Monday 28 October 2019

Cross winning everything shocker

Hey guys, remember about four months ago when everyone was saying Rob Cross was a one hit wonder? Those were fun times, weren't they?

He took it down over Gerwyn Price, who seemingly ran out of steam, meanwhile in the BDO, John O'Shea (no, not that one) managed to claim the title over Scott Waites, while Lisa Ashton took down the women's event.

New FRH rankings:

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

Lower down, quarter finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan hits #22 within 1500 points of #21, Ricky Evans is up to #26, less than 1000 points behind #25, and Vincent van der Voort reclaims a top 30 spot for the first time in a long time. Ross Smith is within a couple of thousand points of the top 40, while Ted Evetts cements a top 60 spot.

They've drawn the World Series Finals, let's have a quick look at it:

Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith/Gerwyn Price
James Wade v Wayne Jones/Jonny Clayton
Damon Heta v Kyle Anderson/Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney v Krzysztof Ratajski/Nathan Aspinall

Peter Wright v Ricky Evans/Ian White
Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert/Jeffrey de Zwaan
Raymond van Barneveld v Jermaine Wattimena/Gabriel Clemens
Rob Cross v Dave Chisnall/Simon Whitlock

Here I've italicised those players that are locked into the Grand Slam, and bolded those that are not yet there. As a reminder, White and Suljovic tentatively hold places #15 and #16 respectively. Can we see anyone breaking through and knocking someone out? From the bottom half, White certainly has the class, but can he do it on TV? Seems to be a discussion we have every twelve months. de Zwaan has the peak to do so, I can't really see anyone in the bottom quarter getting past Cross though. In the top half, maybe Ratajski can, but a first couple of games of Aspinall and then Gurney is another horrid draw to have to come through.

I'd be stunned if White doesn't make it one way or another. If you can call a bolded player from each half that isn't White in the bottom half to make the final then good luck to you!

BDO are having their worlds qualifier right now. They're down to about 2/3 rounds left, looking at each section we've got Jeff Smith looking good against a bunch of players I haven't heard of, a probable playoff against a couple of old PDC names in Matt Padgett and Nick Fullwell, another group of relative unknowns with Wes Newton being the only name that's instantly recognisable, then a section where I think the biggest names are Willie Borland and Jesus Noguera. It'd be fun if that last name got in, he could do a LOT of damage.

Sunday 27 October 2019


Quick post - don't really fancy any bets, maybe Cross is a bit of value at 8/11, but Gurney's hitting the right stuff at the right time and has been playing excellent stuff, probably one I regret passing on, Price is a small favourite, seems about right given how things have turned out. In the BDO, we've got Mario against John and Michael against Scott, first one ought to be tight, neither really hit the heights of previous rounds, hard to know exactly what to make of the other one, given that we're waiting for the match report and Waites only just won, but Warburton really struggled to get past Teehan whereas Waites swept Hamilton, so you'd think Scott would have the edge.

Couple of people won through to the worlds today - Devon Petersen unsurprisingly won the Devon Petersen qualifier, whereas Boris Koltsov won the Boris Koltsov qualifier, which actually had a stream with old school screengrabs of a clipboard for a scorecard when the graphics failed, make the best of what you have I suppose!

Edit - should mention that the Euro semi final field features numbers 2-5 of the FRH rankings, with £28k for a semi final win and another £60k for a final win there could be some significant movement, Gurney will move ahead of Price if he lasts longer than him and can pass Smith if he binks over Price in the final, Price can pass Smith with a bink and pass Cross with a bink over Gurney, whereas Smith can pass Cross if he lasts longer. Plenty for everyone to play for, the additional upshot of these results is that Lennon and O'Connor have clinched Grand Slam places, White will be in unless we get two finalists next week that haven't already qualified, and I believe Burton said Suljovic was on the bubble, so is safe for now unless we get just the one surprise finalist.

Quarter finals everywhere

Let's rattle through the World Masters first - Usher against Vandenboegarde is first, Mario's the only seed left in his half and is probably a small favourite, Usher scored pretty decently to get past Stainton but I think the Belgian's been playing slightly the better stuff. O'Shea against Duff is going to depend on if John (no, not that John O'Shea) is able to produce what he did to eliminate Mandigers, over the course of the televised stages they seem quite close, Duff's probably beaten the better two players to get to this stage but hasn't hit quite the same heights. Teehan v Warburton next, Michael's looked very good and ought to handle the youngster, who's got weird stats in that he's been given a lot of easy legs, but at the same time is scoring incredibly well in those that he's given up. Finally it's Waites against Hamilton, Carl looked a lot weaker in the last 16 in getting past Owens than Waites did in edging out Hogan, I think experience should come through easily here and Scott should advance.

0.25u Warburton 8/11 because that line's closer than I thought it would be.

Euros - Cross/Evans is priced right I think. Rob's 1/3 and he typically trends anywhere between 70% and 80% to claim this one, seems an easy one to avoid. Chisnall/Gurney follows that and it should be a lot tighter, the market has them pretty close, I'm thinking it should be a shot on Chisnall at 5/6, the projections give him a fair bit better than Gurney overall, but Daryl, as I always say, has great consistency which offsets that a little. and he did have a very good performance yesterday, so I think I can avoid this one. Smith/de Zwaan is third up, I think we have a bet here, 0.25u de Zwaan 13/8, for all intents and purposes this is a coinflip from what I can see, there's very little statistically to separate the two and Smith looked sluggish enough yesterday where anyone who played better than Bunting did ought to turn him over. There's simply no way I can come up with any scenario where Smith wins 60% of the time so we'll go the other way. Finally we have Price against van der Voort, what an eleven leg spell that was from Price, Vincent didn't need to play his absolute best to get past Dobey who was missing a bunch of doubles, Gerwyn's a near 75/25 favourite which I think is fair statistically, I was thinking that van der Voort might have hovered around 30% or about one in three, then we can take 11/4 with the added rugby-related monkey tilt that Price might be on, but it's not there.

Doubt I'm back for the semis and finals to be honest, it ought to be nothing other than a Cross/Price final though.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Great news

The ITV Player does actually allow for catch up possibilities, so with that, combined with Stoke being more or less underwater preventing me from getting down to London today, I've been able to compile the Chisnall and Evans victories into the master computer and have time to take a look at tonight's games. I probably ought to have been able to do that anyway, given the afternoon session was more or less unaffected, but here we go:

van der Voort/Dobey - Vincent did on TV what he's been doing on the floor all year and rout Suljovic 6-1, not overly impressive given he got four legs in six visits, but a win's a win, Dobey got a slightly smaller upset win over Ratajski, bit of an up and down game where Ratajski was fairly close but missed a couple of key doubles, and a heavily botched leg 7 looked to be the difference. Market has Dobey as a small favourite, I can't disagree too strongly with that, I might have gone with 10/11 the pair, there's no real edge in general.

Smith/Bunting - Couple of runaway victories here, Smith busting the coupon putting in an excellent performance to lead 5-0 against Ian White and close it out 6-1, while Bunting won by the same scoreline against Keegan Brown. Market strongly favours Smith, I think we can have a small nibble the other way, 0.25u Bunting 11/5, Smith's never a two in three favourite in any sample size and Bunting's up to 40% in anything we look at from the last six months onwards, so we'll take a stab.

Price/Aspinall - Gerwyn got past Ted Evetts in a close 6-4 win with a ton of breaks, Evetts getting to 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4 on throw but never managing to get his nose in front, whereas Aspinall got the one break he needed against Beaton with a 170 out and held from there for a 6-3 victory. Market has Price 8/11, which I think we can go with - 0.25u Price 8/11, that's not even needing a 60% win rate to come through, and Price is nicely over that mark at all times - season long it's nearer a two in three shot.

de Zwaan/Wattimena - All Dutch clash for a quarter final spot, Jermaine rolled past Jamie Hughes without ever really getting out of second gear as Yozza couldn't get going, while de Zwaan got an early lead against Wright, was pegged back to throw but broke in the tenth leg to avoid a decider. Similar price to the previous game, Jeffrey's favoured, but I'd be half tempted to poke the other way - season long, Jeffrey's about at where the line is, if not a bit better than it, but as you narrow it down further it becomes more flippy, and in some smaller samples Wattimena edges to being favoured, albeit only ever up to 55% or there abouts. Probably should punt here, but I'll pass on it.

World Masters is down to the last sixteen, Michael Warburton looked pretty solid in a win over Scott Mitchell in what was easily the game of the night, it's hard to call a winner overall, Williams and Harms had already gone before yesterday and we lost Veenstra and Parletti yesterday, which just leaves Mandigers as the only top 8 seed remaining, and there's only five out of sixteen that reached it this far. The bottom half is especially sparse, with Scott Waites the only seed left, although he faces Paul Hogan, everyone else is a Wikipedia red name in that half, although we just mentioned Warburton, we know of Ciaran Teehan from the youth tours, Carl Hamilton's not completely unfamiliar having played the World Trophy and some Challenge Tour. Tough one to pick out.

Friday 25 October 2019

BDO: We've fucked our second biggest tournament of the year up

PDC: Hold my beer

Yes, we get down to the last 16 of one of the PDC's most prominent tournaments of the year, and their data supplier gets half way through the evening session and is like "nope, can't be arsed, we're going down the pub". I'm looking at the BDO's website right now and I can look at complete breakdowns of every single completed match in their major! This is coming just two days after they had the greatest single fuck up in the history of darts since the WDC/BDO split! If it was an isolated incident, I could understand it, but this has happened on and off for YEARS now. That it happens in a televised event, so they don't even need someone there or someone who is reliant on the oft-failing stream, makes this absolutely unforgivable.

I think, hope, that ITV's player allows for catch up. If so, I'm looking to get the Chizzy and Rapid games sorted as soon as. I may be able to get some bets up for tomorrow, but frankly I doubt I have the time.

Thursday 24 October 2019


Kerching. Well done Clayton too, demolition job on the defending champion.

Said this'd be a brief post and it is. Tomorrow's round 2 games are Cullen/Cross, Gurney/Whitlock, Chisnall/Clayton and Smith/Evans, they're extended races to ten, Oddschecker is being lazy so I'll just have a quick look at the tournament sponsors which are putting Cullen just north of 2/1, Gurney and Chizzy both at 1/2 and Smith/Evans as a flip. There might be a little bit of value on Clayton as usual, who's fluctuating in the very high 30's to the low-mid 40's dependent on sample size, the model says Whitlock is likely a bit better value than that, but the model always hates Gurney, who looked good tonight while Whitlock didn't really (Lewis was just worse), while Smith might be a play on form, season long I agree with the flip analysis, but from around the start of June onwards Smith ratchets it up to 60/40 and better. Then again, maybe a come from behind win over Duzza is just what Evans needs to kick start his form? Not sure, I don't particularly want to use one game as a reason to not bet someone who's just beaten MvG... I can't recommend any bets at this stage, if anything does pop out when I see more than one line and/or if there's movement, I'll make another post, but don't expect one.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Euro Championship bets

Before we move on to the main event, if you thought it was impossible for the BDO to sink to new levels, you'd be incredibly mistaken - go check out the full SP on social media if you like, but fucking up the draw, putting fake names in, needing to redraw, it's the omnishambles to end all clusterfucks.

Anyway, the PDC would never fuck a draw up, so let's look at the games in order of play:

Cullen/King - nothing here. Seems genuinely too close to call, and with the favourite being 10/11, I think we can avoid this one. Gun to my head I'd say King at 11/10 is the value, maybe look at going over on the legs or 6-5 whoever wins the bull if you want action on this one.

Chisnall/van den Bergh - nothing here either. I think if there's value, it's probably on Dimitri, who rates as a small dog on the projections, but he's only 7/4, which seems a little bit on the skinny side when Dave's just reached a major final, and the projections don't take into account that the Belgian has a higher percentage of losing legs than Dave, and is averaging over three points less in those legs.

Durrant/Evans - no bet once more. Evans at 5/2 seems kind of tempting over a short race, and over some samples he's up at around 35%, but he's had a few stinkers of late and in the last three months he's barely over a one in four shot, so I can pass this one. Bit of pressure on this one as well as a win would go a long way towards getting a first round bye at the worlds.

Lewis/Whitlock - no bet again. I'd have thought an auto-play on Adie at around 10/11, but he's actually only 56% season long against Whitlock, and that's about the peak, over shorter spells it's around a flip. There's not actually that much between them, seems surprising and one I want to bet on Adie just out of general principle, but we'll pass.

Cross/Webster - no bet. Getting boring now. Cross is 1/4, and that actually seems a fair reflection on the game, that's just how far Webster has regressed in the past 12 months.

Wade/Clayton - 0.25u Clayton 7/4, I'll keep saying it, Jonny's one of these players that's had a quietly impressive year - only down at 45% roughly season long, and trim off the first few months when Wade had a hot start and Clayton actually projects as favourite - say since the start of May, Clayton scores half a point more than James does.

van Gerwen/Smith - 0.1u Smith 6/1 - would it surprise you if I said that since the start of May, Smith's winning legs are so comparable to van Gerwen's that he actually rates as having a 40% shot on that basis? Sure, his losing legs are five points worse, but this feels more like a 7/2, 4/1 sort of game than 6/1. Take the small value, expect to lose, but occasionally we hit.

Gurney/O'Connor - no bet. Year long, it's close. Very close, and it looks a Willie bet. Filter from the day after he wins his event and the 2/1 looks spot on. Filter from the start of August and it should be 3/1 O'Connor. I don't really want to lump on Gurney given the price, but the trend in form seems fairly obvious and I can't take the season long stats as indicative of what's going to happen.

Hughes/Wattimena - no bet. Similar analysis to the previous one, except here the swings aren't as extreme (it goes from Hughes in the high 50's to Wattimena in the high 50's) and the line is set at a pick'em level. If you fancy form, go Dutch, if you fancy longer term class, go Black Country, if you fancy betting profitably, go to the pub and wait for the next game.

Brown/Bunting - no bet. Can't even fit a cigarette paper between the two season long, it's as close to 50/50 as I've seen all tournament so far. Formwise, Bunting trends a little better over shorter samples, but with him priced at 5/6 it's not a big enough margin to contemplate a bet.

Ratajski/Dobey - no bet. 8/13 Krzysztof and 6/4 Chris looks more or less spot on, no matter how far we look back. The Pole's in incredible form, but Dobey's a pretty good player as well and ought to keep this respectable.

Aspinall/Beaton - no bet. Steve's probably a slightly better player than the 15/8 he's listed at represents, but he did most of his good work early in the season, if we cut down to, say, May onwards or whatever shorter timescale you like, his projections float around the one in three level which is extremely close to where the line is at. I want to bet on more stuff, but they're giving us nothing!

Suljovic/van der Voort - OK, now we might have something. Year long - VVDV at 40%. From April onwards - VVDV at 38%. Last three months - VVDV at 36%. Since the start of September - 35%, bleh, it's trending the wrong way, 11/5 ought to be tempting but Mensur does have the small consistency advantage. Moving on...

White/Smith - 0.25u White 5/6. Finally we have something. Season long this looks about right, but it trends up to 60% by the time we get to May onwards, and over the last two months it's 75% White. Ian's scoring nearly five points more than Smith over that time period, heck, he's averaging more than *anybody* over that time period. He won easily enough in Dublin so should repeat here.

Wright/de Zwaan - no bet. It's another game where it's trending in the right direction for one player, namely Wright, but the difference here is that he starts slightly on the wrong side of the line for our purposes, whereas Ian was bang on the money, and he only moves to a slightly better position than the price we're offered, which is worse than 1/2.

Price/Evetts - 0.1u Evetts 11/4. Small, as we've yet to see Evetts do anything of real significance on TV, and it's a big hurdle against an elite player, but Ted's scoring over 90 a turn season long with not much consistency differential in compared to Price, which relates to a 30% shot. Against 11/4 that's not real value, but over more recent spots it's a lot closer. Last six months - 40% chance, scoring near 92 a turn. Samples get a bit small for Ted from there, but his winning legs are really good and not far off Gerwyn's at all. He's a confidence player, if he can fire a couple of big scores early and maybe be no worse than 2-2 after four legs, he could kick from there and get the breakout victory that feels like it's coming.

Not a lot there, but we don't do stupid stuff just for the sake of it here, with the really weird scheduling of this event (Friday afternoon session but no Saturday afternoon session? Really? ITV4 actually showing something else on Saturday other than Storage Wars?) I should be back tomorrow evening with round 2 picks, but it'll probably be very brief.

Monday 21 October 2019

Euro Championship preview

Before that, we've got another couple of players in the worlds - Jan Dekker binked a strong looking West Europe qualifier (that included, amongst others, Richard Veenstra), while Jose Justicia/Perales won the South-West Europe qualifier, hard to see exactly who was in that one given they all entered with a trillion bonus names, but it looked like it at least had Alcinas, Noguera, Barbero who won this previously was there, there's another Portuguese player Marques who was putting up some decent numbers and, if they put Portugal in the World Cup, should at least not throw things away while de Sousa does his work.

So, the draw, courtesy of the PDC website:

Let's go game by game - Smith's probably just happy to be here, he's not drawing dead in what's always a quick first round game, I'll probably end up making one of those value bets on Smith that we have to make even though it'll likely lose, oddly that's not on oddschecker, if we can get better than the 5/1 I can see then all the better. Durrant/Evans ought to be one sided, maybe not as one sided as the market is right now, it looks 2-1 season long in Glen's favour. Cullen/King's a tough one to call, seem to be two extremely closely matched players. Cross/Webster could be one of the most one sided games of the round.

Chisnall/van den Bergh could be explosive, or Dimitri might not turn up and it's one sided. Dave's playing well but if Dimitri plays well it can be kept close enough. Wade against Clayton could be an interesting one to punt on, Wade's probably not as big a favourite as he is listed at (1/2), Clayton's been quietly good all year. Gurney against O'Connor should be simple enough for Daryl, Willie's been pretty quiet since he got his win earlier in the year, while Lewis you would think ought to deal with Whitlock easily enough, the market has them close and what I'm looking at has them somewhat close as well.

Bottom half, and White/Smith is the tie of the round, in a tournament where White may have to do something special to cement a Premier League place it's not the draw he wants, nothing indicates this won't be very close. Brown/Bunting's a tough one to get excited about, it'll probably be worth the watch as like the previous game it's going to be extremely tight, but the quality will be lacking. Wright/de Zwaan might be a little bit closer than the 4/9 that is showing for Peter right now, but on current form it's so hard to go against Wright - unless he's in a final, thanks for missing more match darts and costing me today's beer money. Hughes against Wattimena is a tough one to call and it's 10/11 pick your poison, I think the edge in quality lies with Jamie but Jermaine's made a TV breakthrough and most of Jamie's best work was before the summer break.

Suljovic against van der Voort could be yet another game that's closer than the market has them at, Vincent's quietly had a good year and this seems more 60/40 than what you can get. Ratajski is a danger to win anything these days, feels about 60/40 again as Dobey's a solid player and is now getting into more or less all the majors which'll help his ranking. Price can't take Evetts lightly, it's not a "zomg Evetts is 3/1 all in" sort of tie but Ted's making the first page of my points per turn visual so can't be taken lightly, while Aspinall against Beaton should go the way of the youngster over the veteran, but it's not a done deal despite Steve qualifying through consistency rather than some big runs.

One other thing to mention - the BDO announced their Grand Slam picks. Durrant is obviously the huge controversial one (Nick Kenny can't be too pleased about that, but still has a shot if Glen can qualify through a PDC route, which he currently isn't doing), but otherwise I think they're mostly the correct calls. You can say Bennett, but I think it's maybe a little bit too soon given that there's still a couple of years where he could get picked while still Development Tour ineligible when he's done a bit more on the senior circuit. Inviting both Ashton and Suzuki I'm fine with, Williams would have got in on ranking if he didn't take down the World Trophy, then you've got fill ins on ranking - Harms and Veenstra should be competitive but I get the feeling Parletti and Warren will just be making up the numbers, then again, nobody else is jumping out as being worthy ahead of them.

The Euros start on Thursday so expect a bets post on Wednesday evening, a couple of brief FRH ranking notes - as Gary Anderson doesn't play the Euro Tour, he's now dumped out of the top 10 by Ian White and Dave Chisnall, and Scott Taylor's now the highest ranked Taylor in the rankings.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

In, out, in, out, shake it all about

Thank fuck Ratajski won through today's World Series qualifier

I guess the Venn diagram of people that read this blog and don't follow Burton on Twitter has no intersection, so I'm assuming everyone has seen this chart:

That's who's in the worlds. The question I'm asking is who are the weakest players that are in (for these purposes, I'm assuming that Jamie Lewis is not in for sure, and I'll chuck Razma and Rydz as in given I have data on them), and who are the strongest players that aren't? That's all just fun with filters, so let's pick 15 from each category, sorting by season long points per turn - for those that haven't made it I'll assume a 180 leg minimum sample size - if you're not turning up to all the Pro Tour events and getting dicked 6-0 then you don't deserve consideration, and plus, 180, woo:

Hmm, I was actually expecting a lot more overlap with good players not currently in at the top. Never mind - at least looking at that list, there's still chances for many of these to get in, even if it's just through the PDPA qualifier. No idea what Cadby is actually doing with himself, but the Oceanic Masters has to be on. Schindler could still get in through the Bundesliga. Harris could win the New Zealand qualifier (or Oceanic Masters for that matter). Petersen can win the Petersen qualifier. Rafferty is not drawing completely dead on the Development Tour, he'd need a hell of a weekend to overhaul Geert Nentjes, but it's possible. I don't know whether Lerchbacher's regional qualifier, if he opted for it over the PDPA qualifier (can they still do that?), has already gone, is he in the same region as the one Pratnemer won? Koltsov's got to be an overwhelming favourite to win the EADC event.

In any case, ooh, look, there's Simon Whitlock, let's invite him to our TV events!

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Well, that caught me out

Thought this final pair of Pro Tour events were on Tuesday/Wednesday. Oops. At least today I was able to get Ratajski as part of an each way strike for a tiny profit after my book removed PC29 before the event, I guess they couldn't react to mass withdrawals quickly enough, especially when MvG and Ando were part of them - rule 4 doesn't apply to darts it seems. Probably for the best, I wouldn't have gone for Brendan Dolan who binked his second event of the year, might have gone with White, but we'll see. Peter Wright got the win today, the day after people went nuts for his 6-0 drubbing of Ratajski (14-1 over the two events!), given he hit some good darts. I demand they bring back the News of the World so that we can get even sillier record averages.

New FRH rankings:

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

Super close from 7 to 11, less than a 10k spread between the lot of them. Ratajski making a final and quarter moves him above both Clayton and Whitlock, while lower down, Brendan Dolan hits the top 32.

That looks to clinch worlds and Minehead spots for everyone, for the worlds it looks as if Rowby just got in over Mansell, who's waiting on Jamie Lewis dropping out of the top 32 to get there, while Schindler, Petersen and Razma are among those just outside who may need other qualifiers to sneak in. Mansell did at least sneak into Minehead as the last man in over Ritchie Edhouse, leading a four way tie £250 behind the Cyclone, if as rumoured Barney doesn't bother then he'd get in. Was a bit surprising to see Jamie Hughes only finish 55th level with Ryan Meikle...

One other thing to mention is that they've announced the World Series invites. Smith, Price, Suljovic and White got the automatics, Aspinall and Chisnall getting invites is fine, then we go to international players - Wattimena fine, de Zwaan fine, Noppert fine, Clemens fine. Then we have Whitlock and Anderson. One who's putting in alright performances without the results, the other is doing neither. It seems incredibly uninspiring - you've got an Australian representative with Damon Heta being seeded, you don't need another two if they're not doing enough to warrant a pick. If you want an international feel, why not pick Jose de Sousa? Krzysztof Ratajski? Dimitri's done more this season than either of those two. I'd argue Max Hopp would be fine here. Heck, Glen Durrant? Doesn't need to just be limited to two UK players. Completely uninspiring. Still, those qualifiers to get into it are going to be fierce.

Sunday 13 October 2019

BDO worlds

That post I mentioned on the BDO seedings - that's coming up, but first, van Gerwen beat Chisnall, might have been a bit closer, but oh well, probably more of interest is that Keane Barry came from behind to take advantage of Liam Gallagher missing many, many match darts to claim his worlds spot. New FRH rankings:

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

Not quite as much movement as you'd expect - Chizzy cracks the top 10 and is actually less than 5k behind Anderson and only 10k behind Aspinall, so with a couple of other good runs, maybe he can go higher? Wright's out of the top 10, but is less than a thousand points behind White so could reclaim that soon. Durrant's semi only cains him one spot, but Ratajski is less than 4k ahead. Dobey's semi final sees him rist to #23, King's quarter wasn't quite enough to get him into the top 20.

OK, the BDO. I'll talk mostly about the men's side, as there's not a great deal to talk about at this stage on the women's side other than that the Ashton side seems a heck of a lot easier than the Suzuki/de Graaf/Greaves/Dobromyslova side. First, the non-seeds - Bennett's the most exciting name, it's great to see new countries represented in France and Romania from the regional tables, Adams getting back is nice to see, the likes of Unterbuchner, Steyer, Landman, Hogan, Thompson, Chaney and Herewini could all cause damage. We'll know more once they've done the draw, but let's look at the seeding sections:

(1) Harms, (16) Waites, (8) Mandigers, (9) Mitchell

That's hard. That's potentially really hard for Harms, you've got the previous year's finalist, and also another previous winner meeting in consecutive rounds. I don't think Waites plays anywhere near the full tour, and I doubt Mitchell plays everything either, so these could well be underseeded. Harms has picked up quite a few wins this year, so fair enough that he gets the one seed. That leaves Mandigers - he had a nice purple patch in May where he picked up a large percentage of his qualifying points, but he does seem the odd one out here.

(4) Parletti, (13) Evans, (5) Warren, (12) Hamilton

This doesn't appear that strong really. Parletti seems to do alright on the circuit, but goes missing in the major events, but is anyone else stronger? Evans at least got two of his three biggest events last month, and has done decent work on the Challenge Tour and looked good in the couple of Pro Tour events we've seen him in, so might fancy his chances of a run. Warren's a pretty consistent performer and can't be taken lightly, then we've got the Hammer, whose qualifying performances are a bit underwhelming, lots of last 16 performances and his highest single event was back in 2018.

(3) Veenstra, (14) Robson, (6) Kleermaker, (11) Vandenbogaerde

Veenstra looks like the class of this section, having claimed the Dutch Open and made the World Trophy final, he should be way too strong for Robson, who's a bit like Hamilton in that his points to qualify haven't come from any real deep runs, it's certainly not been as good a year as his 2018 was but at least he's done enough to get in the seeds. Kleermaker has come along a lot in 2019, taking the Welsh Open and several other lower tier events and can certainly be considered a threat to Veenstra, while the Belgian claimed his biggest points haul winning the German Open back in May, but everything else seems a long time ago, or in much lower ranked events. Can't look past a 3/6 quarter final here.

(2) Williams, (15) Hogarth, (7) Kenny, (10) Smith-Neale

Williams has grabbed the first BDO major of the year, and has a string of other very good performances which makes him the clear favourite to advance to the semi finals from this part of the draw. Hogarth had a great run to the Dutch Open final but has been quiet apart from that, I don't know if he'll have enough to pressure Williams if they were to meet up. Kenny is back from a down year where he didn't even qualify and is putting together his best scores in the last couple of months, so is certainly trending in the correct direction, then we have Smith-Neale, who I don't think is playing anywhere near as well as he was twelve months ago when he was able to claim the World Masters out of nowhere, this looks for all the world like an all-Welsh quarter final.

I'll update the Second/Third Division Darts rankings shortly, with not long left to go it'll be interesting to see who can claim the titles there.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Grand Prix final

I didn't post about the semis, mainly because it seemed obvious what was going on - Chisnall and Durrant ought to be tight, and given every set from 1-1 onwards went the distance, it was, while Dobey put up a good fight but was a little bit outmatched by van Gerwen, he got five legs on the board in the first three sets, but I think that third set broke him - if he could have slotted in a 140 after the 180 he hit in the deciding leg to leave a two darter he'd have been very live, van Gerwen getting 108 is something you'd expect to get maybe one in three goes so certainly not a gimmie, as it was a visit of 58 effectively handed the Dutchman the set. Losing the second set as he did as well had to have been horrible, you're throwing for the match and by the time you finally get away, your opponent then steps up and is on a double to force a decider.

So, can Chizzy win it? I want to say yes and no. He's one of the players that is playing well enough that he can threaten, but will he start to have some of the Terry Jenkins always loses the final mentality? It's a long race, and you've got to be on the money on doubles from the get go, but he's not actually doing badly - 12/21 going out yesterday, 11/26 against Aspinall, 8/14 against Price (I'm chucking out the game against Bunting as he wasn't really threatened at all), so 0.1u Chisnall 10/3, hard to gauge set play but if this was a Matchplay final where you need 18 legs to take it (you're going to need 15 here, but with it being sets you'll end up playing more), he's hovering around a one in three range, which I think is enough to punt on Dave.

Regardless of what happens, Chisnall's now up into the top 10 of the FRH rankings (he's ninth, knocking Peter Wright out who's also been overtaken by Ian White) and can go fourth if he wins, and more importantly he's locked up a Grand Slam spot even if he loses. That's dumped out everyone from the European Tour except for White, who's hanging on by a thread.

In other news, Damon Heta did enough to make it to Ally Pally through the DPA rankings, it was going to take something super weird to deny him given the lead he had but he locked it up himself with a final in the first event, and we've got the Tom Kirby final tonight, where we've got Keane Barry against Liam Gallagher (no, not that one, although if he walks out to anything other than Oasis he's making a terrible terrible mistake), which should be a good one. I kind of want Keane to win given the hype there is around him, but whoever gets through should put on a good showing in the worlds. There's also been the WDF event where we've got a final of Peter Machin against Darren Herewini, Machin we know from the World Trophy a couple of years bach, while Herewini's a Kiwi who had a go at Q-School and the first Challenge Tour weekend, in the latter he made the last 128 or better every day but could never really get a good enough run going, while on the Challenge Tour he made a quarter final and last sixteen, so he can't be bad - he did take four legs off Phil the last time he played the Auckland World Series event after all. Who's to say he won't win the New Zealand qualifier for Ally Pally? That said, he is in the BDO event already. He'd certainly be live against Harris if he gives it a go. Nick Kenny and Martijn Kleermaker made the semis, was kind of hoping that Kleermaker would still be a bit under the radar and that, in a wide open Lakeside O2, he'd be a decent each way price, but 20's isn't appealing. The ladies event sees Hedman against Suzuki, in a weird event where there's not many of the top 16 I recognise - Pruim played Winstanley, I know those two, but Maria O'Brien's the only other name I know.

While I mention the BDO side, they've finalised their order, I'll go over it in another post, maybe later today, but the interesting thing is that Bennett is in (although not seeded), as is Greaves on the ladies side (being the 6 seed). Harms is the top seed, but I think I'd much prefer Williams from the 2 seed given how it looks, but as I say, that's for another post.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Tour card race

There's less than a week to go until the final Players Championship events of the season. That's come around fast. Who's in the running to retain their cards? Let's have a look at who's in the running, copying and pasting stuff from dartsdatabase - I'm assuming anyone from 101 down isn't going to go on any sort of miracle run:

I can't see any weirdness in terms of players expiring from below there making a miracle run, so let's just look at these. First thing to consider is whether anyone with two years can punch into the top 64 and knock one spot off for those looking to save a card. Evetts is the obvious choice, given he's in the European Championship (although he'd play Gerwyn Price) so has a non-zero chance of putting money on cheap, is also well safe for the worlds and just the right side of the Minehead cutoff as is. Ward, Boulton, Labanauskas and McGeeney are all going to be in both, although can they put upwards of £20k on? Entirely possible, just needs one win at Ally Pally to get to £15k.

Of those currently safe, Dekker is just the wrong side of Minehead qualification, as are Thornton and Petersen - it's a huge midweek for all of them. Norris has a lot of work to do, Edgar is at least in Minehead as it stands and has too many people that can pass him, but like last year he's right on the borderline of the worlds - one good run could see him get there. Jamie Lewis continuing to play crap would help - Noppert and Duzza should have passed him by now and have additional shots to do so, it'd just need Evans or van der Voort to get something going to free up another Pro Tour qualification spot for the worlds.

How about those on the outside? It's an enormous week for Tabern - right on the Minehead border, if he can get there, he would just need one win potentially once there. Owen is probably done, Woodhouse is giving himself a chance, just one good draw would be all he needs and he's got a little bit of a buffer to qualify for both. Richardson's in a similar spot. Meikle is only just outside of an automatic spot for the worlds if he wasn't to get there from the Dev Tour, which would be a backup route to save his card I guess. Monk has the game to put something together and save his card. van Duijvenbode does as well, but is way too far back from the worlds.

Grand Prix quarters

Wow, all the seeds apart from van Gerwen are gone, really didn't see that coming, but the quality of field we've got right now makes it not entirely surprising. Four quarters tonight, same format as the last couple of days, race to three sets, what do we like?

White/Dobey - Ian got past Michael Smith 3-1 to give us a winning bet (Noppert didn't, so we broke even on the round), while Dobey defeated Gary Anderson by the same score to avenge his world championship defeat. A semi final would, I think, be unchartered major territory for either player, both averaged fairly close to each other in the last sixteen, while Dobey was a little bit more impressive in the opening tie. Surely it's time for White to make the deep run he's been threatening to, if he's to get the Premier League spot his quality of play deserves, he surely needs to win this sort of game. Market has is slightly more than 60/40 in Ian's favour, that seems about right, maybe Ian's a very slightly better player than the market suggests, but there's not enough edge there to contemplate a bet.

Chisnall/Aspinall - Dave bagelled a fairly poor Stephen Bunting, while Aspinall needed all five sets to defeat Danny Noppert. Their averaging throughout the tournament has been extremely close, and the market thinks likewise, with Chizzy being just a shade odds on, while Nathan is evens, maybe slightly odds against in some places. I'm half tempted by a bet on Chizzy, he's certainly a little bit better than 10/11 season long, but it's much nearer 50/50 on more recent form, so I think we can pass on this one as well.

van Gerwen/King - Very nice display by Michael in round 2 to beat de Zwaan in straight sets, while King beat James Wade in four sets to set up a repeat of their UK Open match - which King won. King won their previous TV match as well, but that was unranked in 2014 so completely irrelevant. King's way too long - 0.1u King 11/2, I think he's got around a one in four shot, maybe slightly better, if his doubling can click he can certainly trouble MvG, it's not too long a format.

Durrant/Wattimena - Glen needed all five sets to take out Rob Cross in a matchup of world champions, while Jermaine reached what I think is a first major quarter final by beating Peter Wright 3-1, with probably the best darts I've seen him play in a long time. Glen's rated as a two in three shot, that looks about right over longer samples, over shorter ones the 9/4 that we're offered on Wattimena certainly looks worth the punt. If you like recent form over general class, then I won't stop you betting on the Dutchman, as mentioned, he looked real good yesterday.

Some Grand Slam implications - Aspinall's the only player who's already qualified in the bottom half, although Chisnall's tentatively got a spot from his Euro Tour win, while van Gerwen is in the same spot in the top half, although White's got a bit of a stronger claim on countback given his two Euro Tour wins. If one of those two goes out, someone's getting forced out, and it wouldn't take anything crazy for someone to go deep in other remaining events to close out the Euro Tour qualifiers. We'll see.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Grand Prix round 2 bets

Round one was looking quite ropey for a while, with Hughes, Whitlock and van der Voort not getting it done (the first two were at least close, the last one, not so much), but Wattimena and Noppert finally bringing what I know the two Dutch lads can do to actual results was a welcome development. Down to the last sixteen now, it's a bit of a longer format (I see Wade's had a bit of a whine about the first round format, it sucks, but it sucks for everyone) so what do we have?

Wade/King - speaking of Wade, he's nearly a 2/1 favourite after getting past Hendo in what was a bit more one sided than the 2-1 scoreline represented, King beat Dimitri by the same scoreline after van den Bergh blew a 2-0 lead in the deciding set. Hard to say exactly how to interpret the new longer format, King might have a bit more of a chance than the market suggests, but I'm still reluctant to punt on him given that he withdrew from an event just a few days ago. Might regret it, who knows.

Smith/White - Market has this close to even, Smith needed a deciding leg against Whitlock, White was taken to three sets in a strange one - Cullen won the first five legs, then White won the next six. Got to be annoying for Joe that one. I think we can nick 0.25u White evs, he's playing, at least since around mid-April, well enough that he's up above 60% to take this, how far depends on how you convert set play to leg play, White's a little bit better long term as well but the more recent form is good enough to play this one. Just don't fuck up on TV again.

van Gerwen/de Zwaan - Michael was a bit fortunate to hit a miracle out to break in the deciding set against Hughes at 1-1 in legs with Jamie waiting on a double, de Zwaan on the other hand looked really quite comfortable in only dropping one leg versus Beaton. I'm not actually sure I want to take a stab at this, JdZ is 10/3 (ooh, that rhymes), and he's only about one in four over what's still a fairly decent sample, Jeffrey probably played his best stuff earlier on in the year.

Anderson/Dobey - Gary won in straight sets against a misfiring Keegan Brown who couldn't hit doubles, while Chris looked very solid against Ricky Evans, dropping just two legs in the match. Gary's a large favourite, I think it's slightly too large, not quite enough to start betting on Dobey, but if Chris can play like he did on Sunday he'll be extremely live.

Noppert/Aspinall - Danny beat Gurney in straight sets after Daryl blew a few missed set darts in the opener, Nathan cruised against VVDV who was missing in all areas of the game at various stages. Noppert's longer than 2/1 and I'm not sure why as I can barely separate them at all over any sample, 0.25u Noppert 21/10.

Chisnall/Bunting - Dave took out Gerwyn Price in a deciding leg where Gerwyn took ten darts to get going, Bunting eased past Jonny Clayton in straight sets, and Dave's rated as having a two in three chance. This seems about right, there might be tiny value on Bunting if you consider very small samples, but Dave looked good and I'm not going against that.

Cross/Durrant - Couple of 2-1 wins here, Rob finally getting a win on this stage over Suljovic after Mensur missed two darts to force a deciding leg where he'd have the throw, Glen beat Ratajski from a set down where Krzysztof had exactly the same spot as Mensur did, missing 98 for 2-2 (which Glen then took out). I thought that 4/5 Cross was just a Durrant hype train price, but it seems fair enough, Rob is a little bit better than that year long but over shorter samples it's about right.

Wright/Wattimena - Peter won a scrappy game against Hopp 2-0, while Jermaine came from a set down to beat Adrian Lewis. Peter is very short, but I think it's nearly justified - it's certainly not too short to the point where we'll think about going with the Dutchman for a second straight match.

Saturday 5 October 2019

Grand Prix round 1 bets

Note that my data model does not adapt to the double start format, I'll make minor adjustments based on eye tests of how they double:

Evans/Dobey - no bet. The market has Chris as a small favourite, while I can find certain periods where one or the other looks like a play, there's no real edge in any of them.

King/van den Bergh - no bet. As mentioned, King withdrawing is a huge red flag so with Dimitri being as unpredictable as he is, I'm just not touching it.

Cullen/White - no bet. White's 4/7, it's around that mark season long. Over shorter time frames Cullen pushes up to around 40%, no edge there either, but is there still scarring from their last TV meeting?

de Zwaan/Beaton - no bet. Jeffrey's 4/6 which is pretty much bang on where I'd see it season long, over the last couple of months or so there might be tiny value on Steve, but it's not enough of an indicator to really push anything.

Wade/Henderson - no bet. Season long Wade is fully worth the 1/2 price he's installed at, however, once we get into samples from just May or so onwards, Hendo pushes well up into the 40% range, he obviously likes the venue so 15/8 might be worth a nibble, but Wade in a double first format is really hard to bet against.

Smith/Whitlock - Hmm, I have a problem here. Whitlock's been on auto-lay for as long as I remember, but it's only season long where the 2/1 line looks about right. As we get more and more close to the present day, Whitlock pushes up into the 40%, and in the last three months he's scoring more in his winning legs than Smith is - albeit there's half the number and a big consistency issue. Whitlock likes a double, Smith maybe not so much, 0.25u Whitlock 2/1, will trust the model and in the words of Peter O'Hanraha-Hanrahan, I don't like it but I'll have to go along with it.

van Gerwen/Hughes - 0.1u Hughes 9/2, he's high 30's season long, low 30's over shorter distances, I'm not sure the double start format is ideal for Jamie, but I can't see how he drops so low that 9/2 isn't worth a micro punt. van Gerwen did lose to Alan Norris literally today after all.

Anderson/Brown - no bet. The best I can see Keegan getting to is barely one in three, which with 5/2 odds isn't worth the shot, given over smaller samples I'm looking more to Anderson.

Bunting/Clayton - no bet. Clayton's got a small edge over Bunting all year which is roughly where the market is at, I'd probably set the market ever so slightly more in Clayton's favour, but it's not enough to start punting.

van der Voort/Aspinall - 0.25u van der Voort 9/5, that seems a fairly generous price given the model's spitting out low to mid 40% chances over all sample periods I looked at, it's a sprint in round 1 and I think Vincent can start quickly enough to get an edge.

Lewis/Wattimena - 0.25u Wattimena 6/5, the market is finally cottoning on to that Jermaine is decent, over the full season this isn't a big edge, probably should be 6/5 the other way, that's not bad and doesn't make it a bad bet, but once we cut down to the last six month and shorter samples, Jermaine rises up to 60% or near enough that mark, which makes this worth a punt.

Durrant/Ratajski - no bet. There's very little to separate these two over any sample I look at, Durrant only ever having a wafer-thin edge, which with the market set as it is doesn't really make a bet on Krzysztof enticing.

Gurney/Noppert - 0.25u Noppert 5/2, that's a very big price. Danny's played really well all year, there simply isn't that big of a skill differential.

Price/Chisnall - no bet. I want to go with Gerwyn given the last two days if anything, but I can't generate any sample that makes 3/4 look like a remotely sensible price to fly in on.

Cross/Suljovic - no bet. Season long I'd look at Cross, move to smaller samples and I probably should still go with Cross, but there's some timeframes where 4/5 just looks like the correct line, and there's enough intangibles with Rob's record and Mensur's doubling prowess that I want to avoid it.

Wright/Hopp - no bet. Season long 2/5 on Wright looks fine. Smaller samples actually look decent value, but over a short race with variance-boosting factors like the double start, I think we can safely avoid pushing what wouldn't be a great edge at long odds on.

The formation lap is done

Highly profitable couple of Players Championship events, firing the usual each way spread on both of them and getting Price (16/1) yesterday, then de Sousa (66/1) and Durrant (33/1) today, that's paid for the beers this weekend at least. Krzysztof Ratajski was the other finalist, only just getting pipped 8-7 in the final missing one match dart in the process.

Worryingly ahead of the Grand Prix, Mervyn King abandoned his game while 5-3 down against Zoran Lerchbacher - sure, he probably loses anyway with Zoran having the darts in legs 9/11 and Mervyn having kicked off with 30, but if this is an injury issue it pretty much takes his game with Dimitri off the board from a betting standpoint, I probably wasn't touching it anyway but it's a worrying sign.

Some odd results today - Chizzy got turned over first round twice, wouldn't say either are huge shocks, Harris and West are decent, but it's not a good sign, Beaton got a pair against Carlin/Richardson, Cross lost to Whitehead (a day after Cross managed to beat Richardson hitting five twelve dart legs in the process, which I don't think we've ever seen before in a race to 11), Ratajski lost to Webster (it was Mark but either of them is a shock at this stage), Ando lost to David Evans, van Gerwen lost to Norris, it's madness. As we were backing the field though, having a bunch of the shortest priced guys go out early is great.

Good weekends for Suljovic, who made two semi finals, Wattimena won his board twice, Cristo Reyes made it back to back quarter finals going back to the previous weekend, the aforementioned Norris made a board final twice, don't know quite where we're at with the tour card race but it could be that every penny counts, Scott Taylor and Robert Owen had good runs to the quarters yesterday (although Owen certainly had the draw open up absolutely perfectly), Jose Justicia had a nice couple of runs to put two and a half grand in the bank, second newest tour card holder Callan Rydz made two board finals, while the newest tour card holder Jesus Noguera made the last 16 today. Good effort all round.

Updated FRH rankings (doesn't matter if these include minimum money for the Grand Prix, it's in the spreadsheet already but everyone has it):

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

Price's win and follow up semi final sees him nick fourth place from Gurney. Ratajski's final is enough to edge past Lewis by less than 50 points into the top 16, while Durrant's final moves him up into the top 20 and ahead of Wattimena. de Sousa is up to 52nd, just 4000 points behind current top 50 basement dweller Raymond van Barneveld.

One more thing I should mention - Dan Dawson (I think it was he) likened de Sousa's explosion onto the scene to Rob Cross circa two years ago during the final. Now, it's very impressive, but is that justified? Let's write off January to March when Jose was doing not much, likely adapting to the tour, travel etc - this is fine to do as far as I'm concerned, Cross (and Durrant to the same degree) hitting the ground running and de Sousa not is to somewhat be expected, he's not played any sort of tour really and it's a new country - Cross had the Challenge Tour, Durrant had the BDO circuit, both of them live here. So, from the start of April, who's scoring the most in the world? I'll give you the top 22:

I'll give 22 given I don't want to exclude Evetts on less than a hundredth of a point per turn, and I don't want to exclude Cadby because we could quite easily change his theme tune to Simple Minds. But yes, 9. de Sousa is a thing.

Grand Prix bets will follow later this evening, once I've had a few drinks thanks to Mr de Sousa's darting prowess and Mr 365's generosity at still pricing him so high.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Some Grand Prix thoughts

Rankings are as of right now and the points per turn rankings incorporate a minimum of 100 legs played. The sharp eyed among you will notice that Durrant is now up into the FRH top 20 - these rankings are dynamic and change daily, even if nothing's going on.

So what are the big highlights? Durrant against Ratajski jumps straight out for me, a game between two of the top eight in terms of scoring for this season, this'd surprise nobody if it was a quarter final, but alas it's only the last 32 and could be over in ten minutes. All of the top three in terms of points per turn for the year have got very dangerous opponents - Hughes has dropped off a little bit from his blistering peak, but certainly has the A-game to challenge MvG over what is a brutally short distance in the opening round. Price and Chisnall looks incredibly tasty, while Cross getting Suljovic in this format isn't exactly who he'd have wanted, but at least it's not Steve Beaton.

There's some ties that feature players that are very close in either the FRH rankings or in overall scoring - de Zwaan and Beaton are separated by one spot in the rankings and aren't too far apart in PPT either, could be evenly balanced, White and Cullen are fairly close in the rankings but not so much in scoring, in what's a rematch from the Matchplay this could end up being ugly. Evans and Dobey is a tough one to call, Lewis and Wattimena looks similarly tight, while Noppert and Gurney threatens to be closer than the market suggests.

Games I'm not that interested in? Wade, Smith, Anderson and Wright should have way too much for Henderson, Whitlock, Brown and Hopp respectively. I think the format should suit Aspinall and not van der Voort so much. That's covered almost every game apart from King against van den Bergh, Dimitri's finally done enough on the floor to play his way into a major, and it's a case of which one shows up, so it'll be fascinating to see what happens.

Later on in the tournament? That Cross section is horrific. Cross/Mensur/Durrant/Ratajski all fighting for one quarter final place is ridiculous, chuck Peter Wright into the mix as well, everyone else in that section is well capable if they bring their top game. So, so tough to call. The Price section should be Price's if he can evade Chisnall, I think Aspinall's the biggest threat to him reaching the semis, although Gurney can clearly grind it out on this stage.

In the top half, that's not a bad draw for White. Cullen ought not to pose too much of a threat, then he either gets Whitlock, or more likely someone who's not been tested by Whitlock. Hard to gauge where Anderson is, but he's got a good path to the quarters, although the idea of a rematch between himself and Dobey from the worlds sells itself. Then we get to the van Gerwen quarter - he should have enough if he can get past Hughes, which over a short format ought to be the trickiest tie. Another game with de Zwaan would be entertaining, while a battle with Wade would be exactly that given how James has played over the last twelve months. Unless Dimitri can show his stage form, who knows what might happen if the Belgian can make the quarters?

Expect bets on the Saturday evening, or maybe the Sunday morning. Putting anything up before the Players Championship double header seems suicidal. I'm at the NFL game on Sunday night, so don't expect any analysis until Monday at the earliest.