Friday 31 December 2021

Quarter finals

The betting hits just keep coming, Soutar and Searle really didn't show up, although Rydz was playing well enough that I think he holds off a peak Soutar anyway, while Dobey blew a lead that he shouldn't have done, the upshot being we're down a unit and a half on the tournament which isn't really where we wanted to be, but it is what it is. We're back in action tomorrow, four quarter finals, let's go.

Wade/King - Pity that Raymond couldn't get through, but King fought back well to save Hopp's tour card, while Wade wasn't tested at all against Kleermaker. Wade's one of three players who're at or around 65% in the market, as such I think we've got to be taking the underdog here, 0.25u King 7/4, Mervyn's actually scoring slightly more in winning legs than Wade is, although James scoring more in losing legs gives him the slightly better overall scoring rate. That's not enough to put us off given that Mervyn projects to win slightly more than James does. Even if you factor in recent form, it's still a good bet.

Humphries/Anderson - The closest match at the bookies, Anderson produced his best game of the year to take out Cross while Luke came from behind to eliminate Chris Dobey in a deciding set. If Gary does what he did in the last sixteen, he probably wins, but Luke actually averaged more, and is scoring more in all areas of the game over the season. Luke projects to win 55% of the time, 5/4 is incredibly close to having sufficient value. I should probably take this, but it's kind of a huge step for Luke to take, which is a little bit of a concern.

Wright/Rydz - Both players averaged in the high 90's with 4-1 wins where we'd backed the other guy both times. Peter's actually dropped to fourth in year long scoring now behind Clayton, but is still well ahead of Rydz who's just outside the top twenty. Market has Wright at 1/2, I think that's a little bit on the long side with my projections showing him at around 73%. There's not quite enough there, I'm closer to a punt on Humphries to be honest.

Price/Smith - Think most people were expecting this to be Price/Clayton but Smith came through the probable game of the year, while Gerwyn ran off a lot of straight legs to dispatch DvD. Price is less of a favourite in the market than Wright is, but I only see Gerwyn's projected win chance at one percent lower than Peter's - so with Price being 4/7 rather than 1/2, it's kind of the same equation as the previous game - not quite the odds we want.

That's it, will be back tomorrow evening with semi final picks.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Remaining last sixteen matches

Going to blast through these:

King/Smith - Kind of hard to call given the lack of data on Raymond, but what we have on him puts him at just under a one in three shot. And Merv's 4/9. Moving on.

Soutar/Rydz - Wow, Callan is a huge favourite in the market at even shorter than what Mervyn is in the first game. That is in no way justified. Projection gives Alan close to a 45% shot. 0.25u Soutar 9/4

Dobey/Humphries - Extremely excited to see this one, two of the relatively younger players who are playing elite level darts against each other, and the bookies can't separate them. It's a weird one as both got byes in the previous round. Chris projects solidly higher than Luke, over 70%, but has triple the consistency score compared to Luke. I don't think that can compensate. Trusting the numbers, 0.25u Dobey 10/11, you can get evens on Betway.

Wade/Kleermaker - James was another one to get the benefit of a bye while Martijn came through a real tight one against Cullen. Market puts Wade in the 70-75% bracket, and I see 72%, so I think we can move on.

Anderson/Cross - Super disappointing to see White blow a three set lead, Cross was also involved in a seven set thriller against Gurney. Market thinks Cross a touch more than 60%, seems pretty much on the money.

Wright/Searle - Let's hope to fuck that Noppert getting pinged doesn't result in Searle getting pinged as I want to see a repeat of their great game from Minehead. Market says Wright a touch under 70%, there's enough difference here as I think he should be a touch under 60%. 0.25u Searle 7/4, Unibet is throwing out a bit of a better price if you bet there.

First two last sixteen matches

Going to be a brief one this, tournament has become a farce and I'm rapidly losing interest in it. There's the two games in the top quarter tonight between Price and van Duijvenbode and then Clayton and Smith. Pretty hard to pick Dirk here, I think the price is a little long at 10/3, but it should only be 11/4 so I can't see value. Clayton's just better than a 60/40 favourite in the market, that again looks perfect, can't see any value in either player. Kind of what I was expecting when this entire quarter offered no value in the previous round, if all the players are valued correctly then it should carry through to the next round as well.

Bets went about as badly as they could have - Anderson/White is pending but the best value one got scratched, Lennon didn't get close at all, Hempel had a shocker as well but fair play to Smith (who's Mervyn King away from actually winning a tour card, what a story that would be), then Noppert and Heta did OK but just ran out of steam from decent positions. Completely different story if Noppert could hit bull (had darts at it in two separate sets he lost), Heta just fell apart after Wright hit that 161.

One thing that needs to be said, and Ben Hudd sums it up well - if the fans are allowed in with proof of vaccination or a negative test, why not the players? One would assume MvG and VvdV have had the jabs in order to enter the country in the first place, no idea about Chisnall (and it's none of anyone's business). I really, really hope the PDC aren't doing absurd amounts of testing of players that are not ill by choice, if they are then their premier tournament being a joke is their own fault.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Worlds round 3 überpöst

Figure while I've got a bunch of time I'll just go through the whole of the last 32 in bracket order to get all the tips out to be able to enjoy the games without scrambling around to get tips out throughout the next couple of days. If anyone gets a bit of a cold in the next couple of days and the PDC forces them out, then I'll obv update, but for now let's go.

Price/Huybrechts (Monday evening) - Price averaged pretty well but still lost a set to Edhouse, who was playing decently enough, so think despite the lack of a 3-0 score it's fair to say Gerwyn's on it well enough. Kim looked a bit clunky against Beaton (disrupted travel could well have something to do with that in fairness), but Steve was down a fair bit from the first round level as well, would imagine Kim will up his game in this one. Market has Gerwyn at a couple of ticks over 80%, that's maybe a slight overestimate given I see Kim at around 21-22% to take it, but factor in the relative second round performances and this looks fine to me.

Smith/van Duijvenbode (Monday afternoon) - Ross was forced to five sets against Bunting but really should have wrapped it up much easier, the game just disappeared after around five legs after being in complete control. Dirk was also pushed to five sets by Koltsov, so it's a bit mutual in terms of being perhaps not at their best in round two. Smith in round one wasn't exactly setting the world on fire average-wise, but was getting no help from Jeff averaging below 80. Market can't split them, I give the tiniest of edges to Smith, but it's only like he wins 3% more often than Dirk so not being able to get either of them at evens makes this another easy pass.

Clayton/Clemens (Monday evening) - Jonny got into one of the games of the tournament so far against Keane Barry, but you never really felt he was in trouble of losing it, while Gabriel swept Lewy Williams who didn't show up, Clemens averaging 86 being enough to sweep it in straight sets. Market has this at a similar price to the Price game, that seems fine as I see Gabriel claiming it 18% of the time. So no bets yet.

Smith/O'Connor (Monday afternoon) - Michael had the highest average so far in rolling over Ron Meulenkamp, while Willie got into a real battle with Danny Lauby before doing the expected against Glen Durrant. Market sees this as 75/25, that seems close to spot on once more. Smith's at 77% season long, perhaps that should be a little bit lower given Willie's improved his form over the last two to three months, but Michael's first round performance probably offsets it. May also be hard for Willie to turn it back on to where he was at in round one after not being tested in round two.

Wade/van der Voort (Monday evening) - James took out Maik Kuivenhoven in four sets despite what many would call a BDO level average, while Vincent needed just the three sets to eliminate Adam Hunt, also not needing to average over 90. Wade comes in as a moderate favourite in the 60-65% range (slightly nearer the higher end), and this is the first one where we can think about betting. My projection gives van der Voort about 45%. There's a bit more inconsistency in Vincent's game which will temper that slightly, but James did his best work in early season when he binked the UK Open. This is very close, 6/4 is widely available and one random bookie is doing 8/5, I think 13/8 is worth the shot but not at this stage. I'll add this on if the line moves in our favour in a separate post.

Edit 27/12 15:10 - Vincent's been forced out of the tournament with a bit of a cold. Fuck Boris.

Cullen/Kleermaker (Tuesday afternoon) - Joe was pushed to the limit by Jim Williams but managed to scrape over the line, while Martijn, after a comfortable enough win against John Michael, took down Simon Whitlock in a bit of a scrappy game. Joe is a huge favourite in the market with over a 75% implied chance of winning, I was expecting the model to spit out a bet on Kleermaker here, but the length of the game is such that he's only actually at 26%. If this price was available on the Pro Tour it's a bet, but the game is long enough that Cullen takes it home that much more.

Hempel/Smith (Monday afternoon) - Florian pulled out the biggest shock in terms of seedings by eliminating Dimitri van den Bergh after surprisingly sweeping Martin Schindler (the sweep being the surprise, not necessarily the result) in round one, while Raymond is the last international qualifier left standing following an opportunistic win over Jamie Hughes and a sweep of the out of form Devon Petersen. Market thinks Raymond is at around the 35% marker, and this is a hard one to project given the lack of data - the model says Hempel at 82%, but that's only on 19 won legs. Smith, in the ten he's lost, is actually scoring a point and a half higher, so maybe the projection would be closer if he'd been allowed to convert some of those. It still kind of feels like a Hempel bet though - 0.25u Hempel 4/9, I will just go with the standard sizing given the lack of data on Smith, but I think he gets found out often enough when running into a top 32 calibre player, which is what Florian is statistically.

Lennon/King (Tuesday afternoon) - Steve pulled off possibly the biggest upset in terms of Elo rankings when he eliminated Ratajski, Steve's been playing better than his results suggest all year, but he converted it into a result when it mattered most, following a swingy victory over Madars Razma. King was in a world of trouble against Joyce before running off a billion straight legs to advance. Seems like King has a little bit more than a 60% shot to take this one on my projections, so I think we can bet here - 0.25u Lennon 2/1, this is just about enough value to go for it, there is no inconsistency difference to speak of when compared to the Wade/VVDV game so I think this is fine to go with. There's actually slightly longer available on one fringe bookie if you want to punt on whatever a Spreadex is.

Wright/Heta (Tuesday evening) - Wright was solid enough against Meikle and won in straight sets with Ryan averaging sub-80, Heta was given a decent enough test against Luke Woodhouse but came through in four with the better average than Wright. We know Damon's extremely dangerous and the projections reflect this, coming up at 40% against one of the big three - which the market wildly disagrees with. 0.25u Heta 13/5, 11/4 is available in one place but this price is more widely available, it wouldn't be any shock if Peter is taken out at this stage for the second straight year.

Searle/Noppert (Tuesday afternoon) - Potential match of the round between two players very closely seeded together, both in the top sixteen of year long scoring with Noppert being top ten. Ryan cruised against Borland who fell off a cliff in terms of quality after the nine in round one, Noppert got into a bit of a missed doubles fest against Jason Heaver but got over the line in the end. Ryan's a small favourite in the market which is understandable given how well he played at Minehead and given Danny's been a bit unconvincing in the first game, I see it as more flippy with Noppert taking this 4-5% more often than Searle does. Is 11/8 enough? I think so. 0.25u Noppert 11/8

de Sousa/Soutar (Wednesday afternoon) - Two players that needed deciding sets, de Sousa never really looked in trouble as long as Jason Lowe couldn't keep his red hot start going, while Soutar looked way off early against Suljovic before turning it around thanks to a bunch of missed darts from Mensur. Market has Jose in the low 70's, this is fine, maybe Jose should be a few ticks more of a favourite actually.

Aspinall/Rydz (Wednesday afternoon) - Nathan struggled to get over the line against Joe Murnan and survived a match dart which would have been a big shock, while Rydz has rolled off six straight sets, looking fantastic against Dolan in a match where both averaged over 100. Market still has Nathan as a favourite, but only just, being able to get 8/11. That equates to needing 58% to be break even, and I see the match at 64%, so this is kind of close to a punt on Nathan here, but I'll pass on doing so just given on how off he looked in the first round, and how comfortable Rydz has been looking.

van Gerwen/Dobey (Tuesday evening) - Michael needed four sets to dispose of Chas Barstow after giving one away, didn't look in top gear but he didn't need to be, while Dobey looked a little under par and was given a good test by Rusty Jake Rodriguez before getting over the line in the deciding set. Michael is the better player, but not by much, and this line is hugely under representing Chris' chances in this one. 0.25u Dobey 7/2, that indicates less than a one in four chance to win. I see over 40%, even after taking off a couple of points for added inconsistency.

Edit 28/12 17:55 - Michael's been forced out of the tournament as well. Fuck Boris.

Chisnall/Humphries (Wednesday afternoon) - Dave took down de Decker in straight sets with a solid performance, while Luke also won out 3-0 to dispose of Rowby John Rodriguez. The market has no way to separate them with both being slightly odds on, my model is actually saying Chisnall 60/40, but I think that's a false read based on consistency. Luke's got one of the best consistency scores in the world at under 1.5, while Dave is closer to six than five - I think that's enough to push the projection enough where I don't have confidence in a bet.

Anderson/White (Wednesday evening) - Gary eliminated Adrian Lewis in a forgettable game, White did the same to Chris Landman. Both players season long look extremely close statistically, it's the closest thing to 50/50 I've seen for a long time. So we'll take the dog, 0.25u White 7/4, combination of the market still loving Anderson for seemingly popularity reasons alone and continuing to underrate Ian (although he has at least been lacking results comparable to performances this year) makes this a play.

Cross/Gurney (Tuesday evening) - Rob didn't need to do a great deal after Barney fell apart after one set, Gurney also came through in four sets in a fun tie against Ricky Evans. Market is leaning Cross around 60/40, maybe that's underrating Daryl a bit, Cross has scoring about a point better but the construction of that is Daryl having comparable winning legs but more inconsistency - projection says Gurney up at 48%, so can certainly think about Daryl at 6/4. Will pass just about, given on Rob's upswing in form in the last quarter and given that consistency rating. Wouldn't discourage a bet here, I just don't think there's quite enough confidence to go with it.

So that's the lot, will update if there's anything weird going on and when we get some last 16 lineups and lines confirmed.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Worlds day 9 tips

May as well get the last of round 2 out of the way while I've got a little bit of time to work with.

Heta/Woodhouse rates to be a moderately easy tie for Damon, Luke's someone who I thought would lose in the first round but a combination of a better than expected display and Wilson underperforming saw him pull through, such is the level of Damon's game that this looks 75/25 - so a little bit more in favour of Heta than the market which places the line at 2/5. It's close to the edge I'd be looking for but isn't quite there.

Dolan/Rydz could be spectacular as two players just outside the top 16 in scoring for the season collide, Dolan slightly higher. Callan came through a trivial matchup against Yamada, didn't really need to get out of first gear to win that one. Market has Dolan shading this in a 55/45 sort of tie, that looks close enough to correct for me, maybe Callan's slightly closer but Dolan is the favourite.

Suljovic/Soutar is the exact same line with Mensur being the favourite, Alan getting in a spot of bother against Diogo Portela who was hitting some real nice legs in that one. Again, the line looks close to spot on, maybe Mensur is ever so slightly overvalued at 4/5 but he is the favourite - just.

de Sousa/Lowe closes the afternoon, Jose could probably wrap up a Premier League place with a couple of wins given Dimitri might have just played himself out of it, Lowe was an easy victor over a fairly poor Larsson, this is a huge step up in class and the market gives him no more than a 30% shot at this one. This feels like the first game where it's maybe not quite shaded enough in the favour of Jose, you can get 1/3 in a couple of places but he's nearer 1/4 for me. Again like the first one the edge isn't quite there, if you're an addict who must have a bet on every session then a Heta/de Sousa double won't exactly cost you.

Noppert/Heaver opens the evening session, Danny having lost most of his value over the last six months and comes in as more of an odds on favourite than either of Damon or Jose at 2/7. Jason took care of Mathers over the weekend in a bit of a grindy match and only took three legs in fifteen darts, that's not going to cut it against Noppert. I'll go with the bet given the odds on this one, 0.5u Noppert 2/7, we have a little bit more of a percentage edge than the other two, we've got 85% when we need 78% which given it's that short a price looks to be more than enough edge. Danny should really be 2/11 or 1/6.

Clemens/Williams sees Lewy return after dispatching another of the Japanese qualifiers relatively easily yesterday with a deceptively high average given just two of his nine won legs were in fifteen or fewer darts. Getting one in four visits and averaging 103 in the two legs he lost helps. Gabriel will be wanting to get this one done to give himself a good test against Clayton which might even be more formidable a task than he had last year despite him being seeded higher now, the market thinks he gets home just under 65% of the time, and that might be a little bit harsh on Williams. I see him as having slap bang in the middle of 40% and 45% to win it, which is close to making the 8/5 that Hills are offering worth it. Certainly wouldn't say Gabriel is acca safe in this one.

Cross/Barney is the clear tie of the round, Raymond looked very good in round one against Ilagan, and more importantly sounded happy and confident. Cross has hit form in the last few months, but looking at season long form, I can't separate the two players, it's a pure coin flip. The market doesn't agree, so I think this is a pretty easy play - 0.25u van Barneveld 6/4 is widely available and reflects a good 9% edge on projections.

Final round two game is Dobey and Rusty, Chris one of the best players this season in Pro Tour averages, Rusty also making a name for himself on both the Development Tour and the senior circuit, getting a surprisingly decent test from Ben Robb before advancing in three sets. Now the line is 75/25 Dobey, I don't know how much of that is the market catching up to quite how good Chris is playing, the market sleeping on Rusty, or both, I'd have expected it to be closer then we could play Dobey given I'm seeing 80/20. Wouldn't hate a Chris bet, I'm just a touch concerned about his TV performances this year where he managed to lose a game to O'Connor that he shouldn't have done, lose to Rusty's older brother in the Slam that cost him getting out of a group he really should have won with ease, and also exiting the Matchplay in round one. Probably one I look back and call myself stupid when Chris wins in straight sets.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Worlds day 8 tips

Nice to pin three bets, while all were odds on which will naturally favour hitting, it's always nice to steadily accumulate on favourites who are bigger favourites than what the market suggests. Couple of 3-0 results is fine, King nearly completely shat the bed, but god knows what happened to Joyce after he was up 2-0. I could have watched, I'm working from home so could easily have put the game on a different screen, but may be worth the rewatch. Let's go on to the penultimate day before Christmas.

Searle/Borland sees the nine dart hero come in as a significant underdog against the newest major finalist. While I loved what Willie did (we did back him after all), if anything he's actually overvalued in the market. It's not huge, Ryan should be 1/4 rather than 1/3, I see it as bang on 80/20. Not quite the edge to recommend a play given the marginal gains, but it appears acca safe.

Durrant/O'Connor has a pretty disturbing line of Glen being available at 5/1. I'm actually kind of tempted to suggest a micro play at that price, I'm chucking the projection out of the window given a combination of Durrant having an enormous inconsistency score combined with Willie coming into form at the back end of the year. I'm going to personally have a small punt for funking power, I honestly just hope this doesn't become an embarrassment, because Glen is better than that.

Humphries/Rowby should be fun. I'm fairly surprised by what the projection says - only 55/45 in Luke's favour. There is a fucking huge consistency issue here, Luke's score is down below one and a half (for newer readers, I take the losing average per turn away from the winning average per turn to try to get a read on consistency and/or players getting fucked over by running into good players) while Rowby's is up at over five and a half. 2/1 is a real tempter. But I won't be tempted.

Cullen/Williams closes the afternoon session. Line looks fine to me, would imagine that Jim is slightly more of a live dog than the line suggests, 9/4 or 5/2 might be closer to accurate than the 3/1 that's there, but it's not enough of an edge to really punt.

Aspinall/Murnan opens the evening session, and the one sided line looks OK. Murnan's early season form seems behind him, as does Nathan's on the other end of the spectrum, so while the model indicates 80/20, I think in reality it is a bit more favoured towards Aspinall than that, as such I'm going to ignore what seems like a moderately big price on Joe on paper.

van Duijvenbode/Koltsov is going to be a lot of fun, but it's not going to be fun to bet on. The betting model is chucking out Dirk to win this 84% of the time, so you may ask why aren't we piling on Dirk at 1/3, and that's a valid question. The point is that Boris looked very good in the first round and clearly is giving no fucks whatsoever having watches his match against Wattimena. A Boris that doesn't give a fuck is a dangerous Boris. So I can avoid.

Huybrechts/Beaton was clearly scheduled to put Fallon on in primetime but lol, and this is kind of like the previous game where I'm going to talk myself out of betting on the favourite. Kim based on the stats should win this around three times in four and he's 1/2. But there's a couple of things here. First, Kim's preparation has been fucked up on account of him being unable to enter France (lol schengen lol eu), secondly Steve looked much better against Fallon than he has done in a huge amount of time. These things matter. As such, I'll pass.

Finally we've got Whitlock/Kleermaker, and this just seems like a market where the line is correct. Martijn I see as having a 42% shot, and he's 6/4, there just isn't the margins there.

Monday 20 December 2021

Worlds day 7 tips

Oof that Wilson result, where he's lost in the past he's generally played well. Today was not one of those days. Rusty and Raymond looked fine, Wade and Kuivenhoven was generally a dumpster fire of a match for which the less is said about the better. Onto Tuesday now.

Williams/Shibata is incredibly awkward as I know next to nothing about the qualifier. Odds seem like they should be fine, so let's move on, we don't punt on games with this sort of line with limited or no data.

Lowe/Larsson is one that Jason should really win a lot more than the market suggests. 0.25u Lowe 4/11. The data that we have suggests that Lowe is more like an 85/15 favourite, if not more, I'm just going to take a really small punt given the odds as Jason's not really got the results this year so this one may be a bit of a struggle, but it looks decent enough to me.

King/Joyce I think is kind of close to a punt on Mervyn, heck, it's a punt on Mervyn, 0.25u King 8/13. This one's mostly 4/7 but this line's available in a couple of places. Joyce was a bit lucky to get through and Mervyn is playing at such a higher level that the projections I have rate for him to take it over 70% of the time. So we'll grab that line.

Chisnall/de Decker seems like a perfectly cromulent line. Dave is a bit shorter than 1/3, I see him as around the 2/7 range. It looks spot on. Mike didn't do anything hugely spectacular in the first round to make me think he's one way or another outside of his season long stats.

van der Voort/Hunt is another one where we can look to just quietly accumulate on the favourites, 0.25u van der Voort 2/5, we went against Adam in the first round and it didn't work out, but we're going to go for it again. The model suggests Vincent will take this over 85% of the time. So we fire again.

Smith/Meulenkamp is kind of mundane. Michael is correctly a big favourite. He's a little bit too much of a big favourite, but it's only one or two percentage points. No bet here.

I was thinking that van den Bergh against Hempel would be something where we could go for some sort of hero yolo bet on Florian, but oddly enough it isn't. 3/1 is on the table, so we need 25%, and I only see 29%. That's really not enough for me to recommend a play - if you liked what you saw the other day against Schindler, I won't hate the play, but that game really disappointed in terms of quality, which isn't what you want to see against someone of Dimitri's calibre.

Finally Peterson against Smith. The market has it evens. It's a horrible spot, I was hoping that they would still favour Devon rather than Raymond, then maybe we could make some sort of combination Petersen playing bad, Raymond looking good in the first round shot. But we can't. If anything, I think it may be an overadjustment and we see Raymond regress to the mean, Devon play up as he has done historically all the time on stage and it's a play on Petersen. Fortunately we're not at gunpoint so we can avoid the whole clusterfuck.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Worlds day 6 tips

Christ, Smudger made that hard. Sherrock fucked it up, so we're basically break even on the day. Elsewhere, Ky Smith was kind of what we thought he'd be, Heaver/Mathers was kind of how we thought it'd go, Portela gave Soutar a much better game than anticipated, Michael flashed against Kleermaker but was generally outplayed, Schindler and Hempel looked generally good looking at the game in real time but the statistics weren't great, while Clayton/Barry was probably the best game of the tournament so far. There is actually only an evening session on Monday, so this should be quick.

Woodhouse/Wilson is probably one of the easier games to call, and a much easier one to bet. 0.25u Wilson 7/5 is available on Unibet and slightly shorter prices are easily available elsewhere. James is playing the better darts all season, this is quite a trivial punt. It's that far in favour that the only question is whether I should contemplate half a unit. If there's Wilson injury news I've not seen then ignore, but this looks way off from everyone.

Rodriguez/Robb is a bit trickier given we don't have a great understanding on where Ben's game is at, my gut says that Rusty will likely have been the way to play this one given the market is with Robb as a 2/1 underdog. I'll pass.

Barney/Ilagan is kind of similar except the market is closer to 75/25, again I think I can ignore. The line just feels right enough, in retrospect this may be one where going on Raymond seems obvious, but I'll pass again.

Wade/Kuivenhoven is the last match, Maik basically did nothing other than play competently and get his job done, not entirely sure how he managed to lose a set but it is what it is, as it's round two we have a great deal of data and the line looks close to perfect, I'm seeing Maik has having a touch under a 25% chance, he is 3/1. We can avoid this one.

That's the lot. we should be very close to finishing off round one now so that will give us a lot more data for most future analyses.

Worlds day 5 tips

Matches are coming thick and fast, quick review of yesterday, Hughes I don't think was particularly disappointing, Smith was just a fair bit better than expected, Rydz/Yamada went as we thought, Darius hit the nine then kind of fell apart, White was comfortable enough, Krcmar continues to struggle when it matters, Williams didn't play great but did enough to beat Evetts who didn't play either, Rowby looked nice enough but didn't really need to do much against a struggling Kenny, while van Gerwen will be happy to get that one over the line, it only really being one dodgy leg where he missed seven at double affecting the scoreline.

Kuivenhoven/Smith up first, now if we know KY is able to play anywhere near as well as his dad did yesterday it's a trivial lay of Kuivenhoven, and Maik is not at the level where we can ever think about considering a bet, a sub-90 scoring player shouldn't be 1/4 generally speaking.

Heaver/Mathers is going to be an interesting one, Jason's actually priced just shy of a 60/40 favourite, as they're both tour card holders we have data and it actually favours Gordon ever so slightly. Factor in additionally that Gordon has been here before and Jason hasn't, that should counteract Mathers having slightly more inconsistency in the game that gives Heaver better overall scoring. It's also a bit of a free hit for Mathers, given he is in as the second alternate. There is plenty of vig in the market though, and only one or two places are offering 13/10, most are 5/4 or worse 6/5 which I don't think offers sufficient value. It's one where I should just consider going a tenth of a unit, but I'll pass.

Soutar/Portela looks to be priced alright. We don't have a huge amount of data on Portela, but we know enough about Alan that 1/5 doesn't feel like it would be that much of a misprice either way.

Bunting/Smith is an intriguing one, Ross didn't look amazing in his opening game but did enough to get home which is the important thing, this is a pretty important game and the sort he needs to be winning to start really climbing up the rankings. He actually comes in at odds against, which seems weird as he is scoring more than Bunting this season (albeit with a touch more inconsistency) that projects him to be 60/40. We'll go with this - 0.25u Smith 11/10

Kleermaker/Michael will see Martijn finally make his debut here, and he's priced up as about a 70/30 favourite against Michael who's been here a few times without really making an impact. Kleermaker is scoring significantly higher than John that he should be a favourite, but the model is actually projecting Michael to be a bit closer than the line suggests as a 60/40 dog. I would point to Michael's huge inconsistency rating, but Kleermaker is also inconsistent. I'm going to pass as I just don't believe John has the game to be able to play his best stuff for long enough to claim the three sets required, or that Kleermaker will gift Michael enough legs to get home that way either. Could be proven very wrong.

Hempel/Schindler is the pick of the round and the bookies have it close to even. It actually feels about right, Martin is playing the better stuff but not by that much, Hempel ought to win this closer to 45% of the time than 40%, so Schindler being 8/11 looks extremely reasonable.

Beaton/Sherrock is all going to be about which Fallon turns up. If it's the stage Fallon she wins easily. If it's the floor Fallon, she loses easily. As the game is on stage, 0.25u Sherrock 17/20, we also have the unknown that Steve, while having seen pretty much everything in his career, will rarely if ever have been in the sort of situation where the crowd will be heavily against him (at least I expect that to be the case). Beaton will likely just ignore and play, but you never know.

Clayton/Barry is likely going to be a fairly one sided affair unless Keane can produce his A-game throughout, coupled with Clayton not showing up, which seems unlikely given Jonny rarely if ever these days produces a truly bad performance. I see 84/16, so no value at all.

That's the lot, hopefully we don't end up having missed on Mathers and Michael underdog punts.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Worlds day 4 tips

Borland you fucking beauty!

I was thinking that in situations like I highlighted yesterday where I'm thinking there's a small edge on Lennon, but not enough to recommend a standard play, why don't I just recommend a smaller play? I mean this is standard Kelly criterion stuff, so this'll be something I'll probably look to do more in 2022. Smaller potential winnings, but due to the lower edge, lower risk at the same time. Yesterday, pretty happy with how Ross played, also happy with how Lam played, he got a bit too far behind but completely lost his mind on finishing in the final set. Wattimena was incredibly disappointing but Koltsov looked good, Joyce/Benecky was surprisingly competitive, similarly with Murnan/Lim albeit because both players didn't look great, while Wright looked pretty comfortable.

Another eight games today, first up is Hughes/Smith. We really don't know where Raymond is at, but I think it's fairly reasonable to think he's a few steps behind Hughes despite Jamie's relatively poor couple of years, so to see the market pricing it up at around 70/30 doesn't seem unreasonable.

Rydz/Yamada is the same situation, and if anything the calculation is worse, Callan is stupid to one on, we can safely ignore this one.

Labanauskas/de Decker is one that we've got decent data on, and on a first glance maybe it's a little bit off, de Decker at 2/1 is possibly a touch long as I'm looking at around a 38% chance, but I think I will pass on it given that Darius looked pretty good last time out at Minehead and Mike didn't look overly convincing in the tour card holder qualifier (and flat out bad at the Grand Slam).

White/Landman is one where I think we just need to look at what Chris did in the first round and make a call, and I think this was one where we can avoid taking a punt. Landman only won three legs in fifteen darts and it was more a game that Scott gave away, and against someone of White's quality, assuming Ian doesn't shit the bed, isn't going to cut it, so a line approaching 75/25 looks alright to be honest.

Hunt/Krcmar is close to a flip, I have no idea why unless someone's just looked at Krcmar's relatively pedestrian performances at the Grand Slam and his absence from the PC Finals. Adam's likely regressed since 2020 and Boris is hugely underrated, at least in the market. 0.25u Krcmar 5/6, would quite happily bet in as far as 8/13 or there abouts, that price is only there on Betway but 4/5 is widely available. Even tempted to make this half a unit.

Evetts/Williams is another one that's relatively closely priced with Jim a small favourite, which seems a little bit off again. We don't have a huge amount of data on Jim at around 120 legs of which over half will count towards the projection, but that data does scream out 70/30 in favour of Jim. Ted is just consistently not as good, if he plays as well as he did very sporadically in claiming the world youth then maybe the line is closer to correct, but this looks like another solid play. 0.25u Williams 4/5

Rodriguez/Kenny is incredibly close to a bet on Rowby. The projections I've got say this is bang in the middle of 70/30 and 75/25, and 8/13 is available, again just on Betway with 4/7 widely available. Nick's the little bit more consistent but that doesn't make up for it. You know what, this is worth the shot, 0.25u Rodriguez 8/13, we've got around a 10% difference so let's go with it.

van Gerwen/Barstow looks to be relatively fairly priced despite Chas seeming extremely competent in his opening round game. Maybe it should be 7/1 rather than 9/1, but it's definitely not worth the play on Barstow. Michael should ease through this one.

That's it for today, back later for tomorrow, all the matches are now set so can do this whenever really.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Worlds day 3 tips

1-1 for level pegging, boy was Lewis disappointing tonight. Think Gary played a bit better than expected, but he was able to get three separate seven visit holds of throw, which is less than ideal. Elsewhere, Lennon's game was a bit up and down but he got home, Mitchell was really disappointing, Barstow looked extremely competent, Gurney also looked solid (as did Evans, not a bad game that one), O'Connor/Lauby was a nailbiter, Schmutzler didn't really show up, and Lisa Ashton was extremely below par giving Meulenkamp what Mardle would call a breeze in the park.

Let's go to eight games for tomorrow. Benecky is an enormous dog against Joyce in the market, I think giving everything that we know about both players it's kind of warranted, he's under 80 on the Development Tour, while that's naturally going to be deflated somewhat on account of the standard, I can't look at that price and think it's in any way worth the punt, I'd have been more interested in Kumar on the opening night.

Barry/Lam is next up and Keane is quite a big favourite, somewhat more than what I expected given Keane's level of play. While this could very easily go wrong on account of us not having a brilliant idea on where Royden's game is at, I think it is worth a tiny punt, 0.1u Lam 3/1, there's a little bit longer available on some obscure bookie but I'll just stick with the orthodox markets. Keane's going to be a fantastic player but I'm not sure he's quite at the level yet where we can just put him at this price and say it's fine.

Wattimena/Koltsov I think is actually fairly close to a play on Jermaine - we're getting 4/9, and the model says this is 75/25. With Boris having a really quite poor Pro Tour season (Jermaine's wasn't much better to be fair), and having previous course and distance for both not showing up in games and for blowing completely won positions, I am extremely tempted. I might wait and see if there is any line movement. If it moves to 1/2 or 8/15, I'll likely jump on it, but I will not recommend a play at this stage.

Ratajski/Lennon will be an interesting one given Steve looked maybe a bit worse than his season long performance today, he had a couple of good legs but brought too many home in six or more visits, often as a result of Madars missing chances. I do think the market is sleeping on Steve a touch and 13/5 is a little unfair on season long stats, which would make this a pure one in three situation, but it's fairly easy to watch today's game and not be inspired, so it's fine. That isn't a price with big edge.

Murnan/Lim is a tough one to read. We really don't know how well Paul is playing. We can get 1/2 on Murnan - if we know Paul is going to play as well as he has done in his best games over the last few years, we can certainly rule out betting on Joe, but we don't know that. It really does not help that Joe's best performances of the year were frontloaded into the first few months. I really want to shoot on Murnan but I think there is enough uncertainty that I can pass on it.

Borland/Brooks is a fascinating one, we've got two tour card holders fighting it out and there is not a huge deal between them in the rankings, but there is a bit of a difference in where I see the projections, which gives William a big two in three chance of taking it. Now we've got to appreciate Bradley's playing a bit better than he has done over the last few months, but this is a big edge and we need to play it, 0.25u Borland 21/20

Smith/Smith has a lot of Smiths, Ross coming in at just shorter than 1/2 against Jeff. I don't have too much of a problem with that, and the big question is whether we should pile in on Ross, given that the projections have him as a much bigger favourite than that. He's had a great season and I'm seeing him close to 85% compared to the market being at around 70%. Respect Jeff's game a ton, but this line doesn't look right to me, so let's exploit. 0.5u R Smith 4/9

Wright/Meikle is the final game of the evening, and I was kind of wishing that Ryan hadn't done quite so much on TV that was impressive to stick him at only 6/1. Not so much tonight, more at Minehead, as otherwise he'd be a touch longer and I'd probably recommend a shot, the kid can play. It looks one in four, if you look back at how he played against van Duijvenbode you'll think that's not an entirely unreasonable assessment. Certainly don't take the 1/8 on Wright and assume it's a banker because this certainly is not that.

So three plays tomorrow. First time I've gone with a larger unit play for some time but my belief in Smudger is pure, so let's hope he comes home for us.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Worlds day 2 tips

Only watched the Edhouse/Hudson game before watching Arsenal, wasn't overly impressed although Pete was doing nicely on the maximums, looks like Ritchie improved a lot in the second game. Adrian was fine and Matt was very competent and maybe a touch unfortunate not to force the game further, meanwhile Ricky Evans looked a lot better than he has done of recent while Kumar appeared to have regressed somewhat. Onto day two and we'll see both of the other two round one winners from today in action, the full preview is still fresh in the memory so won't go into great detail.

But just as a quick diversion, Lakeside postponed. Fuck you Boris you twat.

Lennon/Razma - Not quite sure why this is priced as a flip. Steve is clearly the better player. 0.25u Lennon evs. This doesn't seem anywhere near as close, the model I'm using is thinking this is a two in three game. If Lennon has a random injury I don't know about but the bookies do then I get caught out but I'll take my chances.

Mitchell/Landman - Hard to judge where Landman is precisely at, we at least have Challenge Tour data, and it seems to indicate that Mitchell should be a solid favourite. A bit shorter than 1/2 for Scott feels right, Landman's competent but shouldn't really threaten much more often than that.

Barstow/Norman Jr - Oddschecker's being a bit derpy on this one, the main page is indicating that 8/13 was available on Chas, which I think would be well worth the punt, but click into see where is offering that and it seems like 1/2 with 8/15 in places is the best you can get. That still doesn't seem bad, although I won't be betting it, the question's on how Chas adapts to the huge stage.

Gurney/Evans - Line looks alright. Spot on in fact. We can get Ricky at 9/4, which after tonight's much improved display is something that I was wondering if it was worth contemplating, but he only barely rates to win 30%, so no.

O'Connor/Lauby - If it wasn't for Willie turning the volume up in the last couple of months, I'd likely be looking at Lauby at 2/1, but with him having picked up the form of late I'm not sure I can contemplate the bet, it would be marginal at best.

Meikle/Schmutzler - Another game that's similarly priced with Ryan as the favourite obviously, and I'm kind of half tempted to take a poke at Ryan at the 2/5 you can get on a few bookies. Fabian's really not produced statistically that I think he'll compare with Meikle, but is it that much of a difference that we can say he's winning a lot less than 29% of the time? Urgh, I don't know. Will just pass and enjoy.

Meulenkamp/Ashton - Ah, card holder fight, so we actually have data. I was expecting the data to spit out Meulenkamp as sick value at 2/5, but he's not good enough. In fact, the data is really thinking that Lisa would be the very small value play, but nowhere near any sort of puntable shot, market says she has more than 30%, I don't think she has a one in three shot, but it's more than what the market says. Yep, no value.

Anderson/Lewis - Gary is the favourite. I do not necessarily see why, Adrian actually projects on winning legs to take nearly 60% of the games, which is a lot down to consistency given that Anderson is scoring ever so slightly more than Lewis over the course of the year. Still, can't turn down the price we are offered. 0.25u Lewis 6/4

Worlds day 1 tips

Think that Hudson is being slightly undervalued. Edhouse at 1/4 against a tour card holder really only works against a select few, and while Pete isn't exactly the best player in the PDC, he's at least good enough to nick this just over one time in four. There's not quite the value to go the other way though.

If I had any sort of information on Kumar, I'd probably take a poke at 10/1, or maybe look at some of the handicaps. There's not too many people that should be that long against a Pro Tour qualifier, and he did look alright when he played Dolan a couple of years back. I just can't pull the trigger.

Lewis/Campbell is the closest game in the market, maybe it shouldn't be. Adie's rating to win over 80% and he's only 1/3. If it wasn't for the fact that I know Campbell is likely underrated in the modelling on account of maybe not needing to go full out in the events we've seen him, and that we know he can do much better than what he showed at the Slam, then I'd probably snap fire on Lewis, but I'll hold off on this one.

That just leaves Price against the winner of the first game. If we assume Edhouse advances, then I would have thought that a line of 1/7 would be a fair line. Will have to wait and see what the actual line is, but I can't see it being anywhere near as close as it would need to be to go for a Price bet, or it being so short on Gerwyn that we can consider Ritchie. If that changes, I'll tell you, otherwise check in later today for Thursday's tips, if any.

Oh yeah, to close off the preview, Price 6-3 van den Bergh, van Gerwen 6-3 de Sousa, van Gerwen 7-5 Price. I still believe he can win stuff.

Worlds quarter four

Right, let's get this done

Barstow/Norman - Chas has been a decent top up player on the Pro Tour after just missing out on a card last year, and is clearly a capable player scoring in the 88 range, the concern is most of his good scores were before the Matchplay and that he's potentially being thrown into a situation that he's not been in previously. The counterexample is Norman, who's at least played in the World Cup previously, he's here through finishing high enough in the CDC Canada rankings. Looking at DartConnect, it seemed like he averaged alright? This is super hard to call, but I'm going to go with the domestic player for no real logical reason other than he's got more match practice at a higher level. Barstow 3-2

van Gerwen/Barstow - Michael is scoring the best of anyone in the world, which might surprise you considering the comparative fuck all he's done in terms of results all year. Cannot seeing this being a problem at all. van Gerwen 3-0

Rodriguez/Robb - Rusty has been a revelation this year, crushing the EU Development Tour and making several deep incursions onto the Pro Tour having barely missed out on getting a tour card back in the day, much like Barstow. Scoring is just over 90 like his elder brother in the same part of the draw, real dangerous for someone TV crowds outside of the people watching the Slam will know. Ben kind of got gifted a spot because lol bubonic plague not allowing a proper New Zealand qualifier. We've seen him before in the 2019 World Series where he turned over Whitlock and looked good against Cross, but he also got blown out by Meulenkamp a couple of years back on this stage. Got to favour Rusty here. Rodriguez 3-1

Dobey/Rodriguez - This one is going to be a lot of fun. Chris has been on the borderline of hitting the top 32 solidly and hitting all majors for what seems like forever, he finally binked a Pro Tour to get that monkey off his back, but the key thing is his scoring. It's sixth in the world. Numbers don't lie. Dobey 3-1

Labanauskas/de Decker - Darius was able to put up enough money in the relevant time to make the Grand Prix but not the Matchplay, which is kind of the borderline level you would expect to creep into majors. His level of play (mid 90) is decent, and he's going to be a dangerous opponent for whoever. de Decker is in as an alternate, he seemed a bit disappointing at the Slam and hasn't really been able to progress beyond the "get to board finals, occasionally win them" stage, and is scoring roughly a couple of points behind Darius. The Lithuanian seems too strong here. Labanauskas 3-1

Chisnall/Labanauskas - Dave hasn't really made quite as much of his amazing win from last year as you might expect, getting through a couple of rounds of the Grand Prix and doing alright in the UK Open, but not getting to a single Pro Tour final. You'd expect him to do that. It's been quiet. He's been scoring heavily enough that I'd expect him to take Darius out, but not without a fight. Chisnall 3-2

Rodriguez/Kenny - Rowby's had a decent year getting a lot of callups from the reserve list, not really breaking through deep into any events, but steadily picking up one or two wins in quite a lot of the Pro Tours, also getting out of his Grand Slam group which helps him move up the FRH rankings solidly. Scoring's above 90, still a little bit inconsistent, but it at least is working for consistent results. Kenny's won through the PDPA qualifier again, he got one board win this season and a couple of board finals earlier in the year but it's mostly been a dry 2021 for Nick, who's scoring three points lower than Rowby which I think will give us an inevitable result. Rodriguez 3-1

Humphries/Rodriguez - Luke's pushing up towards the top 16 in both the FRH rankings and order of merit, and is certainly putting up statistics in that sort of region. UK Open was clearly the highlight, but three Pro Tour finals is possibly more important as he looks to get a first senior bink. Luke ought to be that little bit too good for Rowby, who I think is a live underdog in this one, wouldn't shock me to see the Austrian hit a few good legs and maybe get very close, then again it wouldn't shock me to see Luke just shut him out. Humphries 3-1

Lewis/Campbell - Adie is showing some occasional good darts, he is still playing at a top 32 level statistically, and can still play well enough to reach a Pro Tour final a couple of months back, but isn't quite accumulating enough to reach the majors, which has seen him slide outside of the top 32 which is a real shock for the twice world champ. There are signs he might be getting things together, and Matt will be a good test - the Canadian's claimed three Challenge Tour titles, but the scoring he's actually produced deep into them, as well as the Grand Slam, has been a bit pedestrian, but we have seen him hit high enough heights that Lewis might be in trouble. I think he scrapes through but not without a fight. Lewis 3-2

Anderson/Lewis - What a round two match this could be. Anderson is actually less than half a point ahead of Lewis in the scoring rates, with a greater deal of consistency, but since reaching last year's world final he's not done anything spectacular results-wise, so despite the ranking difference, this could end up being extremely close and hard to pick a winner. Oddly I fancy Adrian to pull his game together and squeeze through to give us probably the biggest seeding upset in the early stages. Lewis 3-2

Mitchell/Landman - Scott claimed his tour card outright on the final day and has had a very respectable first season on the Pro Tour, reaching four quarter finals with some more board wins behind that, scoring deceptively highly at just a few hundredths under 91, and getting a useful big tournament win over Kleermaker at Minehead, although the less said about the second round the better. Chris won the ever tough West Europe qualifier, averaging generally in the mid 80's to low 90's and sweeping both Klaasen and Kist in the process, generally a little bit higher than his Challenge Tour averaging. He did reach the quarters of the last BDO worlds so knows somewhat what he's doing on this sort of stage, but Scott should be strong enough. Mitchell 3-1

White/Mitchell - This isn't a bad draw for Scott. Ian is still playing at a high level, scoring over 92 per turn, he has just not been able to manufacture enough results compared to what he did a couple of years back, and all that Euro Tour success dropping off the rankings has seen him slide to the high 20's in most ranking systems. He'd normally be good to bink a Pro Tour each year, but he has just two semi finals. Scott definitely has chances here, I think that Ian will just about edge it though. White 3-2

van Barneveld/Ilagan - Barney binked a Pro Tour early in the season once back on tour, but is a bit lacking in results after that, not even cashing the UK Open, just getting a couple of Pro Tour quarter finals after that, looking OK in the Slam but not getting out of his group, then similarly looking OK at Minehead but being second best to van Gerwen. Ilagan is someone we know who's generally competent and can threaten a lot of players, but this is an awkward draw and we don't really know where he's at outside of a fairly one sided game at the World Cup. van Barneveld 3-0

Cross/van Barneveld - Incredibly good first round game here, another one in this quarter of the draw. Cross maintains a higher scoring rate than Barney by nearly a point, and with his European Championship win, along with claiming another Pro Tour afterwards, rumours of Cross' demise are very much exaggerated. Going to be a tough one to call, I think with Rob's form picking up in the second half of the season he should be slightly favoured, but any result could happen in this one. Cross 3-2

Evans/Kumar - Ricky has had some struggles this season it's fair to say, but he's picked up enough money here and there to get into the event right in the middle of the pack of Pro Tour qualifiers and isn't actually scoring that badly across the course of the season, ending just shy of 89. That should be enough to handle Kumar, who's back for a third go here and looked a bit improved two years ago, but that was a long time ago and it's going to be hard to gauge his standard. With Ricky being so hit and miss, accurately calling this game will be a nightmare, I think Nitin will finally get a set here. Evans 3-1

Gurney/Evans - Daryl is hanging around in the top 32 and his scoring is right there, while he's lacked outstanding performances outside of a decent Minehead run, he's probably playing better than any time since he was just out of the Premier League. Steady play ought to handle Ricky easily enough. Gurney 3-0

van Gerwen/Dobey - This is going to be the test. Chris absolutely has the quality to win this one, but it's going to be hard to call against one of the best players in the world. Think a lot of observers will be thinking the same now that Dobey has won a Pro Tour, but they might not be looking at the numbers to realise quite how much of a chance he has. Michael should have just enough to get home, but this is probably the biggest banana skin he'll face in the quarter. van Gerwen 4-3

Chisnall/Humphries - There's not too much to separate these two, both have had a fair bit of success at this event, and this'll be an important one for both players. May well be a tight one, I'm going to favour Luke here given the generally better stats and given his game is in the ascendancy, compared to Chizzy stagnating a touch since last year. Humphries 4-2

Lewis/White - All-Stokie matchup, you love to see it. Yet another game which looks to be fairly close, what I will do is say that in the event we get this match up, Lewis will be brimming with confidence, whereas White might just be a little bit relieved to get through what ought to be a tricky first tie. A confident Adie is a winning Adie. Lewis 4-2

Cross/Gurney - I don't think this is completely cut and dried, but I'm struggling to see how Gurney is going to be able to score heavily enough to keep pace with Rob given that he has regained some of his best form that's seen him previously go all the way. Maybe Daryl will start to regain his best form and prove us wrong, but I'm going to take Voltage in this one. Cross 4-1

van Gerwen/Humphries - Will likely be an easier game for van Gerwen, there's a lot of similarities between Luke and Chris from the round before but while Humphries is very good statistically, Dobey's a little bit better. Again, another one where Luke can take it and it wouldn't surprise me, but I think van Gerwen is going to do enough. van Gerwen 4-2

Lewis/Cross - Adie's run will come to an end here, Rob is playing the superior darts at this point in time and while Lewis can certainly produce enough to contend, Cross ought to come through. Cross 4-2

van Gerwen/Cross - This ought to be a fun rematch from the year where Rob binked it all, and I think that's going to motivate van Gerwen to put together his best performance of the year. While I've been saying that Rob has been playing excellent stuff, there is a sizeable difference between the two players statistically which ought to demonstrate itself. van Gerwen 5-2

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Worlds quarter three

Wouldn't change my assessment of Q1 given that Wen is out and Hudson is in, much as I like Pete given I used to work in his home town, he's scoring over 85 and Edhouse should still be an easy winner.

Meikle/Schmutzler - Huge game for Meikle, who's going to need to win this to retain his card in all reality, he did look good at the PC Finals and is scoring a deceptively decent high 89 scoring rate, the concerns are bringing his game to the stage and turning it into results, as he seems like the sort of player that shows up on the averages quite a lot but rarely in the prize money. Especially later in the year. Fabian's a great story but my concern is that he's not needed to put up huge numbers in order to do what he did on the EU Development Tour with scoring down at 81 over nearly 100 legs, and also what he will do on a big stage, given he has basically zero experience in that setting. Meikle 3-1

Wright/Meikle - Peter's had a great year, claiming the Matchplay and the Players Championship as well as going deep into the Slam, scoring is a bit off the top two but he's still third although in a cluster of players at the 94 mark. He should take this reliably enough, I do think he drops a set as Ryan is very competent, but Meikle taking the actual match seems unrealistic. Wright 3-1

Woodhouse/Wilson - Luke has been under the radar in terms of results, plodding along at 89 in the scoring, he does have a couple of quarter finals to his name and some board wins, but he's the sort of player that in order to progress he needs to go deep in a Pro Tour to get chances to qualify for majors, and he's not doing that. Wilson is back after a year away and needed the PDPA qualifier to make it, his card is probably gone but he's actually been playing really well - scoring nearly 92 which is enough to be in the top 32 in my rankings, he's simply not been able to convert into results, which is baffling from someone who was seeded not too long ago. Probably ends up being tense but I'll go with the numbers. Wilson 3-2

Heta/Wilson - Surprisingly awkward draw here, Damon's the #31 seed but his level of play is a lot better than that, Damon's already forced his way into the top 25 of the FRH rankings, and sits comfortably in the top 16 of the scoring tables. Heta's a quality operator and will surely improve over a disappointing defeat to Danny Baggish from last season. Heta 3-1

Borland/Brooks - William is up close to the FRH top 50 and has done enough to retain his card, his scoring isn't spectacular with a mid-88 mark, but it's been enough to get him both here, the PC Finals where he was maybe a bit unfortunate against Smith, as well as grabbing a win over Whitlock at the European Championship. Bradley is scoring a couple of points lower, the former world youth champion still waiting to make a real mark on the Pro Tour circuit but he did look good on TV to get out of his group at the Slam and then ask some questions of Price in a bit of a scrappy game. Seems an awkward one to call but I think Bradley just falls short. Borland 3-2

Searle/Borland - Ryan's escalation to top 16 quality talent (just waiting for the OOM to catch up) and major finalist has been remarkable, ending up 24 points shy of the Players Championship, binking another Pro Tour and finalling three more, he has all the momentum on his side and I really don't see how he loses a set in this one. Searle 3-0

Heaver/Mathers - Jason is a new tour card holder who I've not seen too much talk about, but the numbers seem legitimate enough with a high 88, which translated into five board wins, one of which was converted into a semi final. Can't complain about the first season really. Mathers is in as a late alternate, he is scoring less than a point below Jason, obviously playing well enough to get to the PDPA qualifier final, and has the benefit of stage experience here having pushed Asada close a few years ago. I think that might make the difference in a tight scrappy game. Mathers 3-2

Noppert/Mathers - Danny however is different gravy, still somewhat underrated and still in my betting circle of trust despite back to back decent major runs in October, which resulted in a lot of the value disappearing. Scoring for the season is actually in the top ten, that's how good he has been playing, and I think the final score will reflect that. Noppert 3-0

Lowe/Larsson - Urgh, this one might not be too pretty. Lowe got in as the last man in the field, and was in doubt until Jeff Smith got one of the CDC spots to free up an additional Pro Tour berth. He's still actually scoring over 90, but isn't being talked about anywhere near as much as last year given his real lack of results, although a couple of quarter finals on the Pro Tour early in the season isn't too bad. Daniel got a Nordic/Baltic spot, but was hugely lacking in Pro Tour results, only winning 500 quid (although if I remember correctly he did miss quite a few events). Scoring five points below Jason isn't a great look, maybe he wins a set in a sluggish game, but Jason should take this one. Lowe 3-1

de Sousa/Lowe - Jose is scoring in that cluster on 94 along with the likes of Wright and Clayton, play levels that bagged him three Pro Tour titles, as well as notably the Premier League final, he didn't make a massive impact in the ranking majors, just reaching a couple of quarter finals, but considering where he was eighteen months ago, that can't be too much of a complaint. Will be too strong here. de Sousa 3-0

Soutar/Portela - Alan has had a fantastic first season on the Pro Tour, putting in a heck of a lot of great perforances especially early on, mostly noted at the UK Open where he turned over Barney and Bunting. Scoring over 92, he's on the first page, multiple quarter final runs on the Pro Tour seems a fair assessment. Diogo won the South American qualifier again, but has failed to make a real impact on the Challenge Tour with just 200 quid won and an orthodox average of 81, fair to say he's not made the progress he'd have liked in 2021. Should be no trouble for Alan here. Soutar 3-0

Suljovic/Soutar - Could be a good competitive game here. Mensur was looking like he was on a terminal slide down the rankings and not getting the results, missing some events as well, but pulled some back with a good European Championship run as well as winning his Grand Slam group following the World Cup final appearance. Scoring is fairly close but Suljovic is behind Alan, down by about a point or so. Ought to be a tight one, but I'm going to opt for the Austrian to not get home as we lose another seed. Soutar 3-2

Murnan/Lim - Joe was making some waves early in the season, looking extremely strong when he won back his card at Q-School, although he wasn't able to turn it into concrete Pro Tour results. Two Euro Tour qualifications and getting to the seeds did help and got him here with a grand to spare, but he did miss a good chance to advance at the big Euro event by losing to Adam Gawlas. Paul Lim is who we know he is, question as always is how much competitive match practice he's been able to get. The World Cup wasn't a great sign, only just scraping past Gibraltar then averaging 75 against MvG. Think Paul finds a way to make it close before losing. Murnan 3-2

Aspinall/Murnan - Nathan is looking a lot better in recent months after a moderately quiet first half of the season after back to back Pro Tour semis to start the year. Good runs in the Matchplay and European Championship were the highlights, and he can still count himself very much in the elite tier of players and ought to have too much to handle Joe. Early season Joe could have made it interesting, but while I think he might claim a set right now, he's not realistically going to win. Aspinall 3-1

Rydz/Yamada - Callan has smashed through onto the senior scene in 2021 after looking threatening for a good couple of years, winning two Pro Tours and having a nice run at the Matchplay, taking advantage of a good draw against Durrant before defeating Rob Cross - he's now inside the top 30 of the FRH rankings and rapidly approaching the top 32 in the official order of merit, which he should easily be inside with a win here. Yamada is back after a year's absence, last time round he beat Meikle before being swept by Webster in 2020, winning just the one leg in the process. Rydz now seems stronger than Webster did then, and it's natural to think Yuki will be weaker now than he was then. Rydz 3-0

Dolan/Rydz - This one's going to be fascinating. Callan is maybe the name to avoid from the Pro Tour list, while Dolan is one of the more under the radar seeds who I'd punted on each way much earlier in the year, although much of that under the radar ability was lost after the PC Finals where he reached the semis and dumped Price out in the process. The scoring seems extremely balanced, both are 92 with Dolan about half a point higher. I think that, along with the extra experience Brendan has, might just be enough to squeeze home, but it is going to be a razor-thin game to call regardless. Dolan 3-2

Wright/Heta - It really wouldn't surprise me if Damon was to take this one. As noted above, he's playing extremely well, and it's the same stage where last year Wright fell out to Clemens, another player who we know is good and is not just in the seeds to make up the numbers. With Wright's form turning up in the last month, I think that might just about be the difference, but this is going to be real close. Wright 4-3

Searle/Noppert - This has the potential to be an instant classic. Both are well deserving of their places in the top 20 of the order of merit, and it's a real shame that they run into each other this early as either could go on a nice deep run. Noppert has the slightly better scoring but Searle is coming off the best run of his career and better results throughout the year. Ryan to pinch it. Searle 4-3

de Sousa/Soutar - Think that Alan's run will grind to a halt here. Soutar is a quality operator, but de Sousa is that much better and is due a good run at the worlds after being somewhat disappointing in the last couple of years, the huge amount of additional TV experience he'll have accumulated in the last twelve months may be somewhat telling. de Sousa 4-2

Aspinall/Dolan - Nathan and Brendan is going to be yet another that's incredibly tight to call. Both players are hitting results at the right time of year, both players are separated by less than half a point in the scoring. Aspinall has had deep runs here and clearly likes the venue, while barring a quarter final run three years ago (where, ironically, he eventually lost to Aspinall - heavily), Brendan hasn't got too many great performances at the worlds under his belt. Will lean towards the seedings and the numbers. Aspinall 4-2

Wright/Searle - We get a repeat of the last major final, which anyone who was watching will know went the distance. This one could easily be the same, could easily go either way, I wouldn't like to call it. I also wouldn't be surprised if neither of these players get here, it's such a stacked eighth of the draw. I'm just going to lean ever so slightly with the numbers and maybe the psychology of Searle being close to getting deeper than he has before/having lost a big one to the same opponent. Wright 4-3

de Sousa/Aspinall - And here we get a repeat of the Premier League semi final, that being the one where de Sousa hit the three D20 out. That one went all 19 legs, but I'm thinking this one might not be quite so tight. Jose did get the win there and seems to have a bit more in all aspects of the game, which should be enough to get through, but not before Nathan claims a couple of sets. de Sousa 4-2

Wright/de Sousa - The top two seeds would then clash in the quarter final. Seasonal scoring is 94.63 to 94.54 - less than a tenth of a point between them. Take your pick. I will opt with the seeding upset in this one, if only because of the previous games and how I think they might go - we've already seen Peter once tire over the combination of long games, and with me thinking that Jose will have the slightly easier path and matches, he might have a bit more left in the tank by the time we reach the quarter final stage. de Sousa 5-3

Monday 13 December 2021

Worlds quarter two

Kuivenhoven/Smith - Maik's not done too badly this year, reaching a Pro Tour semi, qualifying for this and the PC finals, and getting into the FRH top 50, scoring over 89 per turn is respectable enough. Smith won the Oceanic Masters to get here, but has minimal useful results on the DPA tour, with seemingly just the one final, and outside of the final of the tourney he won, he was averaging at best in the mid 80's, lower in the early rounds. The final was solid enough, and we've seen the Aussie qualifiers appear generally competent before, so with Maik not being the highest level of Pro Tour player he could have got, I think he nicks a set, but that's it. Kuivenhoven 3-1

Wade/Kuivenhoven - James is a different level though, with a major win to his name and looking real good to return to the Premier League on merit, he should be able to handle anything Maik can throw at him, scoring as he does three points per turn more. Seems similar to the first rounder, the underdog will probably have enough to take a set, but James being forced into a deciding set or worse seems like a long shot. Wade 3-1

Hunt/Krcmar - Adam was a bit disappointing this year after a good 2020, only just creeping into the field as one of the last couple of players and scoring down closer to 87 than 88, fortunately making the European Championship but seemingly not winning a board at all on tour all year. Krcmar on the other hand is scoring a clear two points higher, and has had some brutal draws throughout the year, but got through the PDPA qualifier to save his card, playing some great stuff along the way. Krcmar 3-1

van der Voort/Krcmar - Vincent's season has been ok, scoring just under 91, having a good run recently at Minehead, and being a regular board winner on tour despite never really being in the discussion of someone you'd pick to win one. Would think he'll be OK, especially if Boris underperforms like he did in the Slam, but it'll be a close one. van der Voort 3-2

Evetts/Williams - Kind of a little surprised to see Ted make it in through the Pro Tour (although he obviously had the world youth as a backup), until I remember he had a good run in Gib that counted for 3k to make up for spotty floor form with far too many first round exits. Scoring of below 88 is towards the wrong end of the Pro Tour qualifiers, and well below Jim, who's in the 90's albeit on fairly limited Challenge Tour and Grand Slam sampling (I don't think he got in any Pro Tours?), so I think this is another spot where the Pro Tour qualifier may be in trouble. Williams 3-2

Cullen/Williams - Joe is hanging around the top 16 and shows now and again that he has the game which might be capable of winning a big one, but he just can't quite put it together for enough games to really make it happen. Scoring is up just a shade under 93, can't complain about that, he has a couple of Pro Tour binks this season which he can't complain about, so he should get through, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim's experience in worlds, albeit the other side, may cause this one to be dragged out a fair bit. Cullen 3-2

Kleermaker/Michael - Martijn's here after being fucked over last year, with more than a solid season to end in the top 8 of the Pro Tour qualifiers, make the Grand Prix as well as a Pro Tour final, results are maybe a bit better than actual performance given he's only scoring a high-88 over the season. He can't complain about getting Michael in the draw, John finished outside the top 100 on the Pro Tour order of merit, is scoring a good couple of points lower, and had a whole stack of first round exits - around two thirds of his winnings came from one quarter final and edging out Beaton in Hungary. John can put together some good legs, so may nick a set, but I think it's more likely Kleermaker makes up for lost time and sweeps. Kleermaker 3-0

Whitlock/Kleermaker - After a good 2020 on TV, Whitlock's really slid down the rankings, he did make the Euros having made a run to the semis in Gib, but missed all the other big majors and just got to the "easy" ones, so given what he's defending this could easily be the last time he's seeded unless he makes up for lost time in 2022. Simon's averaging bang on 90 this season, so I think he just has enough quality to get by, but Martijn will definitely put the pressure on and force this all the way. Whitlock 3-2

Hempel/Schindler - Bastard draw for both. Hempel, after missing a few of the earlier events, made up for lost time by making both Euro Tours then getting a win over Peter Wright in the big event, and already has a Pro Tour semi in the bank and scoring closer to 92 than 91, enough to put him in the top 32 out of people with a good sample. It's a pity for German darts he's drawn Schindler, who after signs of good play in 2020 without results, is playing even better with results in 2021, and would have been near the top of the Pro Tour rankings if he hadn't won the German Superleague - where he beat Florian in the final. Martin has more stage experience and is playing better so ought to come through, but Hempel will put up a good fight. Schindler 3-1

van den Bergh/Schindler - Dimitri will not like being guaranteed either of these. The Belgian is in the top 10 in the world in scoring, got two Pro Tour binks and had another huge Matchplay run. It really wouldn't surprise me if he lost whoever comes through, but I think more often than not he'll come through - but not before a very tough match. van den Bergh 3-2

Hughes/Smith - Jamie is out of the seeds and not quite as high up in the Pro Tour as he was when he was a Euro Tour winner, sliding down to 40th in the FRH rankings (and he would needed to have won a game at Minehead so we can't blame bullshit withdrawals for that one). He has a couple of Pro Tour semis but has far too many first round exits or one and done runs for a player of his quality, at least for his quality from two years ago, he's down at close on 89 per turn now. Raymond won the DPA qualifier and we saw him here previously losing a deciding set to Alan Tabern. Think he's basically another player who is not going to give too much away, and I think he gets a set, but Jamie should be too much to handle. Hughes 3-1

Petersen/Hughes - And Jamie gets one of the more fortunate draws, as Devon's quality of play has dropped off a cliff in 2021 after getting to the level where he too was capable of winning a Euro Tour. He only just crept into Minehead at the end of the year as the last man in (prior to alternates), and outside of a bit of a cameo at the UK Open where he came through three players who aren't here before being edged out by Gerwyn Price, he's failed to get results and is scoring nearly a clear point below Hughes. Kind of fortunate for Devon that he didn't get someone scoring higher, but I think it'll only stop him getting blown out, Hughes ought to have enough but I've got a suspicion that Devon will rekindle a bit of stage form and make it a slugfest. Hughes 3-2

Lennon/Razma - Steve is here as one of the bottom half of the Pro Tour qualifiers, which is a little bit of a surprise given a high 90 scoring per turn mark. He's just not been able to get results, going on a fair bit of a dry spot in recent times and like many players doing his best work early, getting two quarters and two board wins in four Pro Tours split over Milton Keynes and Niedernhausen. That's back in April though and a lot changes, he looked ordinary against Heta last time out. Madars claimed a Nordic/Baltic spot, but would have been fine on the Pro Tour ranks winning 250 quid more than Steve did this season. Razma is scoring a fair bit lower at down under 89, he can hit some great power legs but these seem lacking more often this year than they were in his early PDC days. Could be a good one and I'll take Steve to advance, but not without some difficulty. Lennon 3-2

Ratajski/Lennon - Krzysztof is seventh in the world in scoring and one of the players in the conversation as to the best player not to have won a major title. Only Michael Smith is above him in the rankings not to have won one. This clearly isn't the easiest draw the Pole could have got, but the winner of the most recent Pro Tour and Matchplay semi-finalist really ought to come through this one. Would not be at all surprised to see Steve win a set given the standard he's been playing at, and given Krzysztof has dropped the ball a couple of times in TV matches, but an actual win? Not for me. Ratajski 3-1

Joyce/Benecky - Ryan is actually fourth in the Pro Tour list, which feels a bit high to me (behind only Rydz, Ross Smith and Barney) given he didn't reach a final after binking one last year, but the man with the best shirt in darts is scoring over 90, had an impressive Grand Slam group before getting routed by Cross, and is just real consistent in getting wins on tour, going moderately deep a few times without getting to an aforementioned final. Roman won the always tough East Europe qualifier with a surprise win over countryman Karel Sedlacek in the final to send the man with the second best shirt in darts back to Q-School (and, oddly, prevent a rematch from when Joyce played Sedlacek last year). The youngster has had a few alright Development Tour runs, but not produced enough power to make me feel he troubles Ryan in the slightest. It'll be great experience though and will hopefully allow the Czech Republic to come on stronger in the World Cup next season. Joyce 3-1

King/Joyce - Mervyn continues to perform at a high level while being closer to 60 than 50, being unlucky not to make the Premier League having lost the winner takes all final against Clayton in the Masters (and after losing a deciding leg to MvG at the back end of 2020 which might have got him in by right). King has got plenty of board wins and quarters but hasn't really done a great deal on TV, only getting a win against Kleermaker in the Grand Prix and that's it. I think he'll add another one as he has been playing the better stuff in 2021, but I do think it'll be a close run affair. King 3-2

Wade/van der Voort - This one seems a bit underwhelming - wouldn't describe either player as flashy, don't think Vincent has the top level game to put on the afterburners and pull out anything special, James is just that little bit better in all departments. VvdV will be able to win sets, but the match seems like too much of an ask. Wade 4-2

Cullen/Whitlock - Appears to be a game where Joe just needs to not do anything stupid and he'll get home, the differential in scoring is more than enough for Cullen here. Simon'll probably pin a big checkout or two at a key spot and grab a set, but I'm struggling to see a scenario where he'd get more than that. Cullen 4-1

van den Bergh/Hughes - Luck runs out for Jamie here. A five point differential in scoring is quite the difference, Hughes is going to have to roll back a couple of years to be able to lay a glove on Dimitri in this one, I suppose anything's possible but van den Bergh looks so comfortable on TV these days that I think the most likely result is a whitewash. van den Bergh 4-0

Ratajski/King - Ought to be a good one for the purists this. Ratajski doesn't have an overwhelming advantage on King, Mervyn's been a very steady player, arguably playing the best he has done for quite some time. It wouldn't surprise me at all if King is able to force a decider. It also wouldn't surprise me if Mervyn was able to turn Ratajski over. That said, I think more often than not Ratajski claims the match without it getting that far. Ratajski 4-2

Wade/Cullen - This one is going to be incredibly hard to call, a true coinflip. They're separated by one spot in my scoring rankings (Cullen ahead by less than a quarter of a point per turn), Joe being slightly more explosive, James being slightly more consistent. I can't see that this doesn't go all seven sets if this match happens, and I think Joe's been here enough on the TV stage that he will be able to get over the line. Cullen 4-3

van den Bergh/Ratajski - Kind of brutal last sixteen match as we've got two players who are separated in scoring by 0.04 points this season, that's just how closely matched they are. Similar to the last game there's a little bit of a difference in how those scores are compiled - Ratajski is a lot more consistent and is scoring near two points higher in losing legs, while Dimitri is finishing a couple more percent of legs in each of four and five visits for higher winning leg power. Probably just about take the Belgian as a result, could see Ratajski keeping things tight but just gifting Dimitri enough chances to crawl home. van den Bergh 4-3

Cullen/van den Bergh - Could be seeing this one at this stage of majors plenty of times for the next decade. Think Joe's run ends here, frankly Dimitri is the better player, has more experience at the business end of major events, Cullen after all has only gone deeper than this in any major twice, and he'll go one better than he has done in previous seasons. Question really is how big a victory it would be - I'm torn between Cullen taking two or three sets, might well come down to who wins the darts. I'll give Joe the benefit. van den Bergh 5-3

Sunday 12 December 2021

Worlds quarter one

Will go through each quarter with real quick hits. I've not had the time to do any sort of super in depth preview, so won't do. I'm aware someone may be dropping out, but until I hear who it is (if this is true), I'm going as planned. Will do all the round 1/2 first, then the last 32 onwards.

Edhouse/Wen - Ritchie's been pretty solid, scoring just shy of 90 for the season, getting into all of the easy major events and getting to several Pro Tour quarter finals. Should be way too solid for Wen, who's making his debut, don't really know much about him, has played in the Shanghai World Series a couple of times without doing much of anything, also hard to know how much decent match practice the Asian qualifiers have been able to get really. Edhouse 3-0

Price/Edhouse - Then we get possibly the biggest change in terms of quality, and in one night to boot. Only picking up the one major is probably a bit below par, but compensated by picking up both (sigh) Euro Tours, is still second best in the world in scoring behind MvG, and should easily pass through - wouldn't surprise me if Ritchie were able to pinch a set, but I'm thinking probably not. Price 3-0

Beaton/Sherrock - Steve's not had the greatest of seasons, nothing really of note in terms of results given the calibre of player that he was, especially in the second half of the season, scoring is down below 89 which is round about the mark that plenty of players who aren't here are at right now. Sherrock's done great on TV but garbage on the floor - she's actually scoring 93 in the sample size I have which is pretty much just the Grand Slam, but as noted before she's actually lost more money in entry fees than she has won in prizes on the Challenge Tour. Woof. Game is on TV though. Sherrock 3-1

Huybrechts/Sherrock - Kim's definitely going to be a step up in quality, doing well enough in a Dolan-esque return to form to get back into the top 32, scoring solidly nearer 92 than 91. Question is how he handles the crowd, I think Kim will be fine, he's been in the Premier League, he's played Taylor on this stage, this ought to be nothing new to him, but will be close. Huybrechts 3-2

Smith/Smith - Ross against Jeff. Ross has had an exceptional season, scoring over 92 higher than the likes of Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall, has managed to break through and bink a title, and it is surely when rather than if he breaks through into the top 32. Jeff has been the player more than most that has been fucked over by government bullshit both here and in Canada, and while I would like to see him rewarded with a win here, and while he clearly has the peak game to do it, the power just hasn't been there, scoring below 88 which is less than fellow North American Danny Baggish. Think Jeff will take a set, his match experience is likely too good not to, but that's it. R Smith 3-1

Bunting/Smith - Stephen's an interesting one, resting just outside the top 16 in the FRH rankings helped by his semi final this time last year. He did bink a Pro Tour earlier in the year, and had a nice little cameo at the Grand Prix with a run to the semis, but outside of that results have been a little bit lacking. I'm sure he won't mind that though. Bunting is scoring solidly enough but is actually nearly a point below Smudger, who I think will cause us our first seeding upset, at least in bracket order. Smith 3-2

Wattimena/Koltsov - Jermaine perhaps a bit lucky to be here, one of the last Pro Tour qualifiers (in the last quarter) having dropped out of the seeds, where he's been the previous three events. He did make the Matchplay, but only as an alternate, and is now needing to fight back on the floor to get into TV events going forward. Which'll be tough, he's not won a board since April, or even reached a board final since the Matchplay. Boris won the EADC qualifier, fortunate as his Pro Tour results have been few and far between. Neither player has been lighting up the scoring, Boris is at 86, Jermaine's a bit better than I thought at just below 90. Koltsov can have great purple patches but I don't see how he sustains it over best of five sets. Wattimena 3-1

van Duijvenbode/Wattimena - Might be a touch one sided this, Dirk's scoring above 92 which is a solid enough advantage that I don't think he'll be troubled. Dirk maybe could have done a little bit more on TV this year, his results have been a touch disappointing following his worlds run twelve months ago, but he has won one on the floor this year and was unlucky not to go back to back to be honest. Jermaine may well take a set, but that's about as much as I think he can do. van Duijvenbode 3-1

Barry/Lam - Ought to be an interesting one this. Keane's had a very good first full season, a key thing being getting qualification for the Euro Tours and having a decent run in Hungary which got him into the joke that was the European Championship, scoring a steady 89. Good job of gaining experience but maybe he'd like to have got a bit more in terms of results on the Pro Tour. Royden is back after a three year absence, winning the Hong Kong qualifier. As mentioned with Wen, really hard to know where he's at in terms of quality, he didn't even play the World Cup and there's not been the Asian Tour for some time now. Hopefully that returns in 2022. As such, it's hard to pick against Keane. Barry 3-1

Clayton/Barry - This will be spicy. Clayton's rise from solid top 16 competitor to multiple major winner (albeit only one of them was ranked, but still) and top five in the world in scoring has been nothing but remarkable. He's handled changing from the hunter to the hunted pretty well and ought to be able to handle Keane easily enough. Maybe Barry has a bit of a spell and can claim a set, but Jonny should be way too solid and close this one out easily. Clayton 3-0

Williams/Shibata - Lewy's started his senior career very well to get here on the Pro Tour list, was another player like Barry above to take advantage of the Euro Tour schedule and get some TV experience following a good win over Ratajski. He's not really lit it up on the floor yet, but did win four boards and convert one into a quarter final, scoring just shy of 89. Shibata I know little about. He won through the Japan qualifier, beating Asada along the way but the last time I saw Seigo his form had dropped off a cliff, so who knows what that's actually worth. Think the kid takes this, but wouldn't be surprised if this ends up in a bit of a brawl. Williams 3-2

Clemens/Williams - Gabriel's still looking for that first Pro Tour, and isn't actually scoring overly heavily, just over 90, so if it is Lewy that comes through, this might be a bit competitive. He did make one final but fell two legs short against Rydz, and continues to pick up steady money on the Pro Tour, but would have liked to make more of an impression on the TV stage, which is what he needs to do to really push up the rankings. I think the German's going to have enough to come through, but it'll be tight. Clemens 3-2

Meulenkamp/Ashton - Ron was touch and go as to whether he'd make it, doing the better work earlier in the season on the Pro Tour and holding on in the end having not reached a board final since July. He did look the best he's been for a while in the UK Open, but that was way back early in the year and things have changed since then. Lisa's scoring quite a lot lower though, down at 84 compared to Ron's 89, and despite winning through to the worlds and Slam twice, she's going back to Q-School unless she can win to round three at least. Winning a board once and then not winning more than one match in a Pro Tour all season isn't great really. She can certainly run three-four legs together and grab a set and I'd fancy her to do that, but that's about the limit I think. Meulenkamp 3-1

Smith/Meulenkamp - This isn't as big of an upgrade in quality as Wen to Price, but it might not be far off. Smith's still looking for that elusive first major, and scoring well over 93 puts him into the equation for doing so, but the closest he got this year was the Grand Slam. At least he binked a couple of Pro Tours to get there. Can't see Michael having too many problems here, he's actually got a surprising amount of experience now (that win over Taylor here was eight years ago after all). Smith 3-0

O'Connor/Lauby - Willie is just under 90 in scoring for the season, which isn't a bad standard, eventually sealing his place with a semi final in the penultimate Pro Tour event of the season, and with his couple of wins at the Players Championship Finals over quality opponents in Dobey and Ratajski, maybe he's hitting form at the right time. He does seem to have spells where he performs somewhat better than usual and has done for years. Results prior to that have been a touch disappointing though. Lauby won in through the CDC Tour and showed what he can do last year in a nailbiting first rounder against Ryan Searle, and has kept in match sharpness on the American circuit as well as on the Challenge Tour, where he managed to make a final but was real up and down, ending with a conventional average in the mid 80s. Think Willie's going to be too strong, but Danny should be enough value to take a set. O'Connor 3-1

Durrant/O'Connor - Won't say too much about Glen out of respect really, it's just been a horror show of a season, his scoring is down below 85, is now outside of the FRH top 32, and outside of one run to the quarters way back in February, hasn't won more than one game all season. I can't see how he can trouble Willie, I just hope this doesn't turn into a complete trainwreck as Glen deserves better than that. O'Connor 3-0

Price/Huybrechts - Into round three now, Kim I think has been doing enough throughout the season that he can put Gerwyn under some pressure, he's shown up in my outside value tips for Pro Tour deep runs a few times, and we know he has the top end game that can ask questions of anyone. That said, Price is a clear couple of tiers ahead of Kim and I think he will just be too consistent to allow Huybrechts to get too close to the finish line. Maybe Kim can pick up more than the one set, especially if he wins the darts, but I'm not sure he can get close enough to get onto the hill. Price 4-1

Smith/van Duijvenbode - This one should be a lot of fun. Dirk's been the better player over the season statistically, outscoring Smith by about a point, but there's certainly enough opportunity here for Ross to maybe cause another upset. I'm thinking this is one that can go all the way and become an under the radar classic, Dirk just edging it. van Duijvenbode 4-3

Clayton/Clemens - Got to think that Gabriel's run ends where it should do based on seedings. Clayton's just too good right now, Clemens caused a huge upset this time last year, but I don't think that he will be able to repeat that. This seems like the Price/Huybrechts game, the difference in quality seems comparable, again maybe if Gabriel wins the darts he can claim a couple of sets, but I'd certainly be thinking Jonny ends this one sooner rather than later. Clayton 4-1

Smith/O'Connor - Don't think that Willie will be able to get much further than this. He'll take advantage of possibly the best draw he could hope for, but Michael should be a step too far. I don't think the difference in quality is anywhere near as much as it is in the games involving the Welsh players, but it's enough that I don't think this match will be in too much doubt. Smith 4-2

Price/van Duijvenbode - Kind of unfortunate seeding for Dirk here. He's top ten in the world in scoring, but runs into the world champ in the last sixteen. Definitely think he's got enough quality that he'll give Price a decent test, but Gerwyn should have enough to keep him at arms length and get through without any huge danger. Price 4-2

Clayton/Smith - We've got the 8v9 seeding matchup, so based on that it ought to be incredibly tight, but Clayton's ranking hasn't caught up with Clayton's quality just yet. He's a full point ahead of Michael on scoring and four places ahead on the FRH rankings. He's also only defending third round money, so has the capability of going up several spots in the official rankings without too much of a problem. It'd be the most Smith thing ever to take this to a deciding set and then lose, so that's what I'll go for. Clayton 4-3

Price/Clayton - So we get down to the top two seeds and it's an all-Welsh matchup, also coincidentally the top two in the FDI rankings against each other, I think the question here is if Clayton can repeat what he did in the Grand Prix final where he made Price look ordinary, at least in terms of scoreline, or for that matter his worlds debut, where he also beat Price. Then again, Price won their match at the Slam and was a real comfortable winner at the Matchplay, but those are both leg play events. I think this could legitimately go either way, and I would not be surprised if Clayton forces this the distance or even nicks it. But I'll take Gerwyn given he has course and distance, Jonny's done a lot on the TV stage but it's still uncharted territory. Price 5-3