Monday 25 November 2019

Worlds draw quick hot takes

1 - Jesus christ Durrant is cursed

Jose de Sousa or Damon Heta? That's unbelievably brutal whoever he gets. Opposite Gurney I half fancied him to get through to the last sixteen and see from there, but it's extremely possible he doesn't win a match. My word.

2 - Fitting end for Barney I guess

Passing it on to one of the new Dutch overlords in Jeffrey de Zwaan seems like a potentially fitting way to go out, unless he cocks it up and chokes against Darin Young, which given his performances this weekend he shouldn't do, but we'll see.

3 - Deutsch gegen Deutsch 

Ever wanted to know who the best German player is? Well, unless Benito van de Pas rolls back the years (nice job in getting through the qualifiers by the way), we get Hopp against Clemens, which ought to be a tie of the round.

4 - Is Wright in trouble?

First round he'll either get Noel Malicdem, who's incredibly dangerous, or Rowby John Rodriguez, who if he shows up is incredibly dangerous. Then he could easily get Seigo Asada, who's also incredibly dangerous. I don't think a last 32 match up between Asada and Malicdem is unrealistic, and that'd show the best the Asian Tour has to offer against each other.

5 - Maybe Price actually makes a run in this event for once

Is there anyone that can seriously threaten him before the quarters? Answers on a postcard.

6 - Will Euro Tour champions collide?

The possibility of a Krzysztof Ratajski against Jamie Hughes matchup in the last 64 (!) is mouthwatering, that would not look out of place two rounds later, but it's where we're at.

7 - Can Rydz go far?

It's always been a tale of nearly but not quite punching through for Callan Rydz, but he's got a series of good games where he's in with chances. Steve Lennon and then Danny Noppert are good tests where, if he can bring his game at its peak, he can win those. Then Rob Cross? That would be fun.

8 - How will the ladies do?

Suzuki's got James Richardson - that isn't the worst of draws, James if he's playing alright is obviously the better player, but is hugely hit or miss, and Suzuki could be able to exploit that, and John Henderson, despite a very respectable showing at the weekend, is in the lower tier of seeds that could be a second round opponent. Meanwhile Fallon Sherrock played out of her skin earlier today to get through the qualifier, seeing off a big comeback from Lisa Ashton in the semi finals, and she's got Ted Evetts, and getting the Development Tour winner might make for some interesting dynamics.

9 - Any other international qualifiers with a chance?

Jan Dekker's a tour card holder, but got through the regional qualifier - Joyce isn't unbeatable (odd that the two players who faced the ladies qualifiers last year now face each other). Koltsov is incredibly live against Edhouse, if not the favourite. The Chinese kid Zong should get annihilated, but Kyle Anderson just hasn't been getting results, and Zong has been more than respectable when we've seen him previously. Nico Kurz could test James Wilson, Danny Baggish doesn't have a terrible draw against Andy Boulton, Paul Lim might be able to take advantage of Luke Woodhouse's relative lack of stage experience (not that it mattered this weekend). Lourence Ilagan against Cristo Reyes should be very competitive. Madars Razma against Harry Ward has a wide range of outcomes but the Latvian could easily get through.

10 - Show me the schedule already

I'm at the Friday evening session before Christmas and I just want to know which four second round games I'll see. Please be Durrant please be Durrant please be Durrant

Sunday 24 November 2019

The calm before the storm

So, we got the final we all wanted, and I think most people, first leg aside, agree that it met everyone's expectations as Michael van Gerwen was able to edge out Gerwyn Price to claim another Players Championship Finals win, and lay down a marker before the worlds. All that's left to be decided for that is the UK ladies qualifier and the three PDPA qualifiers - I have to feel for Adam Gawlas, he looked so incredibly nervous in the youth final which Luke Humphries won to open up the third spot. We just need now to wait and see who'll come through, before analysis goes into overdrive.

For now, the new FRH rankings:

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

Price didn't need anywhere near a final to claim the #2 spot with Cross going out fairly early, but it gives him over 30k as a buffer to the next spot down. Wright getting past Gurney was just on differing countback degradation, he's less than 50 points ahead, White finally making a TV semi final puts him well past Aspinall, while Bunting's good run keeps him just ahead of Chris Dobey, whose own semi final gets him to the top 20 for I think the first time. Lower down, Willie O'Connor is up to #35, Barney's up to #45, while Ryan Meikle's good weekend sees him up to #70.

None of these include minimum worlds money, which I'm now going to add into the database. Something that may be of interest to some - who's scoring the most per turn from the start of the last worlds to date? That's the period I run my betting tracking from and to (you'll see the 2020 entry is up on the right), so who's up there? I'll give you the top 20, with a minimum of 100 legs played:

Michael van Gerwen 96.48
Peter Wright 94.89
Gerwyn Price 94.74
Rob Cross 94.45
Ian White 94.21
Gary Anderson 94.03
Glen Durrant 93.63
Krzysztof Ratajski 93.41
Dave Chisnall 93.55
Michael Smith 93.03
Mensur Suljovic 92.90
James Wade 92.61
Jamie Hughes 92.51
Nathan Aspinall 92.43
Jose de Sousa 92.23
Daryl Gurney 92.11
Jeffrey de Zwaan 92.08
Kyle Anderson 92.07
Gabriel Clemens 91.81
Danny Noppert 91.80

Any names surprise you there?

Love fifteen

Another two misses, as long as we don't end up giving three break points...

Down to the quarters and it's down to Price/Bunting, Barney/Dobey, MvG/King and White/O'Connor. Few surprising names there, Bunting being one but he's playing the best he has in years, Barney being another but he's not looked too shabby either, O'Connor's hit a bit of form, otherwise you can kind of expect most of these names to be in the equation at this end of an event. One fun stat about Bunting - he's only lost seven legs, and he's averaging 108 in them!

Any bets we like? I actually don't like the near 3/1 we're getting on Bunting - Price is just that good. Sure, if Bunting can sustain the level of play he's shown in the previous three rounds it's worth the shot, but this sort of really short term form bet is rarely a good idea, particularly against someone quite as solid as Price is. Barney/Dobey's lined up as a flip (Barney's actually the tiny favourite), this seems fine if you ask me. MvG/King I think we can avoid betting on lightning striking twice and Mervyn getting another upset following the UK Open, Michael's performance in seeing off James Wade is, in my eyes, the performance of the tournament so far, it was that good. That just leaves White/O'Connor - Ian's 1/2, that looks about right season long, once we get past that stage when Willie won his event then maybe it ought to be around 1/3, but I think we can consider that O'Connor's playing a little bit better than that this weekend and assume the season long stats are correct.

So, that's going to be it for the year - I'm at Bramall Lane later so won't be able to post anything before the semis and finals, I really hope we either see a Price/MvG final, or we get two complete different players against each other. Either we see probably the two best players in the world today face off for all the cash, or we get two players whose final run would be a great story. Can Bunting roll back the years to his world champion days? Can Barney go out with one last major title? Can Dobey claim his first title and announce himself on the world stage? Can King finally claim the major PDC (World Masters is a major imo) title that's eluded him for so long? Can White finally break that TV quarter final hoodoo and push through to get the major that his level of play indicates he should be contending for? Or can O'Connor allow Ireland to retain the title, even if Gurney couldn't?

Who knows. Frankly the Humphries/Gawlas match might be more important :)

Saturday 23 November 2019

This weekend just keeps getting better

An 0/13 streak isn't really what I was looking for in the run up to the worlds, today we had de Sousa put in a near 103 average but run into Bunting playing the best game he's played since at least his first year in the PDC, if not his BDO days, Evans just completely forgot how to score he got the break in the first leg but that was it, Noppert was looking like the same against Suljovic but clawed it back to 5-5, then missed bull for the match and Suljovic finished 84 with an unorthodox D3 finish, before Dolan got entailed in an incredibly ordinary game against Smith, he fought back a bit before going down 6-4.

It's worth looking at the long run in these spots - the years I list in the sidebar (I don't know if they're visible on mobile layouts) run from Ally Pally through to the Players Championship, and if we stopped right now we'd still be making over 3% in 2019 - it's not the 6% we were at before this event, but it's important to put into perspective that if you put the volume in the correct spots, you can sustain what's without doubt a fucking awful event so far.

Nice to see dartsdata failing yet again, if anyone can explain how they're reporting that Adrian Lewis got a nine darter in leg three finishing on double three, you're a better man than me - at least van Gerwen got one for real later on in the match to end what was a pretty big TV drought.

Last 16 starts soon, and we have in draw order Price/Suljovic, Bunting/Meikle, Durrant/van Barneveld, Dobey/Henderson, Wade/van Gerwen, King/Cross, White/Smith and O'Connor/Clemens. We're still waiting for a line for the Smith game, but we know they've met a few times recently and it was generally correct, we're also waiting for the King/Cross line, but for now, is there anything we like? I think Suljovic is very close, 15/8 is out there and I think he's got a little bit more of a chance than that, but it's so hard to punt against Price these days and it's not a big edge. 0.1u Meikle 12/5 looks obvious, Bunting does seem overrated and season long Meikle has 40% easily, the concerns are that Bunting has infinitely more experience than Ryan over a game of this length, so we'll just go a tenth of a unit. That he played incredibly well earlier is also a bit of a worry. I won't go for Wade simply because his form of late doesn't make it a sensible punt, I'll take a bit of 0.25u Clemens 4/6 as he's about that season long, but is a fair bit better than O'Connor over more recent samples. Dobey being a small favourite over Henderson seems accurate enough, and Glen against Barney seems about correct as well that's at a similar line (in Glen's favour). I've literally just seen the last couple of lines come up, White's where I thought it would be, and Cross is coming in around 70/30 which seems fine to me.

So just the couple to add on, hopefully we claw something back.

Worst. Tipping. Ever.

Jesus christ, yesterday was not pretty in the slightest. Surprises everywhere, not only did we lose every single bet, but there's odd stuff all over the shop - who could have seen Meikle bagelling Clayton? Whitlock finding a way to win from 3-0 down? Luke Woodhouse locating his early season form to dodge bullets and dump out the defending champion? James Wilson taking down Peter Wright? I think the only thing that wasn't a surprise is dartsdata fucking up for the 8467th time this season:

Of course that had to show up on the last match I looked at after I thought everything had worked as intended.

In any case, given the level of fail yesterday I think we need to look back at what we picked and see if there's anything that we could have done differently:

van den Bergh - Just didn't show up, that's within the expected range of outcomes, but missed doubles - could easily have been up 4-2 rather than down 5-1
Pipe - Had the game up 4-3, then missed darts at double
Joyce - Had the game up 4-2, missed match darts
Klaasen - Game was there to win, just didn't show up and was maybe trying a bit too hard, just couldn't kick on after the 170 out, similarly missed a bunch of doubles
Schindler - Long shot that didn't show up until he was down 3-0, made a big mess of leg four, grab that one and pin any of the huge number of misses in leg six then who knows?
Anderson - Cullen played well, I'll give him that, but if Kyle pinned any of the three darts he had at double in leg one he could have been 3-0 up. Why's he even going bull route on 87 with Cullen on 143 anyway? If Joe pins it, fair enough, but he's cost himself possibly two darts at a big double, at least one for sure, through "opponent on outshot... huge longshot... must attempt outshot anyway..."
Evetts - Did fine. Had the break as late as leg 7, then scoring went away to really put the pressure on, missed doubles to break in leg 9 and then it was done. It'll come for Ted, he's too talented not to get one of these sooner rather than later
West - Didn't do anything wrong really, held his throw apart from when Willie put in a twelve darter with West waiting on 68 to break, suppose the only thing you can really criticise is not scoring better in the final leg when he could have broken back, but he's scored just fine everywhere else
Meulenkamp - Maybe in retrospect I don't like this one, but it was a small flier reliant on Ron turning up, and we got the complete opposite.

Packed round two today, with round three to follow in the evening, let's not go too crazy trying to chase losses, but let's look at what we have this afternoon:

Price/Brown - close to a Brown punt, near 4/1 isn't an awful price, but Gerwyn looks to be just about good enough, especially recently, that I'm not sure if Keegan covers enough to create clear value. Brown wasn't anything special against Boulton that might have tipped the balance.

Whitlock/Henderson - can't see anything that's real value here. Hendo's the underdog but only at 11/10, and throughout the year I'm finding it incredibly difficult to split the two.

Wade/Evans - 0.25u Evans 13/8, this looks about break even when you consider the whole year, but take away the earlier months when Wade looked so good (and when I took him for the worlds at half the price he is now), then it's a much closer affair that could easily be in the 5/4 region. Ricky's come through a scrappy game and is doing a fair bit better on the stage than he has done previously so let's stab at it.

Meikle/Labanauskas - wow, big opportunity for either of these. This is similar to the Whitlock game, they have Meikle as the tiny underdog, I agree in that this is too close to call, Ryan might have the smallest of small edges but it's not enough to push.

de Sousa/Bunting - 0.25u de Sousa 4/5, oh wow, they're still not adapting to just how good Jose is. Season long this ought to be 4/6, take out the first few months when Jose was still getting to grips with the tour and it ought to be nearer 1/2. Almost tempted to go half a unit, this looks very good.

Suljovic/Noppert - 0.25u Noppert 6/4, Danny looked alright yesterday and was able to grind out a win, Mensur did somewhat the same, season long this appears a bit closer than that line, picking out Noppert as a bet isn't a surprise at this stage.

White/van der Voort - nothing here, White's the better player but Vincent's been solid enough all year that him nicking it around the one in three that the market suggests appears reasonable enough.

Woodhouse/Clemens - no bet, if (and only if) you think that Luke has instantly returned to the level of play he was showing at the start of the year then I don't hate taking the near 2/1 that's out there, but Clemens is really good and frankly isn't that much of an easier task than Gurney was.

Lewis/van Gerwen - no, we've seen this one already in the Slam at a similar line and I'm not inclined to push our luck again.

Ratajski/O'Connor - this is really close to a stab on Ratajski, but there's enough spells where Willie has done well enough that 4/7 isn't overly appealing, and he appeared solid enough yesterday so I think I can avoid this one.

Durrant/Hopp - no bet once again here, every stat I have is saying this is round about a Glen takes it two times out of three game, which is where the line is at, so an easy leave.

Wilson/Dobey - incredibly tempting to take James in this one if you can get the 6/4 that's available on one or two books, year long Dobey's at around 60% but over shorter periods James becomes a somewhat viable play, the counterargument is that Chris looked really good yesterday, and how much did yesterday's win take out of Wilson?

Chisnall/King - seems close to a Mervyn play, 15/8 isn't too bad a price when I'm seeing him in or around 40% for most time periods, usually slightly below, the main concern is that there were mentions when they cut to board 2 on the broadcast that there might have been a recurrence of the back issues he's had, so against someone as hot as Chisnall is now I can leave this alone.

van Barneveld/Cullen - nothing here, they seem fairly evenly matched over large samples, over more recent months Barney looks a bit better but that's going to come from a very small Raymond sample.

Hughes/Cross - no bet, I'd have thought with Hughes' form since the Matchplay they might have given us a bit better than 13/8 against Cross of all people, but while Hughes is generally around 40% to win over any time period you want, they're not offering the line I thought they would.

Smith/Dolan - 0.25u Dolan 21/10, Brendan's really good and easily dismissed a tough first round opponent in Ross Smith, he's up at 40% all year so better than 2/1? Yes please.

Back later with last 16 picks.

Thursday 21 November 2019

PC Finals round 1 bets

You'd probably have got a good read of what we're looking at from the previous post, but here's what we're going with in match order:

0.25u van den Bergh 4/5 vs Bunting, this seems a bit too close to me, I'm struggling to see a sample where Dimitri shouldn't at least be 4/6. Small value, but enough to go with.

0.25u Pipe evs vs King, season long it's pretty tight and there looks no value either way, but over the last few months Justin's appeared much the superior player and rates to win this one at a decent clip.

0.25u Joyce evs vs Henderson, this is all about trending, after Hendo's magic cameo in the Premier League he's not really done much of anything, while Joyce has been trending upwards and regaining much of the form we saw in 2018.

0.25u Klaasen 6/5 vs Hopp, Jelle's been one of a few Dutch players who've had a bit of a resurgence in recent times, year long the line looks fair but as he's got better in 2019 and Hopp's stagnated a little, I'm rating Jelle as no worse than 50/50, so we'll take the odds against.

0.1u Schindler 5/2 vs Smith, absent from oddschecker for reasons unknown? I've talked a fair bit about Martin in recent times, he's been playing well but just not had the rub of the green, he only lost by a deciding leg against Smith in the Slam so 5/2 looks worth the small stab.

0.25u Anderson 13/10 vs Cullen, at some point Kyle's got to start getting the results that his scoring has predicated, he's outscored Joe for the year so we'll take odds against.

0.25u Evetts 9/5 vs Wade, I'd have liked a little bit more odds and they're kind of correctly showing that Ted's dominated the Dev Tour and got good results at senior level, but I don't think they've quite corrected enough. If he can hang with Price as he did in the Euros he can certainly trouble Wade.

0.25u West evs vs O'Connor, over the course of the year this looks about a break even bet, but O'Connor hasn't really impressed since he got his title whereas West's been looking to get back to the kind of game he had when he was in the best player without a title conversation.

0.1u Meulenkamp 12/5 vs Cross, it's a punt, sure, but Ron's had his moments and is one of those players where if it clicks he's unplayable. Needing only three in ten to break even isn't a ridiculous ask.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

PC Finals early thoughts

Bets tomorrow, but first, a picture:

This should give you a bunch of the relevant stats you need, but for now, I'll just pick my top 5 games that aren't being televised because reasons:

5) Joe Cullen v Kyle Anderson

Come on now, you've got two players who are decent on the stage, appear reasonably well liked and are reasonably well matched, what's not to like here?

4) Jonny Clayton v Ryan Meikle

This one might not be so close, but Clayton's won on tour this year and Meikle's a young rising talent who, while an underdog, isn't going to be without some sort of chance.

3) Brendan Dolan v Ross Smith

Smith's been value for money on TV all year, while Dolan's one of the hottest players on the circuit who's won two from the last ten Players Championship events, and this is on stage two why?

2) Ron Meulenkamp v Rob Cross

There's a two time major winner from this year and former world champion involved, and he's on the second stage? I can only assume they think Ron will get rolled, but regular readers will be aware Meulenkamp isn't a bad player in the slightest - if he gets hot. This is last on in the evening which, like Chisnall/Edgar, I suppose they're putting into a "flex" position if the TV stage is running quickly, but even so...

1) Jermaine Wattimena v Jamie Hughes

Now really, Hughes has won a European Tour event and looked one of the most dangerous players on the circuit, while Wattimena's finally starting to click on the TV stage and is in the equation for best player not to have won a ranking event to date.

Can honestly say a lot of the TV games really don't interest me. You're not going to shunt MvG/Humphries from the main stage, sure, but taking the likes of Dobey/Reyes, Hopp/Klaasen and Suljovic/Huybrechts don't seem anywhere near as interesting as what we've got on stage two. Even out of those we haven't mentioned, we've got a lot of games that should be close affairs and make for good darts, if not spectacular.

Catch up

I guess everyone has seen Gerwyn Price winning and, more surprisingly, Nico Kurz and Mikuru Suzuki winning their qualifiers (really thought Schindler was a lock, guess not), so let's jump straight into the new FRH rankings:

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

A reminder that we don't arbitrarily remove money in ranking events for technical reasons, so that's why Glen's moved up so much. Price has only moved up the one spot, but is within 10,000 points of Cross for number 2, that's how far he's come. Wright's within a thousand of Gurney to get back in the top 5, while Anderson having a bit of a run pulls himself back to within 1500 points of the top 10. Lower down, Webster making it out of the group wasn't quite enough to get back in the top 25, Clemens is now well established in the top 40, Thornton reclaims a top 60 spot, and Ryan Harrington debuts in the top 100.

I'll have a look at the Players Championship Finals in a new post shortly once I've updated a few stats.

Friday 15 November 2019

Thought White was happening for a minute there

Then it didn't. Oh well, at least it cost us nothing.

For anyone looking for value in the quarters, I'm struggling to see any. All of the three close quarter finals appear to be shaded on the correct side of where I thought they'd be, while van Gerwen might be a little bit short, over a long race I can't see Lewis holding his game at the required level for long enough to get it done.

We're now at the stage where every player is well known, so I'd suspect there won't be any further betting opportunities in the rest of the event. As such, don't expect anything more until midweek when I start looking at Minehead.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Quick last 16 post

Afternoon, been having a look at the last sixteen and nothing stands out as great value. Chizzy probably safe but 1/7 isn't enticing really, Duzza at 4/5 maybe, it seems a bit of an overreaction to how well Clemens is playing, but we know he's very solid. The other two games today are priced very closely and appear correct, maybe tiny value on Smith?

Tomorrow, Wade, Price and Anderson all look to be around the correct ball park as favourites. That just leaves MvG against White. Now, by all accounts we should bet White, but are we really going to take White in a TV event where getting a win makes an "I can win a TV event" statement? I don't know about that as a good idea. Watch him win and then lose in the quarters...

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Grand Slam day 4

Only the one tip I really like, and that's 0.25u Lewis 8/11 against Williams, I know that Jim's probably underrated because BDO and Lewis isn't the force he used to be, but that seems a bit too close to me

Finally got into Vegas about four hours ago, the room's mint, pretty much bigger than my house, will have to see if the TV in here can pick up the darts somehow...

Monday 11 November 2019

Grand Slam day 3

Oh cool, Chicago's had snow. Time to leave before it drops to minus double figures, but before then, what do I like today?

0.1u Schindler 3/1, picking a dead rubber is dangerous but I don't think Martin should be that price, and he can play with a bit more freedom and tune up for the Superleague finals to try to get into the worlds.

0.25u Dolan 19/10, this is probably just now Gurney non belief, but Dolan has been playing well enough for some time to get this done well more than one in three and isn't going to be affected by for all intents and purposes a knockout game

That's it, Noppert and Warren are kind of tempting, Warren especially, although as Wayne can't actually qualify he might have switched off.

Looks like Lerchbacher made it back to Ally Pally, nice to see.

Sunday 10 November 2019

Grand Slam day two bet

Not really caught up with yesterday yet, but on a brief scan things didn't go great, only thing I really like today is 0.1u Lewis 9/2 vs van Gerwen, seems like the usual punt against MvG play, if you don't think Lewis has the quality to get there one in five then that's an interesting take

Seems as if Cody Harris couldn't play the New Zealand qualifier. Who knew.

Friday 8 November 2019

Quick European Tour post

Landed in the USA, where I assume I've instantly got into the top 100 players, and while I wait for the pubs to open while my body clock thinks it's closing time, I see that they've announced the remainder of the European Tour.

It's pretty good - they've started off in Belgium, which is a country I've advocated for in previous posts - and they're ending back in Prague, which I also think makes a lot of sense. It seemed to go down well, with Gawlas doing good things over the last couple of months perhaps they can utilise him (as well as Sedlacek and others obv) to help really grow interest, and additionally, I think you've got to look at giving somewhere a two year run. Unless a first year is a complete failure, then you have one to spark the interest and see how the follow up goes. We're in a crowded enough calendar as it is, do I think unless something really explodes you're probably looking at a max two year run anyway before coming back later, but at least if you do that you can say you did put in the effort to get it off the ground.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Oddschecker works in international waters at least

Didn't get time to put together the chances matrix I wanted to last night, just ran out of time, so I'll look at game one of the group stages and see what I think while on a boat somewhere in the Irish Sea, hopefully heading in the direction of Dublin:

Aspinall/Schindler - nothing here. It's priced as Nathan having a two in three shot, which feels about right, as mentioned in the preview, Martin is very good this year, he may even outperform this line.

Noppert/Harrington - 0.25u Noppert 8/15, now this one feels a bit more one sided, Danny has been undervalued all year and I'm simply not convinced Harrington can win this one in three. As a bonus, Danny did make a TV final last weekend so the stage game has to be there

Dolan/Clemens - no bet. It's more or less a flip, Clemens being slightly favoured against the Irishman, 11/10 seems a tempter but this appears close however you look at it.

Chisnall/Hughes - no bet, market has it slightly more than 60/40 in Chizzy's favour, earlier on in the year this'd be bet Jamie and print, but of late it appears to be somewhat more accurate.

Gurney/Veenstra - no bet, was hoping this would be a bit more of a one sided line, but we can't even get 5/2 on Richard.

Wright/Warren - no bet, it's a shame that we didn't have more data on Wayne, as 7/2 is a big number in a race to five, but it's hard to extrapolate and go against someone who's both clearly better and has been hitting peaks of late.

Cross/Ashton - 12/1 lol

Smith/Durrant - nothing on this one, market can't split the pair which appears ok

Webster/O'Connor - same line as above, don't want to even think about punting on either given their respective form with neither being odds against.

Price/Suzuki - 12/1 lol

White/Lennon - half tempted to stab at Lennon here given a 2/1 line and White's indifferent TV form, but surely Ian can pull through here. If Steve had a few better results of any kind I would probably shoot

Anderson/Parletti - 0.1u Parletti 23/10, this is just on the chance that Gary seriously isn't right and plays like he did last weekend

Wade/Harms - 0.25u Wade 1/2, I've not seen enough play out of Harms that makes me think he can take down someone with Wade's solidity more than one in three.

van Gerwen/Williams - there's plenty of people I'd take at 5/1 in a race this short against MvG but Jim ain't one of them.

Lewis/Smith - sign of the times that Smith is shorter than 5/4, this feels like a close tie and is priced accordingly

van den Bergh/Thornton - 0.25u van den Bergh 4/7, I really don't think that Robert has shown the form this year to take down the maturing Belgian often enough that this is bad.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Grand Slam draws

Quick thoughts - I plan on shoving all the group games and likely second round/quarter final games through the master computer, but won't go beyond that, I'm on holiday without access to the master computer after today so that'll have to do, but for now, the groups:

van Gerwen/Lewis/Smith/Williams - Only really looks to be one winner, or does there? Smith's beaten van Gerwen not too long ago, Lewis is certainly capable, can Jim Williams cause upsets? It's not too outlandish to think that someone might nick a game from MvG, Clayton did it last year after all, but two seems a bit steep, so it's three playing for one spot. Filtering year long (counting Lakeside), Lewis and Smith are within a point of each other on the averages, and the market seemed to have them close, Williams has 160 legs of data and is about a point and a half behind those two, which isn't insurmountable. Have to think that Lewis/Smith is a decider for second place, but wouldn't count on it for sure.

Wade/White/Lennon/Harms - This looks like a real two horse race though. White's top five in points per turn this year, Wade's just outside the top ten, whereas Lennon is putting up a respectable points per turn score just in the 90's, it's a clear two points behind the big guns. Harms will be looking to repeat his last sixteen performance from last year, but it seems unlikely, he's a further couple of points per turn behind Lennon, albeit on short data, so I'm not feeling overly confident about his chances.

Price/van den Bergh/Thornton/Suzuki - The defending champ's got to feel fairly happy with his draw. He's the clear class of this group, Dimitri is nearly four points per turn behind him season long, although we know if the Belgian turns up he can give anyone a run for their money, Thornton is down below 88 a turn for the year, beneath the likes of Benito van de Pas, but if he can get his game clicking then who knows. That leaves the great unknown in the women's world champ - if she plays like she did in the world final, then a shock could be on the cards, but an overall conventional average on the Asian tour of below 80 isn't confidence inspiring. It's a fascinating wild card in any case.

Anderson/Webster/O'Connor/Parletti - Hmm. This one isn't too pretty. Anderson, if healthy, walks the group, but he looked like complete arse against Noppert last weekend. Webster's been poor all year and is a point and a half behind O'Connor, but as we alluded to in the European Championship preview, has dropped off the pace a lot in recent months. So there's definitely a shot for Parletti, although any time we have seen him on TV he has struggled mightily, his Lakeside last year was one to forget, so while he's got a decent draw, can he gain some stage form in time to do anything with it?

Cross/Chisnall/Hughes/Ashton - Jesus christ, this is tough. It's a lot easier than it might have been if this took place six months ago when Jamie was in red hot form, but then again, Chisnall's form has increased to counterbalance it. Cross is the clear class of the field but lost to Chisnall literally last weekend. I think what Hughes does is key, if he turns up then it's going to be incredibly tight between the top three. God knows what to make of Lisa Ashton here, her scoring on the Challenge Tour is a couple of points better than what Suzuki was doing on the Asian Tour, but likely inflated by playing mostly better players, still, low 80's probably isn't going to cut the mustard in what's a draw from hell.

Wright/Noppert/Harrington/Warren - Nice draw for Peter this. Danny Noppert got in really late, and while we've stated on numerous occasions he's been playing better than his results have suggested, it's still a good three points worse than what Wright's been managing over the course of the year. Harrington's down at an 85 per turn clip for the season and ought not to trouble either of the other two PDC players, and probably ought to be an underdog to Warren as well, who's generally looked alright when we've seen him on TV in short samples, although not really getting the results. Still, he's got to have been doing well enough off stage to get here, maybe he can trouble Danny and steal second?

Gurney/Dolan/Clemens/Veenstra - This one looks very even. Gurney's the stand out name, but his scoring per turn really isn't spectacular, at least in comparison to his results and general level of recognition. The big German's less than a fifth of a point per turn behind him over the course of the season. Dolan over the course of the last year, and especially the last six months, has had a real return to form and cannot be counted out against either of these two, he's close enough to Gurney that all three players are separated by less than a point a turn. This leaves Dutch Open winner Veenstra, who I think is going to be outgunned a bit too easily here, but over a short race then maybe he can hold his own, his scoring's unimpressive but he's held it together in match situations quite well, and if he can at least hold his own in the opening game, maybe he can grow into the tournament from there.

Smith/Aspinall/Schindler/Durrant - Whichever group got Glen was always going to be a group of death, but this looks pretty nasty full stop. Over the course of the season in points per turn, Durrant is 7th, Smith 12th, Aspinall 15th and Schindler 26th - if you go back a few posts, you'll see that, outside of Cadby, Schindler's scoring more than anyone who isn't already qualified for the World Championship. All of these are scoring more than 91 per turn over the course of the year, with the bigger three names all over 92. It's a really intriguing group, between the main three it's too close to call, but to write Schindler out of this is severely underestimating how well he has been playing.

Quick game by game summary and bets later tonight.

Monday 4 November 2019

Grand Slam - dear god

There's been a hell of a lot of bitching on social media about the Grand Slam qualification process, why it only just came to prominence on Sunday I have no idea other than that the main protagonists were huge Mensur Suljovic fans, who think that by him eschewing the qualifier, he should get priority because he won some event over Noppert, despite the fact that the qualification criteria have been known all fucking year and he simply didn't do enough in that period. Deal with it.

So we get to the qualifier itself - and oh my, did some awful players get through there. It looks like it was kind of seeded, in that the top sixteen players in the Order of Merit that were not already qualified that entered the qualifier were on sixteen separate boards, it doesn't look like a perfect seeding order, but then again I'm looking at the live order, if they took it at the cutoff point which might have been before the Euros it'd probably make more sense (de Zwaan's positioning lends something to that theory at least). Not sure why Mervyn King didn't enter?

The qualifiers - we had the following:

Clayton/Evans board - Clemens won
Ratajski/de Zwaan board - Harrington won
Wattimena/Hopp board - Thornton won
Cullen/Brown board - Dolan won
Whitlock/Henderson board - Hughes won
Webster/Beaton board - Webster won
Bunting/Dobey board - (Ross) Smith won
Lewis/West board - (Adrian) Lewis won

That's not pretty. I think a lot of them are fine - certainly no qualms with Clemens, Dolan, Hughes and Ross Smith getting more airtime, and while Webster's been playing like trash he's at least defended his seeding, but Robert Thornton? Ryan Harrington?

As mentioned, I think they should seed this in order of countback first and foremost. This'd have given us seedings of (players not entered italicised, have gone with Pro Tour rankings as tiebreakers because fuck the official order of merit):

(1) Ratajski - Suljovic - (2) Cullen - (3) Hughes; Durrant, (4) de Sousa, (5) Dolan, (6) Clayton, (7) Lewis, (8) de Zwaan, (9) Ward; (10) Wattimena, (11) Brown, (12) Evans, (13) Beaton, (14) Bunting, (15) Dobey, (16) van der Voort

There's no system that pleases everybody, but I think this order would be a heck of a lot more equitable than what's happened. Personally, as stated on Twitter, I'd drop the number of qualifier spots down to 4-6 and let in some of the secondary tour winners directly, as well as eliminating the spots that players get for non-ranked events. The key thing is to debate the issue before it already becomes an issue, there's a heck of a lot of lazy journalism going out there whereby you say something sucks, get challenged as to how you would do it better, and then ignore the issue and just complain about how your favourite players aren't there.

Back tomorrow for the draw, got to get a lot of stuff in before I'm on holiday - will Vegas books have the Grand Slam lines up?

Sunday 3 November 2019

Long time no post

Just watching a bit of Barney's last stand in the Netherlands, it's pretty interesting in that we've got a van Gerwen/Suljovic semi in one half, and then a Noppert (despite his best efforts) against either Barney or Chisnall in the other. Now if Barney wins this, then that dumps Suljovic out of the Grand Slam - unless Suljovic then beats van Gerwen, which dumps White straight back out instead, permutations all over the place.

Elsewhere, Marko Kantele's clinched a worlds spot after getting home in the Nordic tour, Nentjes and Ciaran Teehan have clinched from the Development Tour which Evetts has won by an absolute mile, Gary Anderson's reportedly questionable for the Grand Slam due to back issues, which might explain him playing complete garbage against Noppert, we'll see. Qualifier is tomorrow so no doubt the PDC will make things up as they go along if he does withdraw from it.

One thing I want to analyse at some point is the sense (or otherwise) of going tops-tops from 80 with three darts in hand. Now here, I think there's a few variables you need to look at - first one, naturally, is how often you hit treble 20 and then tens and tops to get a baseline level.

Secondly, I think you need to recognise that the equation is hugely different depending on how you throw - if you go high or low, it's either a marker or a blocker, if you throw like Adie, going high is a marker but you still need two doubles, going low means you just need a single, but how much of the bed are you actually seeing after you've hit that single? On the other hand, if you throw like Justin Pipe, if you go low you've left a marker and still should have enough of big 20 to hit to leave the double, but if you go high it's probably a disaster, as you've blocked the bed which you need to hit two doubles on. At that point, do you bail out to the 16's route? It'd be an interesting one to look at, but you'd need some decent data - you'd need to know how often someone hits tops for sure, but you can't just assume that they'll miss equally high and low - you've got to think that someone can adapt their throw (at least at the highest level) to aim for a given wire. Would be incredibly interesting to get some decent data from a high level player - wonder if Price or Lewis would need an excuse to learn that what looks like a showboating/disrespectful route is actually mathematically sound?

Oh well, Barney blew a 7-5 lead, so the deal is that White is in the Slam unless we get precisely a Suljovic/Noppert final, whereas Suljovic is in with a win or a Chisnall win. Then it's down to the qualifiers. In a bold and aggressive strategy, Suljovic isn't entered, and neither is Durrant, which is odd as you'd have thought that there'd be more equity in getting the PDC qualifier spot than the BDO spot.