Sunday, 4 October 2020

Grand Prix preview

Before I kick off with this, some quick notes on the USA section of the CDC - Danny Baggish won both the first two events and is looking really good, I've not shoved the data into the master computer, but just scanning the raw averages, it's very promising and I would fully expect him to come back later today and clinch the worlds spot that's on offer.

Let's start by shoving all the stats up from 2020:


Will preface that by saying that Clemens would be a couple of spots higher if you exclude the German Superleague from the data - while it brings him down a little bit, it's not by that much really.

What it also shows is how tough that top section is. van Gerwen, Ratajski, Petersen and de Sousa - any one of those could realistically make the quarters. Petersen against de Sousa is a straight flip for me, while Ratajski has extremely good chances - it's hard to model the Grand Prix with the double start format, but over such a short race he's got at least a 40% shot and will surely be a bet in this one.

Next section has Wade/King and Lewis/Dobey. All English lineup, and these should be a good couple of matches. King returned to a bit of form last weekend, while Wade remains at a good consistent standard as always, Wade has an edge but it's not a big edge. Adie is perhaps a bit lucky to be here, if Clayton had have won that final against Petersen, he wouldn't have made it (and a spot would have been wasted by Jeffrey de Zwaan instead), while Dobey was one of the last players in, as despite being excellent when he gets to big events, he's struggled to do enough on the tour to be really sure of making them in the first place, which is why he's missed the Matchplay (there's a weird amount of churn between those two events, normally we only see a small number of changes, but we see seven between the two). Dobey should be a fairly small favourite here.

Third section is Smith/van den Bergh then Suljovic/van Duijvenbode. Smith's not been playing brilliantly, certainly not at his best, but I feel that Dimitri will be overrated here on account of him having won the Matchplay, it's a great achievement but he still isn't a top 10 player by any metric other than the FRH rankings. Only concern is the double start, would be pretty standard for Smith to miss three to kick off, see Dimitri kick off 146 and then that's that. Mensur/Dirk should be fun, DvD's made a good enough fist of things in 2020 to get here and make his first major event that isn't really a freebie in ages, but Mensur, especially in this format, will be a tough test. Suljovic's doubling will help him improve his chances beyond the coinflip that I'd see this at in straight 501, but is it enough that Dirk isn't value?

Final bit of the top half is Cross/Anderson and Noppert/Searle. That first match should be good. It's only really this event where you see such huge clashes in the first round, so kudos to the PDC for that. My model literally can't separate them - even in a length of game as long as the Matchplay final, Cross would only be favoured by 0.02%. Flip a coin, take your pick, although with Cross at 6/4 I know where I'd be looking. The other game is also fairly interesting - Noppert is playing as well as anyone in this quarter of the draw, but Searle's been underrated, although I think it's fair to say that his form has tailed off a little after binking his win earlier in the year. Noppie being the favourite that he is seems fair to me.

Bottom half starts with Wright/Joyce and Chisnall/Durrant. Less said about that first one the better, Joyce has done well to get here but this is the biggest mismatch of the first round by some distance. Chizzy against Glen on the other hand is another huge first round tie. Line looks fair at a first glance - Glen is playing the better darts by enough that 11/8 on Dave offers no real value for everyone. Like any match in this event it'll all come down to doubles, Dave's cleaned that area of his game up enough that it shouldn't provide a huge boost to Duzza, but there's always that underlying feeling that anything could go wrong.

Next is Gurney/Cullen and Clayton/White. This bit of the draw has a real Euro Tour feel about it, they've all managed to draw the weaker seed, they all have Euro Tour wins, this ought to be tight throughout. Cullen gets the first shot at the seed, he's correctly lined up as a small dog, Gurney's got distance in this one but not having course might be a bit of a factor, still, it's an event that seems like it should suit Daryl's game. White and Clayton's too close to call, Ian having a little bit of an edge on consistency but Jonny having a little bit of an edge on recent form, nothing really to pick between the two and no value either.

Price/Wattimena and Dolan/Huybrechts is next. Price is correctly the second biggest favourite in the first round, Jermaine's had some success here, indeed his biggest major run was here last year, but he looks outmatched here and Price being priced at better than 75% looks a fair assessment. Price will surely be the shortest chance to reach the quarters as well given the other game here, Kim was the last player in and I don't think it's disrespectful to say he's making up the numbers here, Brendan is probably a little bit of a favourite here, although the bookies can't separate them. Either way, Gerwyn cannot be in the slightest bit unhappy about this draw.

Finally we have Aspinall/Clemens and Hughes/Bunting. Gabriel is probably a bit off his 2019 peak game but still a dangerous player, against lots of other opponents he'd have good chances but Nathan's up in that tier just below the world's elite, and Aspinall being shorter than 1/2 seems a very fair assessment. Hughes/Bunting is an interesting one, both players have been somewhat under the radar, Hughes especially, as after Prague over a year ago now it's hard to remember what he's actually done. Market can't separate them, I can't separate them enough to consider punting on it, although I do have Yozza slightly ahead. Should be a good tie with explosive upside.

That's the lot - will return with bets tomorrow ahead of action starting on Tuesday. Final quick one - why am I seeing people on Twitter saying things like "speedy recovery to the boss" on account of Hearn having tested positive for that cold that's going around? Ignoring that it's more likely than not that he doesn't have it in the first place, such is the ridiculous inaccuracy of the testing system we have in place here, Matchroom's own tweet says he's not displaying any symptoms! You can't recover if you're not ill in the first place. Jesus christ.

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