Thursday 22 September 2022

ET12 round one thoughts

Another three withdrawals, sigh, seems a little bit silly that Lewis is now into the seeds until you recall that he did win a Pro Tour out of nowhere a couple of months back. Still, that's opened up five (5!) home nation qualifier spots, looking at the last ten that's going on right now I only recognise the names of Andy Baetens and Kevin Blomme so this could be a case of using FDI and common sense for a lot of spots, let's go through the schedule:

Nilsson/Doets - Fair bit of data on Dennis from the SDC, we know what we're going to get with him, occasional bit of quality but far below the level of Kevin, who's maybe not quite at the level he was in 2021 but still a very competent Pro Tour level player. Doets should be a prohibitive favourite and anything up to around 1/4 seems like it should be value.

van Veen/Meikle - Will be interesting to see how Gian, a Challenge Tour player this year, adapts to the stage against Ryan, who still has a very good chance of making the European Championship and a win here would help. We've actually got nearing 150 legs of data on Gian and he scores around the same as Ryan this season, and the projections actually put him ahead, albeit there's a bit of a consistency issue. If we see better than 6/4 on Gian, very possible just based on "not tour card holder", then I think we play.

Sedlacek/HNQ3 - This is Vandaele or Callaert, neither of whom rate highly although Callaert did get a 90 average in quals. Can't see either really threatening anyone of Sedlacek's quality, at least in this season. Update - it is Vandaele, who's got a pretty mediocre FDI rating and didn't crack 85 in the quals.

Krcmar/Menzies - Oof, a couple of players where you really don't know what you're going to get, both can be amazing, both can be ordinary. Appears fairly close in the projections and will be tough to find a winner, Boris looks to have a tiny edge but the market would need to be saying it's at least 60/40 one way or another before we consider a play.

Barry/Baggish - Danny's secured a worlds spot through the CDC but is going to need a couple of wins there minimum to stand any chance of retaining a card, so every little will help. It's a tough draw in Keane who's pushing up towards the top 32, but Baggish has chances against the young Irish sensation - it's not quite 40%, but may be a touch better than what the market thinks.

HNQ1/Razma - Madars is going to get Baetens or Blomme, who look to be the two picks of players that have got to the last round, Andy in particular looking dangerous based on previous WDF form and a ton plus average in early rounds of the qual. Razma should have just enough but if he's having a bit of an off day, as can happen with him, either qualifier could take advantage. Update - as it is Baetens, that danger is very real.

Zonneveld/Soutar - Niels has appeared quiet on the tour this year, despite being in a provisional WC spot right now, 1500 quid ahead of Soutar who's notably regressed this season compared to last, so it's an important game for both as they look to solidify their Ally Pally chances, an extra grand could well make the difference come the end of the Pro Tour. Niels looks to be playing the slightly better darts and should be priced up at around the 8/13 range here.

Klaasen/HNQ5 - Jelle's had a competent enough season that he ought to easily handle Francois Schweyen, who's just won, an 88 scoring clip is solid enough against someone who the only data I have is a 5-0 drubbing on one of the secondary tours where the average was in the 70's - similar to what was seen in the qualifier, although he did creep up to 83 in the last round. Should be a safe win for the Dutchman in this lowlands derby.

Rodriguez/Smith - Jeff's in some real danger of losing his tour card, currently outside the worlds looking in, not in the Pro Tour spots right now and didn't get enough done in the NA qualifiers, so this is a huge game against Rusty, who's also had a bit of a disappointing season, but only in the sense he didn't replicate what was a huge 2021. This is actually a rematch from Hungary, where Rusty won, and whether Jeff will be the favourite again (we did bet Rusty that time at odds against) is a big question. He shouldn't be as Rusty is right between 55% and 60% to claim the victory and I doubt they make the same mistake twice.

Brooks/Dobey - Bradley's another youngster who's had a quiet year, not picking up a huge deal of prize money so making the most of these chances is key, but he's got a tough draw in Chris, who's also not had an amazing year but is still in the top 20 of the Pro Tour rankings. Dobey should be far too strong here and 1/3 looks to be the fair line.

Beaton/Smith - This is by far the most important game of the day. Ross needs this for the Grand Prix spot, while Beaton is looking marginal for the Pro Tour worlds qualification rankings, only just about holding on to one of the last spots as of right now. If he were to lose his spot then retaining a tour card becomes a serious question. Ross ought to claim this a touch over 60% of the time, he had a bit of a bad start to 2022 but is turning things around and did have a nice Euro Tour run recently to draw confidence from.

Hughes/van der Voort - Couple of players here which we've not mentioned a great deal, we've barely talked about Hughes at all after his Euro Tour win which is several years ago now, but he's still holding on in the mid-50's of the rankings and should make the worlds comfortably enough, while van der Voort is retaining a top 30 FRH ranking and a worlds seeding despite rarely being talked about. Jamie is outscoring VVDV by a fair amount, enough to translate to a two in three win chance, which might not be recognised in the market.

King/HNQ2 - Mervyn seems to be regressing a bit, no longer scoring over 90 and not particularly close to the top 32 on the Pro Tour, and is starting to miss majors, but this should still easily be enough to despatch whatever a Wouter Vanrolleghem is, a player who isn't even on the FDI top 32 for Belgium and couldn't break 80 in any one of four qualification matches. King will be loving this draw and ought to be the shortest player on the coupon tomorrow morning.

de Decker/HNQ4 - Mike's got a compatriot in the first round after being one of the top ranked Belgians to get the auto spot (with Huybrechts), he's been thrown up against Remo Mandiau, who is at least on the FDI ranking table mentioned above, but down at a 1400-something rating, which isn't great, and similarly he didn't break 80 once in the qual and was down in the 60's in one match, albeit there looked to be a lot of mutual missed doubles dragging this down. de Decker is scoring just above 90 this season which is extremely respectable and should have too much.

West/Huybrechts - Ronny couldn't come through but Kim could, and he's looking for a big run to try to force his way into the European Championship. His scoring has dropped of from twelve months ago, he was looking like he might get his way back into the top 32 but isn't quite at that level now, although he is holding a provisional worlds seed for the time being, but West's regression is worse and is almost certain to lose his card after a horrific two year spell. Steve is still doing enough to maybe nick this 40% of the time, so if he can show up, maybe there is some value here.

Gilding/Whitlock - Final game's going to be a belter, with Andrew maybe the most improved player in 2022 (although it certainly isn't to new heights, just compared to 2021), while Whitlock still keeps hanging around, mainly just to beat van Gerwen repeatedly. Goldfinger's playing that much better that he should be 60-65% favoured to claim a second round match against the home nation favourite in DvdB.

Check for tips once the matches have been priced up in the morning.

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