Friday 30 July 2021

Matchplay aftermath

It's in the books, congrats to Peter, Dimitri couldn't quite retain but has got to be somewhat happy with the way he's played, moving himself out of the trickier seeds and into the nice 4/5 spot. The upshot of the final is that Wright's now got the second highest scoring of the season (de Sousa is still higher), and Dimitri sits nicely in seventh behind the "big three", de Sousa, Clayton and the ever impressive Ratajski.

New FRH rankings:

1 Gerwyn Price
2 Peter Wright (UP 1)
3 Michael van Gerwen (DOWN 1)
4 James Wade
5 Dimitri van den Bergh (UP 2)
6 Gary Anderson (DOWN 1)
7 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 1)
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Michael Smith
10 Krzysztof Ratajski (UP 3)
11 Joe Cullen (DOWN 1)
12 Jonny Clayton (DOWN 1)
13 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
14 Nathan Aspinall
15 Stephen Bunting
16 Devon Petersen
17 Mervyn King
18 Simon Whitlock (UP 1)
19 Daryl Gurney (DOWN 1)
20 Glen Durrant

Yes, oddly, Whitlock moves up a spot above Gurney, despite not playing in the event and Gurney picked up first round prize money. Weird how that works but it is what it is. The big mover lower down was obviously Callan Rydz who hits number 33, but now the hard work comes with the big names just above him.

Dropped a quarter of a unit betting wise. As mentioned previously, there wasn't too much value at all after the first round, especially given how chalky the first round was - I'd still take de Sousa again, only reason there was value there was people still don't realise just how good he is, and would obviously take Aspinall again over Anderson, as people still think he's an elite player, rather than someone who, this season, isn't even in the top 25 of scoring. No real qualms with any of the first round bets - if offered the same odds today I probably wouldn't take Noppert over Wright (it's still close), and I might tone down the Heta sizing a bit, but would still go Dobey over Cullen at odds against.

We're back on for another Super Series from Monday - worryingly, there's an extra event slotted in rather than further European Tour qualifiers. Quite how we're likely to get less Euro Tours this season than last is just a statement on how quite mad governments are nowadays - there should have been plenty of time to plan more than three events. That said, there simply isn't the calendar space, and that's the real issue. I've got to assume they go with ET3 on the weekend after the Grand Prix. There's no other space to put it. But what on earth do they do with the European Championship? Doing it on Euro Tour money was already a joke last year, but with even less events? That's not going to be pretty in the slightest. Then again, they're still holding the World Series of Darts finals. Madness.

Sunday 25 July 2021

Matchplay final - still no bets

Think the line's a little bit harsh on Dimitri, but nowhere near enough to bet. At a best price that I can see that's no better than 6/4 (oddschecker is doing some strange stuff), I'd need Dimitri to be a favourite. But he's not, I'm seeing 55/45 for Wright. As such, maybe the line should be a little bit tighter, but it's nowhere near enough edge to consider a bet on this one.

Congrats to Lourence Ilagan, who's managed to bink the Phillipines qualifier and will be back at the worlds next winter. Always good to see players from that region, it's just a shame that when they were starting to really get the opportunities to play more competitive darts via the Asian Tour, they've kind of taken a step back, but we'll see how this one goes.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Matchplay semis - we still have no bets

This is kind of what I thought we would see given that there were no bets in the quarter finals, and additionally that there were just the two bets in the second round - and the factors that I think gave us the bets in the second round (people still not realising quite how good de Sousa is, and people still thinking Anderson is better than he is) went away.

That said, Ratajski's fairly close to a punt. Very, very close. I don't hate it if you want to go with it at 2/1 - I'm seeing Ratajski at 39% to take it, which is close on its own, but when you factor in that Krzysztof is playing with much greater consistency than Dimitri (only just over two points lower on losing legs than winning, compared to Dimitri at nearly six), the Pole's actually scoring more per turn overall. I'm not going to recommend it as a bet, but I'll have a bit of it for funking power. Also a bit of an intangible in that Dimitri has been here before and is defending, and this is uncharted waters in a major for Ratajski.

Wright/van Gerwen really is too close to call. The market will give you 5/6 on Wright and 21/20 on MvG - I have Wright at 52.7%, so there's no value. They're incredibly evenly matched, fourth and fifth in scoring overall this year separated by only a fifth of a point, their scoring in winning legs is separated by less than a tenth of a point - Wright being higher, but a bit lower on losing legs giving van Gerwen the higher overall scoring. Wright being ever so slightly faster to finish in four and five visits gives him the tiny edge.

It's going to be a great session, I would not be surprised if we got a match of the year candidate out of this one.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Matchplay quarters

Pity about de Sousa. Thought he was going to be a lock to win at more than one stage of the match, but fair play to Smith for getting through it. Would be great if he finally breaks his major duck, would probably be the player I want to win from his half of the draw (would take whoever wins from Ratajski/Rydz in the other half).

Quarters ongoing, the Ratajski/Rydz line looks spot on, Krzysztof's been playing more than well enough to justify his price, I'm getting it spot on 75/25, so nothing of value there. Price/DvdB is close to the same story, Price is correctly favourite, but he's not a 4/6 (only available on one obscure book) favourite. It's a 55/45 matchup. Sadly, nowhere's offering anything like long enough to make the defending champion any sort of value.

Tomorrow starts with Wright/Smith, I've got Wright as a bit better than 60%, but not quite a two in three winner. The market agrees. Which just leaves the van Gerwen/Aspinall game - I thought Nathan hadn't played well enough this season that 4/9 on van Gerwen might be considered value, even accounting for MvG playing better than results, but it isn't. It's more or less a perfect line.

As such, nothing can be recommended, and I doubt we see anything for the semis or final if the market's assessment of everyone that's left is as accurate as it appears right now. Maybe, just maybe, if Ratajski comes through he becomes undervalued, but we'll wait and see.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Matchplay day 4/5

Moderately disappointing first round. Both in terms of betting, where we dropped quarter of a unit, and in terms of interest, with the only seeds dropping out being two we bet against, and the one everyone was picking to go out. So we've got an awful lot of seed on seed action, and even one of the non-seeds has just got himself back into the top sixteen as a result of his win.

Anything we like today? Rydz is close to being worth a sniff, I think 5/2 is a little bit unkind as I'm seeing him as winning ever so slightly more than one in three, but he was so mediocre in the first round that I couldn't consider it. How much of that was Durrant pulling Rydz down to his level, I don't know. We're not going with it though. Humphries and Ratajski should be a nailbiter. Looks like the market has Krzysztof as the tiniest of favourites - this seems fine, I see it at around 55/45 in his favour as well. Maybe this'll be the first tie breaker we get. Hopefully. Clayton is extremely close to a bet. I've got Price as the favourite, but he's not quite 55%. 8/5 doesn't need that much win percentage for Jonny, but it's not quite there. Finally we've got van den Bergh/Chisnall. This, to me, seems exactly the same. I was thinking a Chisnall bet, again at 8/5, but the betting model does actually throw Dimitri out as a favourite. Again, it's small, not quite 55%. Can't quite pull the trigger.

May as well look at day 5 as well. I think we can go Jose again - 0.25u de Sousa 4/7. That needs 64% to break even, I see 75%. He's just that good right now. Anderson/Aspinall is priced as a flip in the market, but I think Nathan's just about good enough to fire - 0.25u Aspinall evs. I'm getting a shade over 60%, so for even money, that's worth it. Ando's a little bit more consistent, but Aspinall still scores more. Can't be wrong. van Gerwen/White looks just fine, it's priced with MvG winning 75-80% of the time, maybe it's a little less than that, but picking White to win this one with that small an edge seems suicidal to me. Finally it's Wright/Cullen, which looks just about right again. Joe's probably undervalued a little bit, I'm seeing just over 40%, but with him priced at 7/4 I need a bit more than that. I'd probably take it if we saw better than 2/1, but that's it.

Thursday 15 July 2021

Matchplay tips

RIP Andy Fordham

Alright, will go through in bracket order, briefly it's a shame that Suljovic withdrew, but you would surely think that whatever has actually caused him to withdraw was known about at the time he opted not to play the last Super Series? It may potentially have made somewhat of a difference in what people think they need to do, and alter the amount of pressure. Oh well, it's not going to affect anything.

Price/Wattimena - Got to think Jermaine is close to drawing dead in this one. The master computer does give him about a 20% shot, so he can't have been playing as badly as thought, so the near 1/5 that there is on Gerwyn is no value at all. Probably slightly less chance for Jermaine taking consistency into account, but nowhere near enough to consider a bet.

Clayton/van Duijvenbode - This is going to be fun, there's a lot of high quality matchups in round one but this is likely the pick of them. Dirk's well respected in the betting and is only 8/5, this seems like it should be Clayton at around 1/2. Close to value but not enough.

van den Bergh/Petersen - 8 months ago this would have been a great matchup, but Devon's had a pretty mediocre 2021, it's dropped off a cliff to the point where he's scoring less than 90 per turn, sandwiched between Ron Meulenkamp and Joe Murnan. 2/5 on Dimitri is really close to value, it should be 2/7.

Chisnall/van der Voort - Both of these have been fairly quiet in 2021, Dave obviously had a great worlds though, although Vincent's done enough to get here comfortably - looks fairly safe for the Grand Prix right now so it can't all be front loaded. Another one where the line looks good, it's exactly a Chisnall winning two in three, which give or take a percent or two is how I see it as well.

Wade/Humphries - In terms of overall quality, this is probably a top three game in the first round. James has been playing very solid stuff, but Luke's outplayed him this season - scoring a point and a half more per turn with greater consistency. I'm predicting that he'll avenge the UK Open final, just, with about a 56% chance. That's enough for me to go 0.25u Humphries 11/8.

Ratajski/Dolan - If the above match was top three, this is above it, only behind the Clayton game. We've talked about Brendan quite a bit, regular readers will know that we find him hugely underrated, but Ratajski's probably there as well, he's not got results in 2021, but nobody outside of Clayton, de Sousa, Price, van Gerwen and Wright is scoring more than Krzysztof in 2021. As such, I've got him at 56% to take it, which with him being slightly favoured results in no bet.

Cross/Smith - Probably quite a few people will be sniffing at Ross here at odds against, having won recently and with Cross seemingly been quiet. It seems fair enough, and I am very, very close to taking a small stab - the prediction model says it's a coinflip, so 7/5 would ordinarily be right on the margins, but Rob has a fair bit better consistency, which is enough to put me off. If there's money coming in on Rob and Smith drifts to better than 6/4, then I'll add something on, but I really don't see that happening.

Durrant/Rydz - This is a bit one sided in the market. Callan's nearly as short at 1/3. Is that fair? I think so. Glen was able to get a couple of wins, but is still a long way off the pace, nowhere near where he was at when he won the Premier League. I've got Rydz at 72% so yet again I think the line looks alright.

Wright/Noppert - Wright won the last title and is looking in decent form, fifth in scoring in 2021, but Danny continues to play solidly under the radar, with top ten level scoring. As such, he's got a great chance of repeating what he did last year where he dumped out a top three seed in the first round - 40% looks good enough to take 0.25u Noppert 11/4, that's more than a 10% difference between what I'm seeing and what the market is seeing, so we'll go for it. Would probably have talked about Noppert more but he's seeded in Pro Tours in such a way that he usually gets bad sections.

Cullen/Dobey - We're going to go for another bet here, and it's going to be on the underdog - 0.25u Dobey 11/10, now that he's crept into the field by finally winning a title, he's got to be full of confidence, whereas Joe, who's had a good season with two Pro Tour wins, seems to be slightly off the boil (although still playing extremely well). The two player's scoring ratings are basically identical, but Dobey's is weighted a bit more towards winning legs and is checking off in fifteen at a much higher rate than Cullen. Only de Sousa is doing that more often. That's enough for me.

Smith/Searle - Market has this fairly close. Searle's 11/8, Smith's 8/11. This feels extremely like the Cross/Smith game to me - the master computer says it's a flip, so Ryan's not quite long enough when I factor in that Michael has a touch bit better consistency, enough to put him about half a point up in overall scoring. Don't hate a Ryan bet, but it's not there for me.

de Sousa/Clemens - Jose's the best player in the world right now. Clemens, while scoring over 90 this season, hasn't done much in terms of results and is quite possibly not even the second best player in Germany right now. Jose should take this with minimum fuss, 0.5u de Sousa 1/3, I'm seeing better than 85%. This looks extremely safe.

van Gerwen/Heta - Much has been talked about Michael not having won a title yet this season, but he is not playing badly. Not at all. He's third in scoring. That said, Heta's less than a couple of points behind and playing well. I see slightly better than a 1 in 3 shot, kind of between that and 40%. We can get 3/1, so I'll take a punt, 0.25u Heta 3/1. Only needs to be right 25% of the time to break even. It should be more than that.

Gurney/White - Huge game for both players in the context of plenty of things, with both hovering around the top 16 and both not with a great Pro Tour record to the point where the Grand Prix would not be a banker if they don't get in through the OOM. Bookies can barely separate them, but I've got White at 58%, so 0.25u White evs, he's scoring a clear point higher and Daryl seemingly has next to no power game with less than 8% of won legs being in twelve or better.

Anderson/Bunting - Seems extremely close on paper. Most metrics between the two have very little separation and it looks like a genuine coinflip to me. Stephen's 11/8. That's close, especially given he has won a title recently. Wouldn't hate a bet on Bunting, but it's another game where I think it's too close to call and the market is just about in line enough. If Gary shortens, lay him.

Aspinall/King - Mervyn's quietly going about his business and is scoring well enough to be comfortably within the top 20 on that metric, scoring heavier than Aspinall whichever way you look at it, enough to give him a 60/40 edge. Nathan's only really favourite on name value, so 0.25u King 11/8, that might be the best bet of the round.

I'm off to put these on, good luck everyone.

Sunday 11 July 2021

Super Series 5 done

Pretty interesting set of events. A bit disappointing on the betting front, notably me switching off Dolan for day 3 because of a draw change and the de Sousa missing eight championship darts, but that was quite a list of winners. Bunting for the first time since forever and Dobey for the first time ever, forcing their way into the Matchplay field at the expense of Razma (who bricked all four events) and Wattimena (who bricked three and made one board final), then Ross Smith nicked a first title, before a pretty chalky fourth event saw Wright defeat van Gerwen to keep MvG without a title in 2021.

Also had quite a few European Tour qualifiers - quite a few big names in from there, and quite a few missing out on all of them. Cross and Whitlock made it through all three, as did Florian Hempel (who played alright on the Super Series as a whole, picking up three grand, being by far the lowest ranked player to cash all four events) and Keane Barry, who'll surely do very well from getting a bunch of stage experience with crowds. No Chisnall for any of them is quite the surprise.

So the Matchplay field is complete - I'll chuck out some betting tips nearer the time, although at a first glance nothing jumped out as huge value. Biggest name to miss out was obviously Whitlock, but there's quite a few big names not there. Wattimena dropped out as mentioned, but there's no Lewis, no de Zwaan, no Hughes, Barney couldn't work his way in, Beaton misses out for the first time since forever... there's a lot of new faces.

New FRH rankings (incorporates minimum Matchplay cash, without this move Whitlock up three places):

1 Gerwyn Price
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Peter Wright
4 James Wade
5 Gary Anderson
6 Jose de Sousa
7 Dimitri van den Bergh
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Michael Smith
10 Joe Cullen
11 Jonny Clayton (UP 1)
12 Dirk van Duijvenbode (DOWN 1)
13 Krzysztof Ratajski
14 Nathan Aspinall
15 Stephen Bunting (UP 1)
16 Devon Petersen (UP 3)
17 Mervyn King (NEW)
18 Daryl Gurney
19 Simon Whitlock (DOWN 4)
20 Glen Durrant (DOWN 3)

Rob Cross is out of there. Dobey is back into the top 30 after his title, while Smith is one place outside of the top 32, a first round win over Cross (which doesn't seem an unreasonable ask to be honest, although Cross is correctly the favourite) will get him there. Petersen jumping that much is more down to the struggles of Whitlock and Durrant to be honest. Elsewhere, Dolan's final moves him to #26, a good series from Scott Mitchell gets him into the top 70, while surprise package Chas Barstow is one place outside the top 100. Also at some point in the last month, Corey Cadby finally dropped off the rankings completely. How good it would be to see him back, even if not firing completely on all cylinders.

Scanning through the list of players, it's still the "big three" with de Sousa and Clayton that make up the top five in scoring, but after that there's still some great each way value to be had in the Pro Tours. The next two down are Ratajski and Humphries, Krzysztof's had a bit of a quiet 2021 and is dropping to around 40/1, which is probably worth a punt these days, Luke's 50/1 generally. Noppert's up into the top ten and is frequently triple digits. Dobey's up to tenth as well but may have lost some of the value having binked just this past week. Then we've got some players like Heta, Smith, Dolan, van Duijvenbode, Cross, King and Searle, all of whom may be worth the shot on any given tournament. Schindler seems to remain an auto punt, as does Huybrechts, but I'll chuck out another name - James Wilson is scoring over 92 this season. That's sandwiching him between White, Aspinall, Rydz and Ross Smith, which isn't bad company at all (right behind those five is Ando as well). He's somewhat of a forgotten man but if he's got over some injury issues (I think he had injury issues at least) and is back to his best where he was pushing towards the top 32, then I don't think it's unreasonable to look at a potential semi final run from him at some point.

I'm going to check out what's happening outside the PDC - looks like there's been some CDC action this weekend, but take a quick look at the Grand Prix race. Normally you'd only see a couple of changes between the Matchplay and Grand Prix in terms of field, but right now, Gurney is out, Petersen is out (and not particularly close on the Pro Tour rankings, I guess the Euro Tour he binked drops off before the cutoff?), White's only safe by a couple of grand, Kleermaker and Labanauskas are provisionally in, while Barney's less than a grand away. That might be a surprisingly interesting race to follow. May all come down to when they schedule remaining Euro Tours?

Sunday 4 July 2021

Actual darts!

Good to see the Challenge Tour underway. Really pleased to see Matt Campbell get most of the cake, with the amount of bullshit that Jeff Smith's had to go through because lol Canada, it'd not be unreasonable to think he might give it a miss, but he won two events and did decently in another, so fair play. Puts him in a great spot to make the worlds, and also to perhaps grab a tour card. Hopefully he can nick a Euro Tour spot tomorrow, with some of the other winners rushing straight to Coventry (Doets has gone, as have both of the Rodriguezes) maybe he can do it.

And we do have the Euro Tour back. Hungary and Gibraltar so far, you might have thought they could have got one or more on in August, but it is what it is. They might hold August for more Pro Tour events. Hungary's irritatingly timed for associates with it being on the same weekend as the Challenge Tour (both streams) and the Dutch Open, so maybe they could have looked to do that a little earlier, but I don't know what the venue has in terms of availability. Maybe they announce a couple to take place before then, but I doubt it. There's a big hole in October where they can do some, maybe they just have to have the European Championship held a fair bit later than usual, although the Grand Slam is yet to be scheduled. A midweek Euro Tour would be a sexy option, there's lots of large cities in the Rhine/Ruhr region where they could host with just a day's break between the two and minimal logistical problems.

We do finally have a list of entries for the Super Series. Let's look for value. Here's the seedings as we expect them to be, seems like a full field except for no Suljovic:

1-32-16-17: Cullen, Bunting, Cross, Chisnall
8-25-9-24: Wade, R Smith, Petersen, Rydz
4-29-13-20: van Gerwen, Kleermaker, Noppert, Clemens
5-28-12-21: Price, Wattimena, Heta, Humphries

2-31-15-18: de Sousa, Razma, Aspinall, Gurney
7-26-10-23: Clayton, Searle, Ratajski, King
3-30-14-19: Wright, Joyce, Dolan, White
6-27-11-22: M Smith, van den Bergh, van Duijvenbode, van der Voort

First thing we want to do is to look at the scary players and see if there's any bunching. These are usually the players that are going to be short prices, too short for each way value. de Sousa and Clayton are 1/2 and in the same quarter. Price, van Gerwen and Humphries are 3-4-5 and all in the same quarter. We may still consider Humphries given we can usually get at least 50/1 (we actually can), but having to come through potentially both Price and van Gerwen, as well as Heta on his board, means we'll probably look elsewhere.

So basically we're looking in quarters 1 and 4 for our value punt. We'll just scroll down the scoring to date this year after those first five. Wright is next and doesn't have a bad section, but is going to be too short. Ratajski has potential, but getting through Clayton and de Sousa, along with King being a dangerous floater on his board, means we may go elsewhere. Next is Cullen, who's a decent punt on paper, but has become too short. 25/1 was fine before he binked in the last Super Series, but he's too short now. Looking at Betfair right now, he's 12/1 fifth favourite behind the "big three", and Clayton/de Sousa. Value's gone. Then we have three players from quarter four - Smith (Michael), van Duijvenbode and Dolan. I don't mind the very bottom eighth, and we can get 25/1 on either of the first two, but I think Dirk's probably shortened a bit too much. Smith may be being slept on though, he does have a bink and a final, so that's worth looking at. Dolan however may be better at 66's though. It's actually shorter than White, and I don't think it's that outrageous to say he's value there. Then we've got Heta, who runs into the same problem as board mate Humphries. Both are 50/1, but I'd much rather take Dolan than either. Continuing to scroll, van den Bergh is too short to be value, King would be a tempter at 80/1 if he wouldn't likely have to come through three top top players to get paid on, White is the longest I've seen him in a while, but for good reason as he's just not getting results (and clearly I'm taking Dolan from that board). Cross is next at 40/1, but on that board is Chisnall, who's only two places lower and at 50/1, which is surely better. Noppert sandwiches those two but is in the MvG/Price section, although 100/1 is well worth looking at if he shifts at all - if he were to drop to Dolan's spot, we should take a look. We'll keep scrolling, Wade's the first player we see from boards 3/4, 33/1 is probably alright. Dobey's next up, but unseeded, 80/1 seems OK, but it all depends on where he drops, Rydz is to follow, and at 100/1 can't be too bad value.

As such, I think I'm going to go for a plan of attack of Michael Smith, Brendan Dolan, James Wade and Callan Rydz. We need to look for dangerous unseeded players, some of which may be worth a look in their own right. Schindler's doing better numbers than Aspinall and we can get 250/1 and is probably worth backing if he avoids a really awful draw. Soutar's dropped back to 150/1 after the initial hype. Kim Huybrechts is 200/1 and we know he can win these. Hopp's not doing too badly but for some reason isn't quoted. Ross Smith 150/1 anyone?