or less in the same region as James Wade, Peter Wright (who dicked him again), and a touch better than Durrant and Hughes. Then again, it's not that much better than the low 93 he was doing prior to today, in around the same sample size - so if we split the difference he's at about the same level as Noppert, O'Connor, Kyle Anderson... let's not just look at "ZOMG SEMI FINAL" and assume he's back. Heck, he nearly fucked up a 5-0 lead against Marko fucking Kantele of all people. Still, more data is better data, let's build on this and try to draw some more useful conclusions tomorrow evening.

But hey! Great news! The BDO has confirmed the World Trophy for the back end of August, in Blackburn of all places!

Sunday 14 July 2019

Quarter 4 - The Wright stuff

We kick off with the latest TV title winner in Peter Wright (congrats to Gabriel Clemens for making the final by the way, that title is surely just a matter of time, although we've been saying that about Chris Dobey for three years now), who's bizarrely seen as not being in the greatest of form despite having the fourth highest points per turn of anyone in the world - I suppose some people do just look at titles. Maybe now that he's won one he starts getting a bit more credit? His first opponent is Vincent van der Voort, often billed as the fastest player in the world despite not even being the fastest player in this quarter, the Dutchman seemingly having a bit of time without any back problems, which has allowed him to put together solid statistics throughout the year although in terms of results it's mostly been a few quarter finals and steady accumulation, rather than anything spectacular, as such he was only just able to get into the field. Should be an easy enough win for Peter, although he only has a 6-5 head to head record and lost their only meeting this season, and also lost their only meeting in a major back in 2014.

And his second round opponent might not be that much tougher - Simon Whitlock is seemingly in a stage of decline in his career, his rankings being kept alive by sporadic good runs such as the final he made on the European Tour, and the European Championship run last autumn. He looks like he's putting things together a bit more in the last couple of months but is still playing a lot worse than his ranking suggests. John Henderson will be his opponent, Hendo having a nice run of quarter finals earlier in the year and a semi final in April, but in the last couple of months it's been a bit quieter. He's still putting together better statistics in more or less every single category than the Australian, and ought to be a moderate favourite in this one. Hendo edges the head to head 4-3, but they've only met once since 2014.

Daryl Gurney's the top seed in this section, but I'm not sure he's the best player in this section, putting together scoring that's a fair bit worse than Wright, and is not that much better than the other players in his mini-section, although his numbers are pretty odd in that his winning legs are really quite average, below his first round opponent Ricky Evans, but his losing legs are not far behind his winning legs per turn at all, so is he running bad or being gifted legs? Or both? He has at least won a Euro Tour, so can't be doing too bad, and in that Euro Tour event he beat, er, Ricky Evans in the final. Ricky's been getting a bit gimmicky with his walk-ons and that banter is disguising that his quality of play has come on leaps and bounds in the last twelve months, reaching three finals, two of them being on the European Tour, so getting lumps of cash to push him up the rankings. This'll be deceptively close - that Gurney final win pulled back the head to head to 4-3 in favour of Evans, Ricky having won the three previous matches.

The final game is Jonny Clayton against Keegan Brown - Clayton is perceived as being a bit out of form, and I'm not really sure why given he's picked up another floor title this season and is scoring perfectly fine - I suppose he's just had a few accidents early in the Euro Tour events that doesn't help perception. It ought to be a good opening match against Keegan, who's becoming a bit of a specialist against Michael van Gerwen, having beaten him twice in the Euro Tour on his way to semi finals in both events, which is a nice habit to get into. This is another game that threatens to be very close - they only appear to have the one meeting, where Clayton won a board final in a deciding leg on the floor earlier this year.

Later on, I think Wright looks to be as close to a lock to make the quarters as anyone in the field, whereas the other quarter finalist could realistically be any of them - but whoever it is ought to be an underdog to Wright in the quarter.

Everyone wants more graphs, so let's have another one:

Most players are just below their dot, although some have shifted a bit funny - VVDV is the orange dot, Brown is the salmony one, Beaton's the light green dot and Ratajski's the darker green one.

Berry van Peer's recently binked Challenge Tour 11 which has shoved into a three way clusterfuck for fourth right now with him, Edhouse and Harris within fifty quid of each other, Edhouse having had another first round accident and Harris only mincashing. Cameron Menzies was the beaten finalist, forcing his way up to second in the rankings, while Arjan Konterman and Rusty Jake Rodriguez made nice runs through to the semi finals.

Saturday 13 July 2019

Quarter 3 - Cross or Price? Or White? Or Ratajski?

In reference to the comment at the end of the previous post, of course they couldn't have switched the events up, we can't have players missing the Pro Tour because of that most prestigious events that is the German Darts Masters, can we? Completely forgot that was on this weekend, oh well, I'm sure MvG will clean up again... oh. Still, I hope someone made some Nico Kurz making short work of Gary Anderson pun, just to see who would get it.

Rob Cross is the top seeded player in this section of the draw, and has an OK opener against Chris Dobey, who's making his debut here after being extremely close to qualifying in the past few years, I think being the last man out on at least one occasion. Cross hasn't exactly racked up the titles this year, but has made the final of both the UK Open and the Premier League, and statistically is right up there with the best in the game, although in competitive events we've not seen him on the Pro Tour in quite a while and he's dropped out of the last three Euro Tours he's played pretty early. Dobey's still looking for his first title, getting close in Denmark to clinch his place here but completely running out of steam in the final. Cross has won three out of their four meetings, including the only one this year on the Euro Tour. Rob should have enough you'd think.

Darren Webster's looking to get things back together after a horrible twelve months since he made the quarters last year (beating Cross, oddly enough) - eleven first round defeats on the floor isn't a good look and he's one of the two weakest seeds in the event. It's not a good sign that he's drawn one of the very best qualifiers in Krzysztof Ratajski, the Pole having claimed another floor title recently and has put enough together to qualify for this. Their only previous meeting was on TV in the snow-affected UK Open, and I can't look past a repeat of that result where Ratajski won 10-7, although I think that'd be a minimum sort of scoreline, it could well be more one sided than that.

Gerwyn Price has continued to raise his game after getting his first major title last autumn and can now class himself amongst the world's elite, and has to fancy his chances of doing some damage in this section of the draw. He's continuing to rack up titles having picked up a pair of Pro Tours, reached the UK Open semi and seems to be deep in events more often than not. His first round opponent will be Stephen Bunting, who's managed to get here just about, although that was in doubt a couple of months ago, but a final on the floor at the start of May made things safe enough, and the final in the Czech Republic late last month was overkill. Stephen's a big name and still has his moments, but is somewhat down the pecking order of qualifiers nowadays and surely won't be able to put up enough resistance to trouble the Iceman over a game of this distance - their meeting in Denmark recently wasn't close and Price has won their last three matchups.

Finally we've got Ian White, who is putting together the sort of season he did last year, if not more impressive - winning two Euro Tour titles, making the final of two others, it's just the same lingering question of if he can do it in a televised major. You would think that having the run that he's had in the Euro Tour, it's going to happen sooner rather than later, and he's got a decent chance to get things going against Joe Cullen, who has had quite frankly a horrible last twelve months after nearly beating Gary Anderson here last time around in the quarter final. He made the semis of the European Championship but that's about it - he's slipped from the top 16, hasn't threatened to do much of anything on the Pro Tour, and even in the Euro Tour which, at least in 2018, was the safest of spaces for him, he's started losing early and doing so often. He needs to put his game back together quickly, and running into one of the in form players in the world right now isn't going to be the place where it happens. They've met eleven times, all on the floor, but oddly not since 2016, where White won both meetings very deep in each event.

Later on, Cross ought to be favoured - prohibitively if it was Webster, while it would be closer against Krzysztof, but he still should be comfortable. Price against White would be an incredibly tasty second round match up - Price is playing somewhat better darts, and while I'd project Gerwyn to win it quite a high proportion of the time, in reality it would probably be closer. As for who wins the quarter, I think Cross against either of these should be tight, similarly if Ratajski sneaked through, it'd be tight, except there Price/White probably has the small edge, rather than the other way around.

Quick notes on the Challenge Tour - it's been a huge weekend for Cody Harris, who won event 9 and reached the semis of event 10, where he lost to eventual winner Nick Fullwell, a name who's been around for quite some time (heck, he was in the PDC worlds ten years ago), but has been quiet on the Challenge Tour this year, only having picked up £200 prior to this weekend, so he only sneaks into the top 10 of the current rankings. Harris moves into a tie for third with Ritchie Edhouse who had a rare couple of blanks, while Koltsov in second could only gain £200 on Stephen Burton, who still has a substantial lead. Nathan Rafferty had a good Saturday, picking up £1200 (including making the final where he lost to Fullwell) to get up to sixth, Andy Jenkins hit a nine on a run to the semis, while Martin Atkins (Wigan) was the other beaten finalist. Lower down the order it was a good day for Mareno Michels and Gary Blades, who apart from Harris and Rafferty were the only players to make the last 16 both times. Only £500 separates Noguera in 5th to Beveridge in 11th, so a lot of jockeying for position as Pro Tour alternates might go on and it wouldn't take a huge amount of cash to queue jump several players.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Quarter 2 - it's wide open

There's a heck of a lot of talent in this quarter so let's start from the top. Michael Smith's not done a huge amount in terms of results since making the final of the worlds, he had a nice run in the UK Open and hit a couple of finals at a time where he had dropped out of the Euro Tour seeds, but you'd expect someone of Smith's calibre and quality of play to have won something this season. Jamie Hughes has, and it's a very tight matchup between Smith and the latest European Tour winner. Hard to call, Jamie's probably peaking at the right time but Smith did have a nice run in Vegas to boost confidence. They've only met once, a 6-0 Smith win last season the day after, according to dartsdatabase, Smith was winning an event in Texas while simultaneously losing in the first round to Benito van de Pas in Ireland. You have to laugh.

Dave Chisnall's also been in the winners circle this year, grabbing a Euro Tour title as well as two Pro Tour events, and was probably the player to beat in the early part of the season before maybe cooling off slightly before taking the Denmark title. Max Hopp is his opponent, the German is scoring alright, but has been very run of the mill in terms of results outside of one Pro Tour final where he lost a decider to Harry Ward, as well as making one Euro Tour semi where he really should have been able to beat Simon Whitlock. Chizzy's rightly a nice favourite and ought to have enough to see this one home. They've met several times - Hopp's won a couple of close ones but Chizzy's won the rest, and mostly fairly comfortably, a straight sets win in the last Grand Prix and a 6-1 rout in the World Series finals being the most recent games.

Hard to say what we think about Gary Anderson. He's played next to no competitive darts at all, be that through the injury issues that saw him miss out on the Premier League, continued ignorance of the existence of the European Tour, or through late withdrawals to events he has been in. When he has played, he's not been good, losing to Steve Beaton in the UK Open, then not winning his board in four Pro Tour events with early losses to van der Voort, Whitehead, Nentjes and 6-0 to Wright. Less than 80 legs is no sample, but Noppert's outplayed what Gary's done there over 500+ legs. Danny has quietly been putting together excellent performances, highlighted by a pair of semi finals in the Pro Tour in one weekend, and is playing at an extremely similar level to the likes of Willie O'Connor and Nathan Aspinall, albeit more explosive. That's good enough to equate to a 3/1 shot of beating MvG in a Matchplay final. He's 7/2 right now, which is just silly - heck, their previous TV meeting (when Noppert was still in the BDO) went 10-9 to Anderson, and Noppert won their only meeting since.

Speaking of Nathan Aspinall, the newest major champion and World Series event winner completes the seeds in this section. He's comprehensively shown that the worlds semi was not a fluke. He's nearly added another couple of ranking titles to that UK Open win, and has forced himself up into the top 16 in any reasonable metric you want to use - although it is a debut for him here. One player it's not a debut for is Mervyn King, who was able to deal with van Gerwen and open up the draw for Aspinall, but has been pretty variable in how he's done. He's got a big consistency differential, which has seen him win with some decent legs that project King to be close enough to Aspinall that he has a realistic chance, but his off legs are quite a bit worse. If they have met before, it's only been once and it's not been recently.

Second round is incredibly tight. You can make a reasonable case for anyone who isn't Hopp to make their way to the quarter final out of the top section, such is the parity in their levels of play. In the bottom half, I doubt that King would be able to win two in a row if he did beat Aspinall, but if not, Nathan against either opponent ought to be very tight. I think the top four players are somewhat stronger than the bottom four, but realistically anyone in this quarter has the A-game to make their way out of it if they show up - maybe King lacks the stamina nowadays to come through a quarter final length match, and maybe Hopp lacks the experience of playing that length, but anyone else is completely believable.

Probably get the bottom half sorted over the weekend, along with keeping an eye on the Challenge Tour. Is there any reason whatsoever why they could have the Challenge Tour the week after while the Matchplay is on, and have the Pro Tour this weekend rather than midweek?

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Quarter 1 - MvG for certain, right?

So, you'd think that van Gerwen would be an automatic stroll in the park here. I'm not so sure to be honest. Steve Beaton isn't completely drawing dead - he's playing his best darts in years, and has certainly pushed van Gerwen close a couple of times on TV in the past, only losing by fairly small margins here in 2012 and 2014, although they haven't met in any format since 2017.

Adrian Lewis against Glen Durrant is an interesting one to call - Lewis's form seems to have dipped a bit in the past couple of months if you look at the rolling averages, whereas Glen has been playing extremely consistently ever since his move to the PDC, the only thing that he's really lacking is a TV or European Tour run, which he might be able to do here. If Durrant does go through, which we're thinking right now he'll do about two thirds of the time, note that his chance of making the quarters is not much less than half of his chances of making the last sixteen - he's that close to van Gerwen, who he comfortably beat in their only match up to date, although that was on the floor. Lewis has met Durrant three times in board finals on the Pro Tour this year, none of them have been blowouts but Durrant has been getting progressively better and took the third one after Adie took the first two.

van Gerwen wouldn't want to meet either of the next two in the quarters - James Wade is having his best twelve month spell in probably a decade, and has picked up four Pro Tour titles this season - in one of those he beat his opponent in the first round, Jeffrey de Zwaan, an 8-5 scoreline giving Wade a 4-0 head to head record having beaten de Zwaan three times last season, although two were in deciding legs. de Zwaan did claim a title himself after that defeat and would like to repeat the semi final he made here last year, but he's in a heck of a tough part of the draw to do that. He could certainly do with a bit of a TV run having fallen early in both the worlds and the UK Open, not having a huge amount of success in Europe is holding him back a touch.

Finally we've got Mensur Suljovic against Jermaine Wattimena. Mensur's been sliding backwards a touch, since making last year's final shortly after winning another Euro Tour event, he's not made a final of any description since. He's been playing a bit better than his performances suggest and is well capable of winning titles soon, so let's not start writing him off just yet. Jermaine is now well established in the top 32 in the world, and will want to get through this one to try to avenge his first round loss in overtime against Wade on debut last year. He has made a final this year where he lost to van Gerwen, and is showing up in the business end of floor events with some regularity, but if he's not going to break through and win something (he's yet to win any event in the PDC), he could do with at least getting out of the first round here. I'm not overly convinced about his numbers and he seems to be outperforming them somewhat, but this isn't the worst draw he could get and he could pick this one up - if his 0-5 record against Mensur doesn't continue, only one of those results really being close, but they've only met once in the past two years since Jermaine started to really progress.

In the later stages of this section, van Gerwen would surely be favourite against either Lewis or Durrant, but Glen is more than capable of taking him down over what'd still be a moderately short distance, and Adie certainly has the peak to do it, even if he hasn't really shown it recently. I'm thinking the winner of the Wade match would have an edge over the winner of the Suljovic match, James is playing a fair bit better than both players he could meet, and de Zwaan's certainly not playing at a bad level either. The quarter's another one where, while van Gerwen would still be favoured, and while we are getting to a longer distance, if it was Wade that he played (if he gets there at all), Wade would certainly be in with a strong chance of pushing him all the way.

Tuesday 9 July 2019


Real quick quarter by quarter glance before getting into more in depth analysis later:

- The van Gerwen quarter is not particularly pretty for van Gerwen - Beaton isn't the worst first round draw he could have got, but getting both Durrant and de Zwaan in the mix is really not nice. Suljovic can't really complain about Wattimena, he's occasionally dangerous but Mensur's dodged one of the bigger bullets.

- The Anderson quarter could be a lot worse. Noppert's not an easy out for the defending champion by any means, just on the numbers this year he's one of the five or six trickiest ties he could have drawn, but Mervyn ought not to threaten Aspinall that much, and I think Hopp would be similar with Chisnall. Jamie Hughes on the other hand is very much a danger and can easily take Smith down in current form - if not the whole quarter.

- A few interesting ties in the Cross quarter. Dobey is in the upper half of qualifiers in terms of quality if you ask me and will certainly test the former world champ, Ratajski is an absolutely brutal draw for Webster, Darren would probably go off as underdog against most opponents but getting the Pole would be in the top three to avoid. Then you've got a couple of players who are in the lower tiers in terms of averaging - Cullen and Bunting are the two lowest scoring qualifiers this season, and while Bunting hit a bit of form recently and Cullen last hit a bit of form here twelve months ago, the combination of Price and White would be delighted with who they've got as they line up a highlight second round tie.

- Finally we have the Gurney quarter - still seems weird that he's the #3 seed. He's got Ricky Evans and should be fine, Clayton against Brown ought to be fairly close, John Henderson's got possibly the best draw outside of Webster any qualifier could have got in Simon Whitlock, while Wright against van der Voort should be a decent competitive game.

I'm going to chuck up a series of posts, probably quarter by quarter - chances of each player to get through each round, some rolling averages and other stats, that type of thing. I might get the first one out tonight.

Sunday 7 July 2019

Length of matches

As we're approaching the Matchplay, which is one of the few events per year where we actually have very long matches, it's only fair to question - how much of an edge does a longer match give a better player?

Fortunately we can shove this into the master computer and find out. First, let's take two quite evenly matched players:

There's not much of a difference between games of any given length. Hughes is only just more than 1% above a flip in a best of nine, but you could make it best of 31 (which, unless anything's changed and I haven't noticed, is the longest "standard" leg play we have, I calculate under Matchplay rules differently given the tiebreaker) and he doesn't even gain another percentage above 50%.

Now, let's take two not very evenly matched players:

Here, I've taken the player with the lowest winning points per turn and stuck him up against the player with the highest winning points per turn (I bet the name in question surprised you, no?). Again, the length of match isn't going to make much difference - simply because the better player is already winning a huge proportion of games over a short format, there isn't much room at all to improve.

So I think the difference in skill where a longer match really matters is somewhere in the middle. Let's find a pair of opponents where the better guy starts at around 60% in a standard Pro Tour match:

Here, it swings 6.4% in favour of Suljovic going from best of 11 to best of 31. It could only possibly have swung 3.7% in the Cross example. How about a pair of players where it's a bit more one sided, say, 65% on the Pro Tour?

Here, there's a bit more of a swing, it's over 9%. Are we getting near the sweet spot where the length of game matters most? Let's push the Pro Tour win percentage up a bit more:

That's even more again - it's more than a 10% bump. What if it starts out even more one sided?

That's as close to 75% to win on the Pro Tour as I'm going to find, and that goes up nearly 12%. Can we push it up any more?

Took far too long to find anything close to 80%, so this'll have to do - it's still about a 12% swing.

I think this gives us a decent idea - an excessively long match like you see in the quarters of the Matchplay and Grand Slam onwards definitely improves the chances of the better player, but it has the most effect where the better player would already be around a 3-1 or 4-1 favourite in the short match, which needs quite a big skill difference to begin with. A larger favourite simply doesn't have enough room to boost his or her winning chance before they get too close to 100%, whereas smaller favourites simply aren't big enough favourites to be able to properly take advantage of the difference in quality. Something to bear in mind if you're doing your own analysis of Blackpool in the next couple of weeks - if you think someone would be 60/40 on the Pro Tour, but would be lock of the week to win in a Matchplay quarter final, you're doing it wrong.

Saturday 6 July 2019

What happens in Vegas gets reported here

While it's all well and good seeing van Gerwen suffer another surprising early defeat, Michael Smith picking up some form and Nathan Aspinall having another great final performance to collect another televised title (although it's about as minor a televised title as you can get), what we really want to know is how the continent of America's doing in general, so let's have a look at Dan Baggish, who was able to take the North American championship and, as a result, become the first player (except for those in the main and Pro Tour orders of merit who've already got spots locked up) to qualify for the worlds.

It's a bit of a surprising one, it's certainly not a name I've heard of, and while my attention to the North American scene certainly isn't the greatest, I had at least heard of the rest of the eight players who made it, with the sole exception of Elliott Milk. How did he do? It's a bit hard to say where his game is at, because by the looks of things he's not played on the CDC circuit, which seems a bit of an oddity at first glance, but the USA's a big country (heck, I'm taking a four hour internal flight later this year leaving from nowhere near any border) and maybe it didn't make much sense to play them.

So we've just got the events he's played this week. I'm not going to trawl back through every single round of the qualifiers, for one playing against weaker players does throw the stats off, so I'm just considering the two main events and then the last 16 of the qualifiers. Baggish won 42 legs there - two in twelve or better, twenty in 13-15 darts, 18 in 16-18 darts and the remaining two in more than that. That's fairly symmetrical, there's no sign of power but similarly no sign that he got drawn into long drawn out affairs fairly often, and produces a pretty respectable winning average of 91. In his losing legs, he was quite a bit lower down at 81, which is wildly inconsistent - nobody who's won more than ten legs in senior PDC darts this year has a score that's over 9, the highest being Dimitri van den Bergh at 8.6. So his overall points per turn is going to be in the 86 region - comparable players might be someone like Maik Kuivenhoven (91 winning average/83 losing), heck, Dawson Murschell isn't too dissimilar of a comparison, and the way he's been playing, Richard North is not too far away.

It's really hard to say whether this is Baggish hitting the peak of his game or not, or whether this is standard of what we come to expect. Hopefully with the knowledge he's going to get a minimum $10k pay day at the end of the year, he'll try some more of the domestic events with a bit of coverage about them.

Two weeks now until the Matchplay, but it's busy before then - we should have the draw sometime this week, but before then we've got qualifiers for the Australian/NZ World Series events, a Challenge Tour weekend, a couple of Pro Tour events midweek as well. Meanwhile the BDO continues to suffer more setbacks with the cancellation of whatever they were calling the Zuiderduin nowadays, and still no real knowledge about when or where the World Trophy's going to be held. Not a great state of affairs at all really.

Monday 1 July 2019

Some Matchplay statistics

The draw's not until next week, so I don't intend on doing any huge reams of analysis until that's done as a minimum (and certainly won't be recommending any bets until after PC19/20 the midweek before the event kicks off), but for now, some things that might be of interest - firstly the FRH rankings of all players who are in the Matchplay with minimum money applied:

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
19 Max Hopp
20 Jermaine Wattimena
21 Steve Beaton
22 Mervyn King
23 Jeffrey de Zwaan
24 Chris Dobey
25 Krzysztof Ratajski
26 John Henderson
27 Keegan Brown
28 Ricky Evans
30 Danny Noppert
34 Vincent van der Voort
45 Glen Durrant
48 Jamie Hughes

West, Wilson, van den Bergh, Anderson, Dolan, Huybrechts, Lennon, Lewis, Joyce, Reyes, van Barneveld, O'Connor, Payne, Humphries, Searle and Klaasen fill out the intervening right, making Steve the highest ranked player in the FRH rankings not to be there.

How about who's got the highest points per turn of players in there? We can do that as well, we'll apply a minimum 75 legs played filter to get any detritus out while still including part time players that happen to be in the field:

1 Michael van Gerwen 96.06
2 Gerwyn Price 95.63
3 Rob Cross 95.48
4 Peter Wright 94.04
5 Glen Durrant 93.98
6 Ian White 93.83
7 James Wade 93.79
8 Jamie Hughes 93.66
9 Krzysztof Ratajski 93.57
10 Michael Smith 93.09
11 Mensur Suljovic 92.99
12 Dave Chisnall 92.96
13 Nathan Aspinall 92.11
14 Danny Noppert 92.11
16 Jeffrey de Zwaan 91.99
18 Daryl Gurney 91.87
21 Chris Dobey 91.67
22 Jonny Clayton 91.52
23 Gary Anderson 91.50
24 Max Hopp 91.47
25 Steve Beaton 91.17
26 Adrian Lewis 91.13
31 Keegan Brown 90.98
33 Ricky Evans 90.84
34 Vincent van der Voort 90.82
36 Jermaine Wattimena 90.80
37 John Henderson 90.79
42 Mervyn King 90.34
46 Joe Cullen 90.00
57 Stephen Bunting 89.66
64 Simon Whitlock 89.03
68 Darren Webster 88.52

O'Connor, Anderson, Cadby, de Sousa, Clemens, Monk, Humphries, West, van den Bergh, Lennon, Evetts, Woodhouse, van Barneveld, Dolan, van Duijvenbode, Payne, Klaasen, Searle, Ross Smith, McGeeney and Rodriguez are those in the top 50 that aren't listed here. Can't really go all the way down to nearly 70 in the rankings, can we. What about who's won the most ranking legs? Going to be somewhat affected by how much people actually play, but here we go:

1 Ian White 513
2 Nathan Aspinall 469
3 Gerwyn Price 463
4 Dave Chisnall 445
5 Glen Durrant 423
6 Michael Smith 417
7 Krzysztof Ratajski 408
8 James Wade 403
9 Jonny Clayton 402
10 Peter Wright 385
11 Michael van Gerwen 378
12 Jermaine Wattimena 373
13 Chris Dobey 358
14 Daryl Gurney 348
15 Steve Beaton 341
16 Adrian Lewis 340
17 Jeffrey de Zwaan 339
18 John Henderson 337
19 Ricky Evans 326
20 Keegan Brown 312
21 Rob Cross 301
23 Danny Noppert 300
24 Max Hopp 292
25 Joe Cullen 290
26 Jamie Hughes 288
27 Stephen Bunting 286
28 Vincent van der Voort 285
29 Mervyn King 280
33 Simon Whitlock 261
39 Mensur Suljovic 234
62 Darren Webster 172
136 Gary Anderson 37

Ross Smith leads the way in legs won who isn't there, followed by de Sousa, van den Bergh, Clemens, Meulenkamp, Searle, Evetts, Monk and Anderson fill the gaps down as far as Suljovic.

Everyone's shooting off to 'murica now, I'm more interested in who comes through the qualifier to get into the worlds (assuming it's the same format as last year) than anything in the World Series to be honest, but hey, maybe someone will pull off a shock!