Wednesday 30 November 2022

(31) Huybrechts, (14) Barry, (Afr) Sampson

Kim Huybrechts - FRH #29, 501-459 (52.19%), 89.55 scoring (#49), 4.28 consistency
Keane Barry - FRH #41, 513-450 (53.27%), 90.20 scoring (#40), 2.70 consistency
Grant Sampson - FRH #155, no data

Compared to the previous section, this might not be one of the more interesting first round ties. Keane's kind of fallen a little bit under the radar in terms of hype, that Rock's done what he has done this season has drawn the attention, but Keane's level of play in 2022 is still extremely competent - the highlight clearly being his UK Open semi final run, running over David Evans, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Graham Hall, Niels Zonneveld, Ricky Evans then James Wade before falling to eventual runner up Michael Smith. So maybe a fortunate run? Still, can only beat what's in front of you, and he backed things up with a last 16 run in the other Minehead event, and has got to a Pro Tour semi final this year. You can't complain with scoring over 90, which puts him ahead of the seed that he would face, and should be comfortable in the first round.

Keane will face Grant Sampson, a surprise winner of the African qualifier, normally reserved for Devon Petersen in case he needed it - which he did, but Grant knocked him out before the final where he looked to be a comfortable winner over whatever a Laezeltrich Wentzel is. We know extremely little about the qualifier or Sampson in question, even beating Petersen doesn't mean that much right now, we can only go with what we've seen from previous players from the area. We didn't see Losper last year, the guy before that got a controversial bye before ending up in a bad game against Noppert, but we then need to go back to 2016 before we see anyone from the area that isn't Petersen. There's some developing players for sure, there's one player whose name I forget who was making great strides in the online games, but it isn't Sampson. Can't think Keane will have too many problems and Sampson is probably at best a one in four shout, maybe less.

Next up would be Kim Huybrechts - back into the top 32 last year, has held things but not made huge strides, merely consolidating his position. Scoring under 90 is not the greatest of looks for the season, and is somewhat indicative that he might drop back out of the 32 sooner rather than later, but he did enough early on to make the Matchplay and the Grand Prix, but lost first round to Dave Chisnall and Peter Wright respectively, not the easiest of draws I know, but at least he got there. He has one semi final this season on the floor, but hasn't got past winning a board outside of that, although he did manage that on eight further occasions. So maybe he is at least getting the results to back up a top 32 position. This one seems way too close to call unless Sampson was to pull off the upset, I'm thinking a flip, and we need to look at the consistency numbers. Huybrechts is only on level terms thanks to a peak game, but his bottom end game seems a fair bit lower than Barry's is. So this could come down to whether Kim gives any opportunities to win legs cheaply away, and whether Keane's able to take them. Will certainly be a potential highlight match which could easily go to a decider, possibly a tiebreak.

(2) Wright, (27) Mansell, (DPNZ) Robb

Peter Wright - FRH #1, 805-597 (57.42%), 94.92 scoring (#2), 4.52 consistency
Mickey Mansell - FRH #69, 294-316 (48.20%), 89.75 scoring (#46), 4.15 consistency
Ben Robb - FRH #128, 6-11 (35.29%), 85.78 scoring (#83), 8.62 consistency

This is an interesting first round tie. Mansell's done alright after losing his card then winning it back as one of the last two or three players on the points system, doing enough to get into the Players Championship Finals, winning his board on four occasions as well as having a couple of decent cameos on the European Tour, peaking with a Sunday appearance in Prague where he took van Gerwen to a deciding leg and. Scoring just a shade under 90 is just fine, and other stats are right in the middle of the park, so he's given himself a solid platform, and if he can improve on a mediocre worlds record where he has just the one win (ironically, also against a New Zealand qualifier in Haupai Puha) as well as some pretty bad results, he'll set himself up well to retain his card twelve months from now.

His opponent is Ben Robb, who's here for a third crack in four years, having been swept by Ron Meulenkamp in 2020 and getting a set against Rusty Jake Rodriguez last year. Beating Puha 8-4 in the final to get there having gone 3-0 in both group stages and then taking out John Hurring in the semi final. Apparently he averaged 96 in the final there, which isn't bad, and put up a respectable 93 average against Gerwyn Price in the New Zealand leg of the World Series (albeith that is likely inflated a bit given Price was averaging 105). That isn't a bad standard by any stretch of the imagination, and if he comes up against one of the lower picks from the Pro Tour, and while Mansell isn't a bottom tier player, he's certainly not top tier, he stands a good chance. Still think Mickey should be the favourite, but this does feel like the sort of game which Robb can win. Maybe 35%, 40%, something like that - assuming he does play, watching Ben's performances in the World Masters should give us a good indication of his current game, given the only data that we have were those sets against Rusty last time around. Those are just estimates, but it feels kind of right, and if we get some data that says he's going to be hitting eighteen dart legs and better on a regular basis, maybe we can edge those numbers up a touch.

Wright on the other hand is going to be a different class entirely to either of these. The defending champion and number one in the FRH rankings, he trails only van Gerwen in scoring for the last twelve months, although in terms of TV events he's been a little bit disappointing, not reaching any finals, not making the playoffs of the Premier League, and pulling out of the Players Championship Finals for understandable personal reasons. Hopefully that's not going to be playing on his mind and he's 100% coming into the defence of his title. He did have a European Tour win in September along with another couple of finals at that level, and has an identical record on the Pro Tour with an early win over Price and losses to van Gerwen and Cross. I would estimate that the difference in quality between Wright and Mansell is such that he ought to win more than four times out of five, leaving Mickey as a significant underdog, and it's hard to see how he has too much of a chance to win a set, let alone three, and Robb is likely going to be an even more distant second best.

Worlds previews starting

OK, I'm not going to go into quite so much depth as I have done in the past, but I'm going to go into a bit more depth than I would do for a regular tournament, given it is the biggest event of the year. Will go through each section of three players in order of play, so that if I get behind somewhat, I can at least catch up while the tournament is in progress.

I'm not going to place any tips until after the World Masters though. That runs the weekend before the worlds starts, and should give some vital newer data on a lot of the international players. Looking at the qualification list, we should get more information on Raymond Smith, Diogo Portela, Dave Cameron, Danny van Trijp (although we do have a fair bit on him already), Ben Robb, Sebastian Bialecki, Leonard Gates and Robert Owen. Obviously not all of them are going to get into the database proper, but seeing a fully tracked event that should be of a decent standard from a fairly early stage is going to be noteworthy and it'd be foolish to jump the gun on anything until we've seen what happens.

Edit - post will include qualification route in the title (OOM rank, Pro Tour rank, then whatever from the international pot), then each player will have their FRH ranking, overall leg record for the season (including last year's worlds), scoring (where available) and rank, and also consistency (winning average minus losing average, the lower the better).

Sunday 27 November 2022

That was the tournament that was

van Gerwen won. Who knew? Rob wasn't exactly playing badly, just a nice spurt at the end for MvG and that was that. New FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Michael Smith
4 Gerwyn Price
5 Luke Humphries
6 Rob Cross (UP 2)
7 Nathan Aspinall (DOWN 1)
8 Danny Noppert (DOWN 1)
9 Jonny Clayton
10 Dirk van Duijvenbode
11 Joe Cullen (UP 1)
12 James Wade (DOWN 1)
13 Dimitri van den Bergh (UP 1)
14 Ross Smith (DOWN 1)
15 Damon Heta
16 Ryan Searle (UP 2)
17 Dave Chisnall (DOWN 1)
18 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 1)
19 Krzysztof Ratajski
20 Chris Dobey

Not a huge amount of movement at the top end - obviously Cross's final will bump him up a bit, but Cullen getting deep didn't see him shift a huge amount, Searle going up is primarily because 16 through 18 are incredibly close, nothing more than that.

Lower down, Keane Barry is one place outside the top 40 which I'm pretty sure he has broken before, Ryan Joyce has now passed Ian White in a battle of players that could really use a result tomorrow, Scott Williams has hit the top 50 just ahead of his fellow Williams, namely Jim, while Matt Campbell rockets into the top 60. Cameron Menzies is just outside the top 75, and Ricardo Pietreczko has solidified a top 100 spot.

PDPA qualifier tomorrow, then the worlds draw after that. Draw is expected at half six UK time, I'm not going to immediately watch the draw, I'm likely going to be out to watch the Portugal/Uruguay game, and then come back afterwards to, hopefully spoiler free, do a reaction stream on Twitch and give some really brief thoughts on everything before diving in to deeper analysis. I may well chat shit during the PDPA qualifier while doing other stuff in the afternoon. Search for darts on Twitch and you'll probably find me.

PC quarters

Seems like we've cut out most of the weaker names on the Saturday, didn't see too many things in terms of huge surprises - maybe the biggest thing was Scott Williams seeing off Dave Chisnall, not an absurd upset but in current form, you'd have expected Chizzy to get that one way more often than not, Campbell went close against Noppert, Edhouse against van den Bergh, but other than those near misses, it was incredibly chalky, and thankfully we didn't actually pull the trigger on most of what we were looking at, as other than Joyce (of course we pick the wrong round to go against Wattimena) it wouldn't have done so well. Quarters coming in, here's what we think:

Rydz/Clayton - Probably the one name we didn't expect to see get this far is Callan Rydz, but he's definitely taken advantage of the draw opening up, having faced the 33, 64 and 48 seeds respectively, needed to make a bit of a comeback against Barry, but did so. Clayton's having a decent event, was pushed by Ross Smith but other than that hasn't really been put under pressure, O'Shea didn't actually average badly but didn't get the chances (and certainly didn't take any he got), while Joyce's average dropped a lot in the second game of the day, maybe ran out of a bit of steam but still looking good for the PDPA qualifier where he should be among the favourites. Clayton looks to be a little more than a 2-1 favourite, that's all you can get on Rydz, while Clayton is a little bit the wrong side. Can ignore this one comfortably.

Noppert/van Gerwen - This is going to be a great one, would really like Noppert to cause the upset to really solidify a Premier League place, he was really comfortable against Wade but pushed all the way to a decider in a bit of a scrappy game against Campbell, where it looks like he gifted the Canadian some legs easily, which he won't be able to do here. van Gerwen dealt with a brief rally by Menzies to shut the tie out, and then put down a statement average with a 10-6 win over Dimitri to reach this stage. Noppert's game is good enough that it looks like a 65/35 game to me, it's round about the same price as the game above, maybe a tick more slanted towards the favourite, which isn't anywhere near enough to consider taking Danny in this one. Very much live, but not a betting opportunity.

van Duijvenbode/Cross - Dirk swept away Gurney really comfortably before nicking an instant classic against Searle which may well end up being the match of the season - maybe if Searle didn't open up 30 then 26, it's a different story (Dirk did repay the favour first time with a 44, but not the second). Cross needed to break Anderson in a decider and did so, before getting a solid early lead against Schindler with a good run of six straight legs (albeit two were absolute gifts of breaks) and then holding out for 10-6 from there. This one is tight. Dirk should be favoured, but not by much - 55/45 looks right to me. Cross is 6/4 in places (oddschecker not behaving, so only looking at limited options), 7/4 I might be tempted, but averaging 112 over 19 legs is a scary standard.

Humphries/Cullen - Luke hit back to back ton averages yesterday, first in a 6-4 win over de Decker, then in a 10-7 win over Ratajski which could have been more one sided but for a little bit of a rally in the second session where Ratajski got a four visit break and punished two legs with missed doubles for breaks back. Joe took apart a statistically disappointing Huybrechts and was given a decent enough inspection by surprise package Scott Williams albeit one where he was never really in trouble after a 4-1 first session lead. Seems 2-1 in favour of Humphries, we can get 4/6. This is a little bit similar to the Cross analysis, except this time we've got the projection further away from 50/50 and the line is closer, and we've got the favourite as being undervalued. This is incredibly close to a play, the only thing that is a concern is that it's Cullen, who we always tend to underrate. I'm happy enough with my decision not to bet, and that is going to close the season up at just under a three unit gain with an ROI approaching 8% - a little down from last season, but still solid enough.

Elsewhere, there's a return for Dartslive this weekend but as always information is a bit sketchy and limited, but good to see a big soft tip event going ahead, and Jimmy Hendriks won the West Europe qualifier. Will see what happens tonight, then I'll try to pick out blind three players to bink the PDPA qualifier (two if Rock somehow loses to Girvan) which will naturally end up all in the same section of the draw. Be back later.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Round 3 conditional percentages

These are more for my own benefit, if I see anything of insane value I will post up a quick one or two line post after round two is done, although given the lack of value I see already, I doubt it'd come to this.

Pietreczko - 17% Gilding, 32% Barry
Rydz - 41% Gilding, 61% Barry
Joyce - 42% Smith, 33% Clayton
Wattimena - 25% Smith, 18% Clayton **FORM NOTE**
van Duijvenbode - 57% Searle, 69% Hughes
Gurney - 31% Searle, 42% Hughes
Cross - 62% Schindler, 63% Dobey
Anderson - 66% Schindler, 67% Dobey
Humphries - 66% Ratajski, 62% de Sousa
de Decker - 57% Ratajski, 52% de Sousa **CONSISTENCY NOTE**
Chisnall - 63% Cullen, 76% Huybrechts
Williams - 36% Cullen, 50% Huybrechts
Kleermaker - 15% Noppert, 24% Wade
Campbell - 35% Noppert, 49% Wade
Edhouse - 52% Menzies, 22% van Gerwen
van den Bergh - 69% Menzies, 35% van Gerwen

PC Finals round 2

Not a great day from our point of view with only de Decker getting home and nobody else truly threatening the scorers, was a bit of a mad day with so many big names tumbling out, tournament goes one of two ways at roughly the same frequency as far as I can see - either we get a bonkers final, or van Gerwen wins it all again. We'll see. Going to turbo round two projections, then make a second post with conditional probabilities for round three as I'm going to be out in between the last 32 and last 16.

Gilding/Barry - Seems like Andrew 65/35. Close to a play but with his best form earlier in the season we won't stretch our betting tolerance in this one.

Menzies/van Gerwen - 75/25 van Gerwen. Cameron played well, can get better than 4/1 which is close, but does he ever do that sort of performance back to back? Probably not.

Noppert/Wade - Just over 60/40 for Danny. He's 8/13. Looks like a perfect line.

Chisnall/Williams - Chizzy just over two in three. Not quite 70%. 1/2 is near enough correct.

van Duijvenbode/Gurney - About the same as above with Dirk being favoured. He's ever so slightly shorter than Dave above, so line is even more correct.

Cullen/Huybrechts - Joe by a little bit more than 60%. We can get 2/1 on Huybrechts, which is close, but experience has taught us to be a bit more careful when laying Cullen, so like with the Gilding game, we won't stretch to go for the punt.

Ratajski/de Sousa - Very close to a flip, Jose maybe slightly favoured, maybe push it out to 55/45 given a small uptick in form in the second half of the year. With Ratajski at 6/5 it's very close to a correct line.

Humphries/de Decker - Mike seems very live, over 40%. 12/5 looks extremely tempting. He does have a huge consistency issue, one of the highest among tour card holders, while Luke's around the middle of the pack. I should probably take this, but maybe with the field opening up, Luke's more keyed in than usual?

Kleermaker/Campbell - Matt favoured around 2/1. Maybe slightly more. 8/13 is very, very close, although Martijn has just hit by far his biggest win of the season so maybe he freerolls and outperforms with added confidence enough that it's not value?

Schindler/Dobey - Pure flip. Market has Dobey ever so slightly favoured, it's the other way around for me but it's not even 51% so leave this one alone. Maybe take whoever wins the bull 6-5 for shits and giggles.

Pietreczko/Rydz - 70/30 Callan. Seems counter intuitive. Line is 1/2 in his favour though, wouldn't be touching that seeing how Ricardo is playing a lot better now than he was six months ago, and Rydz maybe not so much. Wouldn't be surprised if Ricardo pulls another one out.

Cross/Anderson - Seems extremely close, maybe Gary has the slightly better stats. 6/5 might be worth a look, it's a bit odd that given how much the market seems to hate Cross that they have him at 4/6. A no-vig line would probably be worth the play.

Smith/Clayton - Jonny seems favoured somewhere in the middle of 55% and 60% and is coming off a whitewash, nice after a fairly middling season. 8/11 as such seems right, the Smith hype train has been normalised.

Joyce/Wattimena - This should be a fun one, Joyce is favoured fairly heavily at about 65% in the data model, but is only just edging it in the market. Jermaine is recognised to be playing a lot better of late though. Crack the data down to October onwards and it's more 55/45, although how much sample size there is, particularly for Joyce, I don't know. I will avoid this and regret it probably.

Searle/Hughes - 60/40 for Ryan. Looked like a good game on board 2 yesterday. Jamie also got the job done nicely against a tough opponent. And he's 6/4. So no.

Edhouse/van den Bergh - Dimi's favoured, split the difference between 60% and 65%. We like Edhouse here and he showed what we know he can do yesterday. 5/2 is kind of recognising it, it's enough that we can talk ourselves out of a play, but if you think he can go back to back, then we won't stop you.

Be back shortly with round three conditional lines, but there's no official tips today.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

PC Finals picks

Alright then, we've got 32 games in the opening stanza, which is being compressed a bit because football with a pretty early start as a result, so needing to get this out in decent time. Let's go through in draw order and see what value we can pick out.

(1) Heta v (64) Pietreczko - Great job by Ricardo to sneak into the field having picked up his form substantially the second half of the year, but this is a pretty brutal draw against one of the top players in the world right now - at least on the floor, TV still a bit to be desired. Looks about five in six wins for Heta, he's priced ever so slightly closer, with TV form and Ricardo getting better, that's understandable.

(32) Rydz v (33) Razma - Should be the tightest if seedings are true, Callan's been a touch out of form of late and hasn't really shown his best on TV, while Madars continues to tick up nicely, so might be favoured here. Stats actually favour Callan two to one, so 8/13 is maybe worth a look when I thought that sort of line would be not of interest.

(16) Gilding v (49) Evans - Andrew's been a little bit off the boil in the last 2-3 months, while Evans is basically living off of an early Pro Tour final and not much else. Seems a bit more than 2-1 in favour of Andrew, he's 4/7 so it's kind of like the Rydz game above, maybe actually better statistically by nearly enough to punt, but with form, do we want to?

(17) Lewis v (48) Barry - Adie got a win back in July which was good enough to get him back into major contentions, but hasn't really done a great deal beyond that, while Keane's kind of been overtook in the "hot new Irish name" charts by some distance, but doing enough to safely get into the field and is still scoring over 90 for the year, which isn't bad. Adie by a touch more than 60% for me, he's 4/6, no interest there.

(8) Price v (57) Joyce - This is kind of a tough section for Price, which was made easier with Wright's withdrawal from the opposite #9 seed, and he'll start out against Joyce who's one of the top players currently not in the worlds having only just scraped into this field. Ryan seems live enough at a little bit more than 30%, so 100/30 is very close to being worth a flyer of a punt - but with a lack of results, does he ever realise that equity?

(25) Dolan v (40) Wattimena - Talked about Jermaine a fair bit this month, very much in the ascendancy against Brendan, who's one of a few that got a bink but outside of that has been moderately quiet. Looks like Dolan's got a bit more than a 60% chance season long, maybe closer to 65%, and we can get good odds of 4/5 - I think that despite Jermaine's recent form it's worth the shot on Hills, 0.25u Dolan 4/5

(65) van Veen v (56) Smith - Newest (wait, second) major winner Smith would have played Wright here, having had a fairly weak Pro Tour season, relying on the Euro Tour mostly to get into the majors he did, he'll play van Veen who made the most of Challenge Tour promotions to get in with a huge final run late in the season. He's doing enough that he'll be projected to grab this well more than one in three, getting up near 40% - as such, 0.1u van Veen 4/1 looks amazing value.

(24) Clayton v (41) O'Shea - Jonny's done probably about as well as he can without making a final, making the top half of the seeds, while John did make a final, and isn't in the top half of the seeds. Looks real comfortable for the multiple major winner, 75-80% seems right, 2/11 is not overly ridiculous.

(4) van Duijvenbode v (61) Mansell - Dirk's one of the elite players in the world now, two titles from four finals giving him a top four seeding and a comfortable opener against Mickey, who's hit the occasional decent run but mainly been quiet. Should be comfortable for Dirk, Mansell's doing enough to get somewhere between 25% and 30%, so might be a spot of minor value at 4/1 on the Cyclone.

(29) Gurney v (36) Brown - Daryl's had a quiet year, just been plodding along with decent enough scoring, whereas Keegan has been a little bit lower in the scoring but did get an August bink from nowhere which has likely saved his card. Keegan's playing well enough that he's live, with a high 30% chance of winning, so Gurney at 8/15 is too short, while the 15/8 on Coralbrokes is in range for people who think Keegan might be able to recreate that one off run. I'm not so sure.

(13) Searle v (52) King - Ryan is up in the top 16 seeds despite moderate form for his ranking, doing most of his work early with an opening final then a back to back bink-final run. Mervyn's fallen off enough that he's stopped making majors, and looks a fair bit outclassed here, not even having a 30% shot against Searle in the opening round. 1/2 on Searle looks very close to a bet.

(20) Bunting v (45) Hughes - Two players with quiet years, Stephen has been competent enough, while Jamie is looking to get back to the levels he was at when he first joined the PDC, but would be happy climbing back towards the top 32 as a starting point. Appears close on paper, Bunting shading it a little more than 55/45, so if you're looking for action at all costs, Hughes looks to be slightly undervalued at 11/8, but it's not by enough to go with it as a recommended play.

(5) Cross v (60) Doets - Rob got two of the last seven events to come into this on a high with a top five seeding and continues to be one of the most underrated players on the circuit, he'll come up against Kevin, who's just got into the field for a second year, albeit for the second straight year he's not in the worlds as it stands. Ought to be routine enough for Rob, but Doets is doing enough to maybe nick it 30% of the time. 7/2 is not quite there.

(28) Clemens v (37) Anderson - Tricky draw for both this, Gabriel made a final this year but got annihilated and is scoring a fair bit under where he has been in previous years, while Anderson hasn't played much at all, with barely more than half the legs Clemens has played, but has done a lot more in them and should be strongly favoured. 1/2 might not be short enough, this is very similar to the Searle match in terms of how much edge there is there, I'm getting 72%. Gary's got a lot of fans who should be rewarded if they take him in this one.

(12) Schindler v (53) van der Voort - Martin's still looking for a first tour title, he has at least made a final though but couldn't get over the line, while Vincent's still hanging around the better end of the tour without a huge amount in terms of results, hence the seeding. Should win this a touch more than one in three, so the correct side to take should be Martin at 4/6, but he's not winning it quite enough to recommend a play.

(21) Dobey v (44) Nentjes - Chris has been hitting things pretty decently in majors, but didn't make a final this year so getting close to the top 20 is a decent enough place in context. He'll play Geert, a top five Development Tour player who is continuing to improve and could be one to make a deep floor run at any stage. He might have a bit of a chance in this one, more than one in three, not 40%, is 11/4 worth the punt? I think so, 0.1u Nentjes 11/4, a 10% differential is substantial.

(2) Humphries v (63) Rafferty - Luke has been most notable for the Euro Tour run, but before that he did nick his first title in the opening event and added two more finals along with enough deep runs to get the number two seed. Nathan is doing just fine but looks a little bit outclassed in this one, as Humphries should grab this 75% of the time. 1/5 is too short, but only slightly better than 4/1 on Rafferty is the kind of edge you can start thinking about, but I don't like the matchup that much.

(31) Williams v (34) de Decker - Jim was an early new winner at Pro Tour level, but didn't kick on hugely - although with a good consistency score, he's playing better than his results suggest. Mike's only two tenths below Jim on overall scoring, but with much wilder inconsistency which means the projection says he'll take it 60%. That might be a bit much, but we can get odds against, so I'll go with a small flier, 0.1u de Decker 11/10, if consistency wasn't an issue, I'd go a quarter unit, but it is, so I won't.

(15) Ratajski v (50) O'Connor - Krzysztof is still scoring at a top sixteen level, and is doing enough consistently to get a top quarter seeding, this despite just the one final this year. Willie's been showing some flashes here and there, this season being a microcosm of his whole career, and what he has shown is more than enough to think he's an extremely live dog, 40% win odds not seeming unreasonable. He's actually shorter than that at 5/4, so we won't be punting there.

(18) de Sousa v (47) Jansen - Jose's sliding down the rankings, obviously more dramatically in the real rankings than the FRH ones, but still comes in as a top 20 seed despite no finals, and will come up against one of the bigger fluke winners in recent times in Danny Jansen, who binked back on April Fool's Day and nobody is quite sure why. Ought to be easy for de Sousa here, grabbing more than three in four wins looking like where the edge is at. He's much shorter than that in the market at 2/11, better than 4/1 on Danny is theoretically value but I can't see that he'd actually get the dub in this game.

(7) Chisnall v (58) Zonneveld - Dave is playing extremely well and peaking at the right time of the year, coming in as a top eight seed following his denial of Rock's first win, only about half a point off of top ten scoring for the year. On the other hand, Niels is just in the field as one of the last few players there, scoring below 90 and looking like a 70/30 dog. Another one where the Dutchman is maybe underrated, but not enough, especially given Dave's ascendant form. 3/1? No chance I'm touching that.

(26) Williams v (39) Soutar - Scott's got a tour card locked up as a result of having binked in June despite not having a card right now, getting the twelve grand for that and adding enough to comfortably finish inside the top half of the seeds. Alan is another player like Chisnall above that is improving of late, with a confidence boosting Grand Slam run and some good floor performances to secure a worlds spot which wasn't guaranteed at all a couple of months ago. Seems like the tightest one so far, season long Scott is edging it 53/47, but with recent form I'm happy enough to call this a pure flip. As is the market, with neither player better than evens.

(10) Cullen v (55) Rodriguez - Joe continues to outperform his stats, and enters as the #10 seed mainly due to back to back binks really on in the season. Rowby has been in some majors this year, but primarily through European Tour exploits, behind closed doors it's been a case of just about getting enough to get in. Joe ought to grab this, a bit more than 60%, he's favoured a little bit more than that with 2/1 being available on Rowby in this one, which is less of an edge than some others we've turned down. Given that the projections often undercook Joe's chances, this is an easy game to avoid.

(23) Huybrechts v (42) van Barneveld - This was probably a decent match in the Premier League a decade ago, although maybe to avoid relegation. Kim's done a bit more on the floor, but neither have done a huge amount, although Raymond obviously showed that he still has enough of a game to reach a TV semi final - which might see him sneak back into the worlds as a seed. The veteran world champ looks to be the favourite, but Kim's up over 40%. 8/13 on Barney seems in the right ballpark.

(3) Aspinall v (62) Kleermaker - Nathan made another major final just last weekend but looked to have run completely out of steam, he shouldn't need to recharge that much to have the edge over Martijn, who's been pretty anonymous all year, only just got into this late and was one of the last three players into the worlds, ending up with only a one in four spot against the Stockport ace. Hype train is a little bit more, you can't get better than 2/9 on Aspinall, 4/1 isn't an inspiring punt season long, and on shorter samples is probably completely fair.

(30) Campbell v (35) Beaton - Two tour finalists meet here in a close game seedings wise, Matt losing out 8-6 to Aspinall back in April (rematch perhaps?), while Steve lost out by the same score to Wade, the final day win being more than enough to claim another worlds appearance and boost his seeding hugely here. Steve's still doing OK but isn't the player he used to be, and Matt looks a good favourite here. 4/5 seems a little bit generous, with 61% chances I'd maybe make it shorter. It's near to a play, but I think the Canadian played his better stuff earlier in the year with Steve more recently, so the line's probably about right.

(14) Noppert v (51) Whitlock - This is a good one with the UK Open champion facing one half of the World Cup champions. Can't ask for a massive amount more from an opening game, Danny's consistent high level play sees him favoured in this matchup, but Simon, despite his advancing years, is still up there and close to having 40% chances in this one despite a huge seeding differential. As Noppert is 4/6, we will ignore this from a betting perspective.

(19) Wade v (46) Suljovic - Wade took until the last day to get a win, but did so to race up the seedings right at the death. Mensur's just been tailing off of late, sliding down the rankings but still scoring above 90, and did qualify for the Slam while Wade didn't. Appears close, call it 55/45 in favour of the multiple major winner. As such, the 6/4 on Suljovic appears to be where you would want to put your money if you must have a bet on this one. I don't, but that's my take.

(6) Smith v (59) Edhouse - Michael finally claimed his first major, and did so with a group stage win over his opponent here. That was comprehensive with Ritchie just getting the one leg from 4-0 down, we mentioned in the Slam that we think Ritchie's not a bad player, but this is kind of a brutal matchup, and while a typically available 7/2 is maybe a little bit disrespectful, there's got to be a complete differential in confidence so we can ignore this one.

(27) van den Bergh v (38) Lukeman - Dimitri has just the one final this year where he was comprehensively outplayed by Cullen, and has looked quiet in general results wise, despite his scoring still being very respectable at spot on 93. Lukeman's been grinding out results and performing a fair bit better than his scoring level, although his final was on the Euro Tour so counts for little here. Three points per turn is significant enough to say Dimi will take it more than 60% of the time, Lukeman could therefore be a bit shorter than the 2/1, but not quite at the level where we can consider yet another turn up for the books.

(11) Rock v (54) Menzies - Josh has been incredible. Cameron, not so much, and is massively outclassed in this one, barely rating to win one in four. You can get slightly longer on Menzies, but we're not interested.

(22) van Gerwen v (43) Meikle - The final game is a spicy one, van Gerwen's been the best player in the world this year, while Ryan continues to fly under the radar with the potential to hit a very high level if he's on form. Maybe he does it one time in four as I'm looking at it. That seems the correct ratio. Do we want to take 7/1? I wouldn't disagree if you chose to do so, but I kind of feel as if Ryan's breakout game would be against someone of not quite so high a stature.

That's it - four plays, seems like the MO is to take the Dutch as underdogs. That normally works alright.

Monday 21 November 2022

He did it. He only fucking did it.

Congrats Michael, it's about fucking time. Both semis were kind of similar, was more or less close until a little bit after halfway through each of the games where the winner pulled through. Then in the final, seemingly Aspinall ran out of steam, which was unfortunate, but is always a factor with them cramming three bo31 matches into a little over a 24 hour period, which is somewhat of a workload. Switch to the dual tournament format as described a bit above and they can have the last sixteen on Tuesday/Wednesday, the quarters on Thursday/Friday, then the semis on Saturday and there's not the logjam. Still, can't complain, you know what the format is going in, and you can try to prepare accordingly. It's not like the PDC suddenly sprung a format change onto everyone at the last minute, they'd never do that if it'd make them a few quid, no. Not a chance. Anyway, new FRH rankings:

1 Peter Wright
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Michael Smith (UP 1)
4 Gerwyn Price (DOWN 1)
5 Luke Humphries (UP 1)
6 Nathan Aspinall (UP 2)
7 Danny Noppert (DOWN 2)
8 Rob Cross (DOWN 1)
9 Jonny Clayton
10 Dirk van Duijvenbode (UP 1)
11 James Wade (DOWN 1)
12 Joe Cullen (UP 3)
13 Ross Smith (UP 1)
14 Dimitri van den Bergh  (DOWN 2)
15 Damon Heta (DOWN 2)
16 Dave Chisnall (UP 1)
17 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 1)
18 Ryan Searle
19 Krzysztof Ratajski
20 Chris Dobey

We've now got the slightly bizarre situation where the world number 1 is currently the number 4 on the FRH rankings, this is due to the half million pound bink only counting for 7% of its overall value. Aspinall's great season sees him up to sixth, Dirk gets into the top ten for what I assume to be the first time, Cullen's quarter sees him edge up a few spots in what's a pretty close battle from 11 to 15, with 16 to 18 also fairly tight and not too far behind. Lower down, Barney's run gets him back into the top 30, while Soutar and Rock solidify top 40 places.

Not sure quite when I'll be back with a Players Championship rundown. I don't think it will be tomorrow, so I'm going to take a guess at Wednesday. Will try to run through the field and give round one tips.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Slam final day

Well, there's going to be a story one way or the other. Half the time, we get a new major champion from the players I had ranked #1 and #3 in my list at the start of the year, or we get someone rolling back the years for a first major since forever. Or Nathan Aspinall wins it. That'd be the most meh thing, but he's played well enough the last six months to be in contention and given earlier in the year there were fears that he'd either be sidelined for some time or possibly never play again, I can't be too upset. Especially given he's a Stockport lad.

In terms of punts, Humphries (again, why didn't I recommend it as a main play, hopefully you at least read the blurb and made your decision) might be undervalued a touch at 8/13. Looking year long, he looks up towards 70% - although if I cut down to just the last six months and eliminate some of the time where Nathan wasn't playing as well, it comes down to a mere two in three shot. Still favoured, but not by quite so much. It's another one where I'm not going to officially call the shot - after all, it is a game where Luke would get into easily the biggest game of his life (I keep forgetting he's played in a UK Open final), so that little bit of added pressure and/or post-beating MvG slump might cost a point or two in percentage chances.

Smith against Barney is equally really close to a play. I've got it at around 75/25 in favour of Michael whichever timeframe you look at with a decent sample size. 4/9 is the generally available price, and that's fairly close to being worth a play. That said, in terms of really short (i.e. this tournament) sample, RvB looks to be outplaying his seasonal statistics, and there is again the question of whether Smith recognising this is another really great chance to break the major hoodoo could see him snatch a double here or there and give Raymond the leg or two which makes this not a great bet. Again, another situation where I won't make the official play, but won't discourage you if you don't.

If we were to get to a Smith/Humphries final, it's going to be too close to call. Over the longest match distance you can possibly have (a world final), Humphries is favoured but by not even 1%. 50.43% is what you'd get. I'd fully expect to see 10/11 and no value, at worst evens one way and 4/5 the other if someone knocks it out of the park and/or struggles in the semi final. If Humphries was to play Barney I'd see it as 76/24 Humphries, if Smith was to play Aspinall I'd see it as 70/30 Smith - if either of those scenarios played out, I'd probably say you're getting a decent price, albeit with the caveats on Smith/Humphries mentioned in the semi final matchups. Finally, if Aspinall was to play Barney I'd be looking at around 8/11 as a fair line on Nathan. He's got the edge, but it's not by a great deal.

Expect new FRH rankings later this evening, or possibly tomorrow morning before the football, then a big Players Championship analysis dump some time in the week.

Friday 18 November 2022

Slam quarters

Damnit Rock, but what a moment hitting that nine. That game's got to have given him so much confidence.

I don't see anything of particular interest in the quarters. Cullen's a touch short as I often find him to be, but there's not enough edge on Smith, 4/7 when I have him at 70% isn't quite the margin needed. Barney simply doesn't have the game to handle Price over this distance, looks clearly better than 80/20 and Price is only as long as he is based on weird Barney name recognition factor. Would be hilarious if RvB won, but I doubt it happens. Soutar's run probably comes to an end as well, it's been more than a nice cameo but Aspinall should close that out, 2/5 looks pretty much perfect, maybe underrating Nathan by a percentage or two, 4/11 might be more accurate. Then MvG against Humphries. Would love it if Luke could get this done but van Gerwen's playing far, far too well right now for this to happen that often. That said, the projection is giving Humphries a 43% shot. And we can get better than 2/1. Hmm. That's only on whatever a Spreadex is though. If you're going to go with anything, then go with Humphries I guess. I won't recommend a play but I'll probably have a nibble on the exchange.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Slam last 16

Bit of a surprise to see Wright drop out, other than that it was pretty much as you were. Last 16 tips, gogogo:

Noppert/Price - Gerwyn rode his luck a little bit, but hit a great leg when it mattered. Noppert didn't have a great deal of trouble in his group, but still enters as around a 2/1 dog. That's maybe slightly harsh, but only by maybe 3% so not the sort of underdog value we need to consider a bet.

van Duijvenbode/Cullen - Good clash between two players pushing for the top ten and a match where Dirk's mildly favoured. Didn't win any large, but looked very solid, Joe looked OK but a bit worse. Dirk should be about a two in three favourite, 8/13 is not quite the edge we need.

Smith/Cross - Michael has got better match on match as he won the group, Rob had a good first game then lost to DvD and got out of jail vs Schindler. Smith is favoured a little bit more in the market than he should be, I'd say just under 55/45 and he's 4/6. Not enough value on Cross with the vig though.

van Barneveld/Whitlock - Raymond had his best game in some time against Price, but has mostly just been OK outside of that, Whitlock's scoring has been better and the best it's been for some time. Appears a pure coinflip, and the market agrees.

Clayton/Soutar - Jonny won the first ten legs before taking the foot off the gas completely against Heta, while Soutar needed leg difference bullshit to get through. Clayton's significantly better here, 80/20 would be overestimating Alan's chances slightly. Clayton is 1/3, so maybe a spot of value here.

Humphries/Smith - Luke did enough to win the group despite losing the final game vs Rock, while Smith probably would have been good without beating van Gerwen, but did so anyway hitting 180's for fun. Seems closer to 65/35 than 60/40 for Luke in this one, at 4/6 the favourite is the side we should be going, but there's not enough heat on Ross to consider it.

van Gerwen/Rock - If this isn't match of the season then I don't know what will be. van Gerwen won his first two and improved his scoring in the last one despite not getting home, while Rock got the legs he needed in his final game and ended up taking the last match for good measure. This is one of the few matches where Josh is legitimately the underdog, but it's only the heavy side of a coin. 0.25u Rock 7/4, this looks like a nice enough play.

Aspinall/Wattimena - Jermaine contines his resurgence with a routine win over Gates which got him the legs needed to eliminate Heta, while Nathan took down Wright to win the group. Should be a comfortable enough one for Aspinall, 70/30 seems like about the right spot, maybe slightly lower given Wattimena is peaking but he's only 5/2 so can't say a play here.

So just riding the Rock hype train some more. This'll be a real good test of where he's at.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Slam day 4

Will round out the group stage summary later this evening. Really disappointed for Schindler, Chizzy as well to some extent. Was a real weird spot where, needing 130 with Price not on a finish, he shanks a first dart low into the 20 blocking most of the bed, he thinks about it for some time, before moving along to the blocked bed, hitting, then laying up for tops. Really? If it's blocked that bad and you're not going to go for bull (and why would you), why not switch?

Soutar/Sherrock - Not touching with Fallon eliminated. Line not interesting anyway.

Wattimena/Gates - Probably not touching this either. Line looks alright with Jermaine in form, could pretty quickly become a situation where Leonard is eliminated mid match.

Clayton/Heta - Looks like a flip, have Heta slightly favoured year long, Clayton's 10-0 without doing much, going to leave it given Damon's TV troubles and given Clayton having already won the group.

Humphries/Rock - Spicy as anything. Rating Rock as slightly favoured, with Humphries already qualified maybe he takes foot off the gas? 21/20 on Josh isn't enough to appeal though.

Woodhouse/Rafferty - Nathan could potentially still get out of the group with a win, while Woodhouse would look to be in a really strong position to do so, as such this is one of the few truly live games. Hard to split these, Woodhouse maybe slightly favoured in projections. Comes in at 4/5 so no bet.

van Gerwen/Smith - van Gerwen's already through but will probably want to pick up enough legs to keep top spot, three legs would see him guaranteed to win the group. Smith could do with simply not getting annihilated, as a Rafferty win coupled with a moderate loss may be enough. 2/1 is the line, I thought we might have got more, I've got Smudger at 37% so nothing here.

Wright/Aspinall - Peter is not already through, and cannot afford to lose this as if we assume that Soutar smashes Fallon, a 5-3 loss might see him out. Aspinall basically has to win. The line is a lot closer than I thought, I'd have guessed Wright at around 4/7, although his scoring in this tournament has been bad. Nothing here.

Searle/Williams - Final game, Williams needs to win and for him and Humphries to win by a combined five legs, Searle is probably out with a Rock win, but if Humphries wins he's still got a little bit of leg difference to catch unless Humphries wins large. Appears 65/35 in favour of Ryan, line's around there.

So no bets. Again.

Monday 14 November 2022

Slam day 3

Day 2 was a bit unfortunate. The proposed Barney bet would have won at a solid price, that would have allowed a bit of leeway to have more shots, which might have been up and down.

Onto the final group stage, and we get the yearly clusterfuck of meaningless games, leg difference comedy, and easy spot fixing opportunities. As such, I am not going to look at the Barney/Evetts or DvD/Gawlas games, as neither have anything to play for outside of small numbers of ranking points and/or trying to spot fix your way to manipulating the draw (although given the PDC still idiotically put both players from a group into the same fucking quarter, you're only delaying things by one game). Of course, if they switched to a dual tournament format, which works perfectly in other sports, where it plays the same up to now, except whoever is 2-0 is the group winner, whoever is 0-2 is 4th, then the last two (which, for great narratives, can be a rematch, as you'd see in the Suljovic/Whitlock group) play off for 2nd/3rd, every game counts, there's no dead rubbers, no leg difference, no nine dart playoffs - basically it eliminates the entirety of the bullshit that makes the Slam group stage terrible. Oh well. Maybe some day.

Noppert/Suljovic - Noppert continues to be solid, Mensur continues to be meh, Danny only needs three legs to qualify but should get all five around 65% of the time. Market is 2/1, so they think a touch more, understandable given how the first two games have gone.

Price/Chisnall - The two best players in the group play off for one spot. Both have looked alright, maybe Price a touch better, looks 55/45 Price on long data so 6/4 on Chizzy is half worth a look. If he wins the throw and the market doesn't adjust to that, then what the hell?

Cullen/Ashton - Both the ladies have looked way off the level needed, Cullen's not been brilliant but will be more than steady enough. 1/9 isn't worth a look though.

Smith/Edhouse - Smith needs two legs, but will probably get all of them two times out of three. Which makes Edhouse all the more tempting at 10/3, although maybe he's already checked out given he needs to both win, and if it's not 5-1 or better (to overtake Smith), needs to win by more than Cullen beats Ashton. Can avoid Ritchie, would guess he's on auto pilot and hasn't been looking brilliant in the first two games.

Cross/Schindler - Probably the best game on paper, and it's a straight playoff, probably Cross favoured by approaching 60%, Martin is only 13/10 so there's enough market knowledge to make this a no bet. Maybe they've picked up on Schindler but still continue to undersell Cross?

Whitlock/Perez - Ought to be routine for Simon here. The win should be automatic, and 1/6 isn't tempting despite the mediocre play from Christian, he's just got to be a bit careful and win by at least 5-3, as a 5-3 Suljovic win would mean that they're both on four points and +2, with Whitlock on 0 leg difference right now, he can't be lackadaisical here.

No bets. Wasn't expecting many, and probably not going to get many tomorrow either, if any at all.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Slam day 2

Lost the only bet, only a small flier anyway. Some minor surprises on day one, what do we think of day 2?

Noppert/Whitlock - Danny was below par and nearly let Perez steal a win, will need to improve against Whitlock, who wasn't brilliant against Suljovic but did enough. Seems like around 60/40 for Noppie, that's fine.

Chisnall/Evetts - Dave wasn't brilliant against Barney who took his chances, while Ted wasn't too bad against Price but was just outclassed. Should be a routine three out of four match for Chizzy, market has it a little bit shorter again but not enough to consider Evetts here.

Price/van Barneveld - Both players did what they needed to here without ever really getting into top gear. Gerwyn should be strongly favoured to get through here, talking 70/30. As such, 7/2 on Barney is getting into the ballpark where I could consider a punt, especially with the crowd likely to be on his side. That's only on Hills, wouldn't take the 3/1 elsewhere. I'm not going to take the shot, but wouldn't disagree with you if you did take 7/2.

Rock/Williams - Josh maybe still getting a little bit used to the TV, losing a tight one to Searle which wasn't too impressive a game, while Scott got behind to Luke Humphries early and could never really recover. The price of 1/3 on Rock looks fine, maybe a vig free line would be slightly closer.

Humphries/Searle - Key match this, Luke was fine against Scott, Searle was not great against Rock but found a way to win. Humphries should be favoured fairly small in this one, 4/7 is a little bit too much, but a typical line of 11/8 on Searle is on par with where I'd expect things to be.

Schindler/Gawlas - Adam had a nice two leg cameo against Cross before Rob rolled things, while Schindler was edged out by Dirk in a decider which looked like a good game. Important one for Schindler to try to give himself a chance in the group, he's favoured but maybe shouldn't be quite as short as he is. I've got Gawlas at slightly over 35%, the price is close with some people offering 5/2, but there's not enough certainty to take the Czech prospect.

Suljovic/Perez - Christian looked alright against Noppie, but didn't seem to have an extra gear when needed, while Suljovic had a bit of a plodding game and could bring Perez into the equation if he repeats. Lacking data on Perez so can't give a great estimate, 10/3 should be considered if you like what you saw yesterday.

Smith/Cullen - Michael was up and down with three bad legs and five solid to very good legs, while Cullen did what Cullen does, being a little bit of Wade 2.0 getting the win without doing anything notable statistically. Smith should get this a little more than 60% of the time, market has it ever so slightly tighter so no play.

Aspinall/Sherrock - Nathan was fine against Soots, Alan was just a little bit better in the key moments. Sherrock was definitely meh against Wright. Aspinall wins but 1/11 is a bit lol.

Edhouse/Ashton - Ritchie didn't play too good in the opener, then again, neither did Lisa, although she still somehow managed to win three legs. Can't recommend 2/7 on Edhouse, we've seen enough from Lisa that despite not having the data she ought to be able to cause the upset roughly that often.

Cross/van Duijvenbode - This one should be the pick of the day, Cross looked superb after a couple of initial slow legs, while Dirk might have had the best performance of the day in a game against Schindler which went the distance. Very little to separate the two by, I've got DvD as a tiny favourite, call it 10/11? Nothing in the market to get excited by.

Heta/Gates - Damon continues to disappoint on TV, getting a couple of solid legs in but missing doubles and not really scoring enough elsewhere. Leonard wasn't terrible despite the scoreline, just couldn't get enough points on the board early enough in the legs to threaten Clayton, which is a little bit surprising as his power scoring isn't bad. Heta's extremely short, maybe slightly too short, I'd have gone with a 1/4 line, maybe pushing 2/9, rather than 2/11, but there's not enough to consider Gates here. Maybe if he'd nicked a leg or two you could start to think about it, but that might play on his mind a touch here.

Clayton/Wattimena - Jonny was fine, not really being threatened by Gates, while Jermaine continues to give us hints that he might be returning to form, maybe not to the stage where he was pushing towards the top 16, but at least enough that he can start to make steps back towards the top 32 and with it potential major qualification. Season long line says Wattimena ever so slightly more than one in four, and you can get 11/4 - so that looks right, but if you favour very small sample form, then don't let me stop you taking the Dutchman as it's break even on larger samples.

van Gerwen/Woodhouse - Michael was solid enough against Rafferty, not letting the youngster really make an impression on the game, while Luke edged it against Ross Smith which could be absolutely critical in this group. I'm very close to taking a flier on Woodhouse here. He's 4/1 widely available, and I'm thinking he shows enough that in a short format he'll get it 28% of the time. It's that marginal to a recommended play, that if money comes in on Michael and moves the line, it'd only take one tick for me to go for it.

Wright/Soutar - Peter won comfortably without even getting out of neutral, while Alan hit the good legs at the right time to get the key win over Aspinall. Like Wattimena a couple of paragraphs up, Soutar is another one that seems to have been regaining some of his form over the last month or so, but this is still going to be a tough ask, and getting one in four here would be generous. 10/3 looks close to a spot on line.

Smith/Rafferty - Ross lost to Woodhouse from 3-1 and 4-3 up, so will need to put that disappointment behind him in what's realistically a win or bust game for him. Rafferty doesn't have quite the same pressure given he has already played MvG so could still be live with a defeat, but a win would put him very live in a likely playoff for second against Woodhouse. He might be slightly undervalued, I'm thinking 65/35 in favour of Smudger, and we can get a little longer than 2/1. Not enough of a deviation to consider a bet though.

I'm off to catch up on WDF action from Malta and Ireland, and will likely come with the Monday plays shortly before kickoff.

Friday 11 November 2022

Slam day 1 - any picks we like?

Likely going small on most given that there is quite some variance and a lack of data on several players.

0.1u Edhouse 21/10 vs Cullen, Ritchie is not a bad player and the underlying stats in a short race suggest, even accounting for the seeming fact that my model under appreciates Cullen, that he is significantly better than a 40% shot to take this one. With north of 2/1 available in a couple of reputable places and 2/1 on the nose generally available, I'll take the stab here.

And that is literally it. There's enough data on most of the players, and everything is within relevant tolerances, so no bets beyond Ritchie. Go on lad.

Thursday 10 November 2022

Slam - let's pick groups

A - This one seems relatively easy to call. Evetts has had a relatively poor year and is a couple of points per turn behind Barney, but Barney is closer to Evetts than he is to either of the other two in the group. The gap between Price and Chisnall is closer than you think, but the Welshman still has the edge. Current form might make it closer.

B - Noppert is the clear class of the field. Suljovic and Whitlock are both declining talents who have had quiet years (at least in unranked events), with Whitlock dropping out of the top 32 and Suljovic not far behind. Mensur probably playing the better stuff, but it's close. Perez is the wild card, the play he put up to get here was not good, and he seems easily favoured to finish last, but over a short distance maybe he can up his game.

C - This is a bit of a mish mash of a group. Smith's easily the best player but is still looking for that first major. Edhouse did well to make it and has been scoring just a shade under 90 per turn this season. Cullen's basically smack in the middle of them statistically. Then we've got Ashton, who looking at the Women's Series stats should be nowhere near any of them.

D - This is spicy. There's not much to separate Cross and van Duijvenbode, the former world champ probably playing slightly worse stuff this season, while Schindler's still up above 92 a turn and apart from maybe group H, is the clear best "third" player. Adam Gawlas completes the group, still very up and down, he is perfectly capable of nicking stuff in a short format (he is very reminiscent of Madars Razma from 3-4 years ago), but is nearly five points below anyone in the group and will need to play a blinder to get something here.

E - This seems straightforward. Wright is scoring the second highest out of anyone with a decent sample size this year. Aspinall is at a competent 92 for the year, and playing better in recent months so might be closer than the numbers suggest. Soutar is below 90 for the year after a terrific debut season and this is a good spot to try to pick up some form. Then we have Sherrock, who may well show up just because TV when she's not done anything of note on the floor, but hasn't done a thing in the World Series either. Might be a profitable lay spot.

F - This one looks to have the best top two in Heta and Clayton. Maybe. Both top 8 in scoring for the year. Seems fairly obvious that they'll take the two spots, Wattimena has had a good couple of weeks but is below 90 for the year when both the above are above 94. Gates is going to be a wild card, is scoring pretty consistently and not actually too far off what Wattimena is doing overall over a good 150+ leg sample. Lack of scoring might be a big problem though.

G - van Gerwen's still the best player in the world and will take the group. Second is up in the air - Ross Smith probably has the edge in terms of confidence (being the most recent major winner) and scoring (just short of 92), but Woodhouse and Rafferty are extremely close to one another statistically (both just above 89, only separated by a hundredth of a point scoring, Woodhouse doing better on winning legs, Rafferty a bit more consistent) and are within the range where they can give Smudger some issues.

H - This is the best group. Humphries is the seed, but despite being fifth in scoring isn't the top player in this group. Josh Rock is. Ryan Searle's also in there and is in the top sixteen of scoring, so cannot be ruled out at all, while Scott Williams has a scoring rate over 90 and a Pro Tour win, and just knows how to win over short distances. Whether TV becomes an issue for him, who knows, but he cannot just be inked in to fourth just by looking at the quality of the other three.

Bets for day one tomorrow evening.

Monday 7 November 2022

Only TV from here

Floor is done for the year. Price won PC29 over surprise finalist Gian van Veen, while Wade won PC30 over an equally surprise finalist Steve Beaton, who was looking OK for the worlds, but is absolutely safe now. Some big names couldn't force their way into the worlds - White, Joyce, Petersen, Lennon, Meulenkamp and more will all need to go through the PDPA qualifier. A lot of people are also reliant on that to try to save their card - Kuivenhoven, Zonneveld, Mitchell, Borland and Jeff Smith are best placed, as a win there would put them into the top 64 as things stand, but any other results going against them could drop them into the situation where they need to win their opening match. Scott Williams doing anything other than the minimum would bump the cutoff up another 1250 quid. Gawlas also has a similar shot. Keegan Brown has a winnable Players Championship Finals matchup. But the key thing is to get there first and then worry about specifics later.

We're expecting the Grand Slam draw later today, but for now, new FRH rankings (Grand Slam mincashes are included, move de Sousa up a couple of spots if you want to exclude them):

1 Peter Wright
2 Michael van Gerwen
3 Gerwyn Price
4 Michael Smith
5 Danny Noppert
6 Luke Humphries
7 Rob Cross
8 Nathan Aspinall
9 Jonny Clayton
10 James Wade
11 Dirk van Duijvenbode
12 Dimitri van den Bergh
13 Damon Heta
14 Ross Smith (UP 2)
15 Joe Cullen
16 Jose de Sousa (DOWN 2)
17 Dave Chisnall (UP 1)
18 Ryan Searle (DOWN 1)
19 Krzysztof Ratajski
20 Chris Dobey

Smith didn't do quite as well as Cullen in the last two events, but a huge percentage of his money not degrading helps a lot. Two semi finals from Chizzy gets him above Searle. Lower down, Schindler is closing down on the top 25 as well as the German number 1 spot and could get both of them if he gets out of his Grand Slam group, Josh Rock is up to #37, Beaton's final puts him a couple of spots outside of the top 50 while a great weekend for Jermaine Wattimena gets him back inside that elite group. Good runs from Mike de Decker gets him to #55, while van Veen's final sees him crack the top 100 for the first time.

I've been meaning to update the Second/Third Division Darts results for a couple of weeks now and will get round to it now, expect thoughts on the Slam some time later in the week after the draw has been made.