Sunday 31 December 2023

Day 13 thoughts, quarter final bets

Williams/Heta - Seemed kind of poor from Heta that. Not really scoring enough to pressure Williams, who didn't need to do a massive amount or really up his game from what he's been doing all season.

Gurney/Chisnall - Pretty solid from Dave this. Feel that if Gurney wanted a realistic chance he needed to put away the second set from 2-0 on throw, and letting Chisnall break in the decider in seven visits is an issue. Was a good bit of rallying to get things level in sets, but then Chizzy was superb from there only losing the one leg and taking the rest in five visits. 

Cross/Clayton - 4-0 might be a bit harsh, Jonny wasn't playing bad, he only really had the shot to take the four legs he did when Rob was a bit off. Every other leg he took out in five visits. Can't do a massive deal about that, other than hold your own legs in five more often than Clayton was able to do, which wasn't very often at all.

Dolan/Anderson - More steady stuff from Brendan. Gary just took two and a half sets to turn up, can't be doing that in a race to four sets. He did at least salvage set three and then looked very good, but Brendan then didn't really do much wrong in set six to get things to a decider, then Gary has eighteen darts to win legs 3-4 and gets neither. Whoops. That puts us further down for the tournament and I doubt we have the runway to get out of it, or even put too much of a dent into the deficit for that matter.

van Barneveld/Littler - This might be the best Luke's looked all tournament. Eleven of fourteen legs won in five visits or better (four were in four), extreme pressure on the ones that Barney was able to win, and was enough to secure my pre-tournament call that he would make the quarters. Barney didn't do much wrong in the slightest, he was just outplayed. Of course, with the opposite eighth being messed about by Dolan, and with the remaining players in the same half not being among, say, the top five in the world, there's every chance now that Littler gets to the final. Of course, the next one is the big one, as that'd sort out the tour card situation, have his worlds money stay on the balance sheet, and make any Kleermaker returning his card question moot (and, quite possibly, fuck over Steve Lennon in the process).

Humphries/Cullen - Think we've probably got our match of the year here. Cullen got out early, Humphries pulled it back, we get to 3-3, then we have missed match darts, Humphries looking like he's got it in leg 9 only to fuck it up himself in leg 10, then do what champions do - hit a four visit kill against the darts to win it in sudden death. Wow.

Quarters go tomorrow:

Dobey/Cross - Market is finding it very difficult to split the two, both played really well to this point and both are odds on. I'm finding it extremely tough to separate them, maybe Rob has the tiniest of edges and does have the advantage of having won one of these length games before, but it's not much and I can't see any value in going either way here.

Littler/Dolan - These odds seem a bit silly. Dolan's already beaten two better players than Luke in this tournament, and he's widely available at 4/1. Yes, there's an unprecedented amount of hype, and probably public money that is throwing this one off, but Dolan's got a clear one in three chance. Not one in five. 0.1u Dolan 4/1, but I'd wait until closer to the off as at least the exchanges will probably offer better value nearer to the time.

van Gerwen/Williams - Clear no play here. Williams is long odds against, as you would expect, but his projections at any time don't get to more than 15%, which is more or less bang on where his 6/1 line is. If you like Scott's game and relative chances, look to the handicaps, possibly the alternative handicaps - once you know who's won the bull.

Humphries/Chisnall - This one ought to be fairly competitive - Dave's won against a big name at this stage of the tournament before and has been playing really solid stuff all season - year long, I'd give him at about a 35% chance, bring it down to more recently when Luke's been on fire, and I'd stick it down to around 30%. With Chizzy being just shorter than 2/1, that's in the realms of about right and I can't see any sort of discernable play here. Maybe if you think previous matches have taken a lot out of Luke, I don't know. I won't be touching it though.

Friday 29 December 2023

Day 12 thoughts, day 13 bets

Only outstanding bet got over the line for a tiny profit, let's whack through the Friday evening then look at what should be a great Saturday session (for which I'll probably miss the majority as for some reason I'm watching us get dicked away to Man City):

Heta/van Peer - Solid bit of crisis management by Damon here. Would be very easy to think "zomg down two sets" rather than down one break, but he levelled things up, got through some more missed doubles, and then finished the game in style. Solid tournament from Berry, he was clearly never going to win a thing here as I'd drawn him in a sweepstake, but plenty to draw on and every reason to think he's in the ballpark of being able to retain a card 24 months from now.

Clayton/Ratajski - Looked to be moderately tight on paper. Ratajski just had a couple of rough legs with the darts in the first set, and that was enough. Jonny wasn't convincing, but Krzysztof couldn't really do enough to get the break back.

Williams/van Barneveld - Disappointing from Jim this one. Blew chances to win the first set, got the second, then went to pieces for two sets - Barney looked good in the third, but the fourth should have been won. Showed some signs of life in set five but the damage was already done, Barney's going to need to play better on Saturday.

Krcmar/Anderson - Let's give credit where it's due to Boris - looked very good throughout the match, especially in the first set with that key huge out, seems to be mainly a case of Ando picking his game up after that first one and really limiting what Krcmar was able to do. Don't think Boris will be too displeased with this one in retrospect, and it's shown somewhat of what he's able to do on the floor on TV, which has been missing for a while prior to this tournament.

van Gerwen/Bunting - Stephen wasn't on his full magnificent form in this one, which was probably required ante post, and was definitely required as things played out - van Gerwen played excellent stuff, not missing much of anything and not really giving Bunting too much of a chance. Shame really, I thought this one was going to be fantastic, but these things are sent to try us.

Smith/Dobey - Don't say we didn't warn you. We've known Smith has not been anywhere near as good in 2023 as he was in 2022, and we knew whoever he would face in this round was going to give him a stern test. Chris did, and the result showed - 4-0 did surprise me, but the result overall? Not in the slightest.

We'll see the rest of the last sixteen out tomorrow, so do we see any value:

Williams/Heta - Both players got forced to seven sets in the previous game so have been tested, Williams in a game he probably wasn't expected to win, while Heta was the opposite. Can't really see any value in this one to be honest - any sort of sample is never giving Damon less than a two in three chance, but it's rarely giving him more than 70% ever - so with him being priced at 1/2 and players appearing to not favour our (really slight) temptation in the market based on what they've done in this tournament, we shut up. Quickly.

Gurney/Chisnall - Market has this 60/40 in favour of Chizzy, which I thought might have been more one sided based on how they've played this year, but maybe the market's recognised that Daryl's good. Year long, it looks just about right, maybe slightly underestimating Dave a tad, but if we come back down to more form based samples, it drifts into Daryl's favour - not in the slightest amount to favour a bet, there's only a couple of places which are random that are offering 6/4, but I don't think that's close enough for anything other than a micro play. We won't recommend it.

Cross/Clayton - Actually one of only two last sixteen games which is being played as the seedings suggest, and we get the 8/9 game. This is a weird one to call - Rob's the 1/2 favourite, which on year long stats looks incredibly lol, but as we've talked about in the past, Jonny's best games were extremely front loaded. Post-UK Open gives him less than 40%, May onwards gives him barely one in two, which is where the line lies. Factor in he looked like complete arse today, with just four of thirteen won legs being in fifteen darts, there's no reason to think that things are changing. Another one we're not going to touch, expect Rob to get through this one comfortably but at the line we're not interested.

Dolan/Anderson - Gary was solid tonight, given a bit of a wake up call by Boris in the first set, and he then woke up. Dolan yesterday we know about, and he was fine, but I question Dolan's ability to be able to go two of those sorts of games back to back more than I question Ando's ability to do the same. 0.25u Anderson 2/9, I would go stronger but I'm just playing slightly cautiously given I'm not sure how Ando will react at this stage of his career to back to back days with games of a decent length. It is probably going to look like excessive caution in hindsight, but I'd rather just limit the potential large liability when I have small doubts going at these sorts of odds.

van Barneveld/Littler - Barney was merely OK today, that's it, not going to repeat any Littler hype either. Market has real trouble separating them over long samples, but it does cut down to more of a 60/40 edge (then growing stronger) in favour of Littler as we get to more form based stuff, so I'm thinking that the play, if anything, is on Barney - Luke's had some weird social media bullshit be a bit of a distraction, I'm sure he'll be fine but it is a bit of uncharted territory so I'm not sure how he'd react. I don't think there's anywhere near the confidence to take Raymond at 15/8 though.

Humphries/Cullen - This feels like the most stable of the games, and the one that feels the most acca safe. I'm not seeing Luke at anything lower than 75% in any sample, and it does grow more towards, and surpassing, 80%, as we get more form based to better recognise how well he's playing right now. He's had a rest day after that real test he was given, and he should be fine - 4/11 on at least 365 doesn't seem like an awful play, I don't think I can get any sort of realistic situation where I think it's safe enough to recommend a play, but Joe's chances are solidly lower than what the market is offering.

So just the one play, other stuff you might consider, but if you take it, it's not on me if you lose. Back before the quarters.

Thursday 28 December 2023

Day 11 thoughts, day 12 bets

Really rough round three continues. Let's go:

Hempel/Bunting - Stephen continues to look absolutely fantastic. The "most underrated player on the tour" moniker that a few of us were using is completely done at this stage. Null, void, everything. Florian didn't play bad - he can come out of that game with no regrets, maybe he could have been a bit tighter on doubles and nicked a set, but there was zero chance he was winning that game. Phenomenal display.

Cullen/Searle - Doubles, simple as. That killed our bet. First set can't do too much, second set racked up the stats but I don't think there was a huge turning point in that one, third set was trivial then fourth set Joe repaid us the favour in the last leg. Last leg of set five was what killed us. Joe was OK, but he wasn't unbeatable, and the opportunities were there for someone to beat him. Ryan generated them, just didn't take them.

Smith/Dobey - You know how I was saying that this session was the best of the five that were scheduled for round three, at least on Twitter? This game proved that. Absolutely fantastic game. Anyone who had tickets for this session got the value I thought they would do. I'm not sure that there was a great deal to separate the two - just looks like Ross was maybe a little slower out of the blocks, and Chris had just a bit better timing. Doesn't take much to separate two evenly matched players like these.

Price/Dolan - Oh wow. Did not expect that one in the slightest. Could Price have done anything hugely different? Maybe, he missed some darts in sets three and five, but not a bucketload, the killer was the final leg, where he's got the darts back, then fails to score. Give credit to Brendan where it's due, was an excellent game, but this has opened everything up hugely.

Humphries/Pietreczko - Ricardo can come out of this one with no regrets, he put everything into it, was playing absolutely fantastic stuff, but just seemed to run out of steam when he'd got himself into the winning position. I know it's a bit of a lazy diatribe on the face of it, but this does have inklings of the Smith/Schindler game from the stage last year where Michael was in the shit but dug himself out of it. Luke knows he's dodged a bullet here, so we'll see what goes on from here.

Evans/Gurney - This one doesn't seem quite as bad as some people were making out on various media that I was monitoring, it just seemed to got through a couple of rough patches, mainly Ricky not finishing off set two, then set four was a bit of a dumpster fire. Still, Gurney got through, and he's not without chances next round at least.

We've already called the round three games for tomorrow, but there's two round four games, and they feature the Michaels. Do we fancy either of them? In van Gerwen against Bunting, no. The market seems to have caught up with Stephen very quickly as you would expect, and is only really calling it around 60/40. That doesn't seem unreasonable. Got to trust the longer data - I absolutely believe Bunting can win this one, and on a personal level hope he does, but I'm not tipping on a personal level. There's no way I can justify a recommendation on Bunting at barely longer than 6/4. Similar on the Smith/Dobey game - except here, the data is a bit more in our favour in that it is saying that Chris is playing the better darts throughout the year. SLIGHTLY. It's really, really marginal - at best I'm seeing 55/45 in certain samples, and it's a lot closer than that in most. I can't really say with enough confidence that 11/10 gives us enough edge that it's a tip to recommend. For entertainment purposes? Go ahead, Bunting/Dobey double, it doesn't seem like it's an awful bet and it will give entertainment. For profit? I think we may be close to done for the event, and we may need to be closing the book unfortunately down unless something really weird happens. I'll be back tomorrow evening for the other six last sixteen games.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Day 10 thoughts

An extremely frustrating day at the office - let's go through things:

Williams/Schindler - This was all going so unbelievably well. Open up with two sets where you were basically unplayable, alright Scott picks things up in the third, but the fourth is where things get concerning- first leg is a dumpster fire, Scott holds, then we get two very good back to back legs where we bring things back on throw, just need to hold for a 3-1 lead in sets, then throw 15 darts and not even leave yourself on a finish. Then you wake up, cruise set five, have Scott in fairness play extremely well to give himself a chance, then after leaving yourself on 36 after 9, you miss three clear to throw for the match. Then in the deciding set, you get the break, miss a dart to go 2-0 up, miss a dart to go 2-1 up, miss a dart to go 3-2 up, then hit one big treble in fifteen darts. Will give credit to Scott where it's due, he played some excellent stuff and hit the scores and the outshots where he needed to, but this was a choke, pure and simple.

Chisnall/Clemens - Pretty much just need to look at the doubling percentages to understand this one. Clemens had 60 visits in the legs he lost and averaged 96. That is extremely good for a losing leg stat - he just needed to convert those into winning legs. Chances were missed, Dave played a very good game himself, and Clemens had no answers - or he had the answers and fluffed his lines. This should be a nice confidence boosting game for Dave as we enter the last sixteen stage.

Cross/de Graaf - Jeffrey did a good job in sticking around, but Rob was much improved from the opening game and was playing well enough to deny de Graaf any real chance on paper. Still, it wouldn't have taken a great deal from Jeffrey to make this one really interesting - one steady leg at the end of set one gives him a break, he nicks set three, then in set four he just needed a fifteen on throw in the decider to take it. That would have made it 3-1 in sets to de Graaf, then he won set five with a good display. Narrow margins, and I don't think that it was unreasonable to suggest de Graaf could have nicked this one. But he didn't, and it would have overturned Rob averaging 100+ in the most opportunistic way possible.

Campbell/Littler - The Littler hype train continues. First set was a bit of a cluster but once that was done Luke put his foot down, I think pretty much any player in the world loses set two there, he was maybe fortunate in set three to get it (should certainly have made the last leg easier given five perfect to start the leg), but the fifth set was solid enough. Matt didn't do a great deal wrong - Luke was just better.

van Gerwen/Veenstra - Richard just seemed a bit off his game here, whether he was intimidated by his opponent, I don't know, but he had one off leg in the third of set one, then van Gerwen put the foot to the floor, four visit break, unplayable in set two, steady in set three and the game is done. Don't think Veenstra will be overly disappointed with his returns, as I think he would probably have expected to lose this one, just a bit on an unfortunate draw.

Smith/Razma - Alright, this one was a bit annoying. Madars took the first set, looking comfortable, second set Smith was certainly better (although getting that 103 out in the fourth would have made things fun), third set Razma was poor, but the fourth set was an annoyance - immediately gets the break back, holds in five visits, then on throw in leg four for the set, can't finish 60 and with a half chance in the fifth, wanting 207 with Smith on 146, doesn't try for a 171 to leave 26 and instead doesn't even get down to a finish and the terminal damage is done.

All in all, I think I'd take both bets again, it is extremely easy to just look at a lost bet and assume you've made a mistake, but I don't think I was on the wrong side of either of them. We'll reload tomorrow, I'm especially looking forward to the afternoon session which looks a beauty. Will be back when they can be arsed to announce which round four games are played on the Friday and not the Saturday.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

Round 3 thoughts and tips

OK lets go:

Williams (3-1 v Muramatsu, 3-0 v Noppert) v Schindler (3-1 v Wattimena) - This isn't a bad game to start off with in the slightest. Scott's outperformed his form over the year by a decent amount, and Martin's not the toughest seed he could face, although I do not mean in any way that Schindler's bad or that this will be an easy match, he looked pretty decent against Jermaine. Market has this one moderately close - Scott hasn't played bad, but over any sort of longer term form Martin is the better player by some distance, Williams floating around with, at best, a one in four shot or just a marginal fraction better. 0.25u Schindler 8/15 looks a solid play, may be slightly better available on fringe books or exchanges.

Chisnall (3-1 v Menzies) v Clemens (3-1 v Leung) - Not a bad follow up game, both player will think this is a decent game to get into the last sixteen with the draw opened up through to the quarter finals. Chizzy's the better player and I don't think anyone's going to dispute that, but the extent is questionable - year long, this looks Dave a fraction over two in three, but drag down to a bunch of differing shorter samples and Gabriel gets up to just over a 40% shot. I think the right amount is probably somewhere between those two figures, so I don't think Chisnall being priced at 8/13 is in any way unreasonable. That's definitely the way I would lean if at all, Clemens at 7/5 offers zero interest, just a question of how much you trust Clemens' game as to whether 8/13 on Dave is value.

Cross (3-0 v Tricole) v de Graaf (3-2 v Edhouse, 3-1 v de Sousa) - Extremely hard to look past Rob in this one, despite a pretty mediocre showing in round one where Thibault dragged him down to his level a tad. Jeffrey's been a great story and he's got solid wins against two so-so opponents, but Cross is a different level. I can't see any sample where the Swede is even projecting at a 10% chance, such is the level of difference in quality. I'm not going to recommend any plays, we've seen enough from de Graaf that it's reasonable to believe that he's playing a bit better than historical trends, and that might be enough to make a typically available 1/6 on Cross lacking the sort of edge we want to call the shot, but this looks at least "acca safe".

Campbell (3-2 v Ilagan, 3-2 v Wade) v Littler (3-0 v Kist, 3-1 v Gilding) - Real hard to call this one with any sort of accuracy given the level of hype on Luke, we were thinking last time to go with Gilding out of general principle, and I think looking back at the lines in question and the actual match, that would have been the play, but what do we think for this one? Really hard to look past Luke on this one. Looks like around 70% to 75% season long, don't want to drop too much further in sample as it runs into sample issues moderately quickly, but that pushes Matt's chances down further. 3/10 on Luke doesn't seem unreasonable in that context so I'll just move on.

van Gerwen (3-0 v Barry) v Veenstra (3-0 v Robb, 3-0 v Huybrechts) - This is purely down to whether we have the belief in Flyers' game to take 6/1. For that to be neutral EV we need 15% chances, and he's showing a touch over 20% season long, rising slightly with samples starting around the UK Open, but dropping off more towards where there's no value whatsoever. It is clearly not safe to put Michael into an acca, but I'm not sure I've been quite convinced by what Richard's done in the first two rounds, even though he beat Huybrechts without dropping a leg, to actually say to fire on him, even at 6/1. I'm probably just being a coward though.

Smith (3-2 v Doets) v Razma (3-1 v de Decker) - Similar sort of price in this one - do hate it when they load their uncompetitive games into evening sessions because big names, but what can you do, if you've got that banger of a Thursday afternoon session you're not complaining in the slightest. I'm actually more inclined to take the shot on Madars here, this is despite the worse odds (more or less 5/1 everywhere, a tad longer in some obscure books) and relative worse performance. I'm seeing Madars at a touch over one in four season long, and it bumps up to around 30%, or on occasions more, if we get smaller samples. Smith being pushed by Doets in the first round makes me think he can be pushed again, and Razma has that game where he can be unplayable for a set, have that happen at the right time and who knows. I'll take the shot here, 0.1u Razma 5/1, clearly better stuff is available on exchanges, I've just taken 7.2 on Betfair, so shop around with what you actually use, but the Latvian looks more live than the market suggests by a fair amount.

Hempel (3-1 v Slevin, 3-2 v van den Bergh) v Bunting (3-0 v Joyce) - We're seeing kind of a similar form trend to what we saw in Florian's last game, where he looks completely out of it season long, but then there's a jump at a point, round about April onwards, where Florian loses some shit data and looks a lot more competitive. That said, we're not going to use that data. Stephen looked unplayable in his first game, and it is extremely believable that a price of 1/4, which on full season data is not even -EV, is not an inaccurate line with how Bunting's form is peaking over the last two to three months. Not going to entertain thoughts of taking Hempel at 7/2.

Cullen (3-0 v Penhall) v Searle (3-1 v Goto) - This should be a fantastic game, and one which the market is finding hard to separate the two players in, only giving Ryan a tiny edge. Feels like we've talked a lot more about Searle this year than Cullen, and it's actually hinting to a betting shot with Betfred giving 5/6, and others saying the not overly different 4/5. Cullen's only at around 42% season long, and if we cut down to more form based samples, things get better, post UK Open Ryan's up closer to 65% than 60%, from June onwards it's 70/30. Everything that isn't data based makes me think Ryan's solidly better, the data at its worst for Ryan says a bet is still better than break even, form bases look good - 0.25u Searle 5/6

Smith (3-1 v Zonneveld) v Dobey (3-2 v O'Connor) - What a fantastic game to finish up a tremendous session. 16/17 matchups should be tight like this one, and I'm not finding any sort of sample where there's a significant difference between the two players. Maybe over the course of a full year, Chris is slightly better, but we're talking no more than 55/45 at best. Market is finding it equally tough to separate them with neither player being so much as evens anywhere. Just one where we ignore any bets, sit back, and enjoy the fireworks. Can get 7/1 on the game going to a tiebreak - I've seen worse random punts.

Price (3-0 v Scutt) v Dolan (3-2 v Mansell) - And then we go to what might end up being a damp squib, especially seeing how Brendan needed everything to get past a tenacious Mickey Mansell in the previous round. Can't really look at a bet in this one. Dolan is only showing at around 13% season long, which is right at the mark where the current price looks around correct. It does tail up ever so slightly as we get form based, which is to be somewhat expected given Gerwyn's game was best in the early season, but we're not entertaining a bet, Brendan will have had some time off and the efforts of the sudden death game should be in the past, but Price in a long game is that much trickier than a short one.

Humphries (3-0 v Evans) v Pietreczko (3-0 v Suzuki, 3-2 v Rydz) - Another evening session with two one sided games on paper, sigh. Would it really hurt to have the sessions moderately balanced? Oh well, it is what it is, Ricardo got through Callan keeping things a bit closer than many thought it would be, Luke had no problems as expected. Ricardo is 9/2, which is a bit kinder than I expected given that he doesn't show above 20% in any sample I'm looking at. Then again, he's not showing at below 15% in any sample I'm looking at either, so meh, next game please.

Evans (3-0 v Adams, 3-0 v Aspinall) v Gurney (3-1 v Beaton) - Interesting one. Ricky's on a complete free hit after getting the big upset, while Daryl played extremely well in his opener, and may see this as the platform to set up for a bit of a run as the draw's opened up. Daryl is favoured, and I don't think many would disagree with that assessment, but it's only around 60/40 season long, although it does push up in more form based samples to around a two in three chance. Gurney's 4/7 - that seems pretty much slap bang in the middle of both of those thoughts, and the extremes of either thought don't look great value, so I'm happy enough to move on from it.

Heta (3-1 v Lukeman) v van Peer (3-2 v Woodhouse, 3-1 v Rock) - Could be another interesting game - Damon had a weird game where it looked like he was coasting with Martin looking completely out of sorts, but then sorting things out quickly to make a game of it, whereas Berry's had to come through two very tough opponents (for the respective rounds as a minimum, but I think in general), and now gets a third which doesn't feel like an enormous step up from players he has already defeated. I'm only going to look at the full year data given the context of Berry's sample size with the key games (Challenge Tour, Dutch Open) being front loaded, and it looks about a 2-1 sort of game in favour of Captain Hadouken - so there may be a touch of value in the Dutchman, with any smaller samples saying that's probably the peak of Damon's winning chances. I guess I should be taking 5/2, but I'm getting a combination of a sense that it can't be third time lucky for Berry, that and Damon's getting a TV game together. Then again, with the quarter now open with Noppert out, he might choke. Decisions, decisions. I'll leave it for the reader to make.

Clayton (3-1 v Lennon) v Ratajski (3-1 v Hughes) - Hard one to call on the stats this. Clayton should have been out already if Lennon could hit doubles, and Ratajski didn't have things all his own way either. Find it really hard to separate the players on year long stats, Clayton pulls out a little bit on slightly shorter form based samples, get even shorter and it leans towards Ratajski, either a moderate amount or a big amount dependent on whether you include the Matchplay or not. The market, unbelievably, has this one super tight, with Ratajski being best priced at 11/10. Oh wow. Clearly we don't touch Clayton ever, if you trust form, then I don't hate a bet on Krzysztof, I'll refrain on account of we need to get down to quite small samples before Ratajski's edge explodes. If you like form, pile on.

Williams (3-0 v Madhoo, 3-0 v Wright) v van Barneveld (3-1 v Szaganski) - Is it fair to say Jim's come through a tougher opponent than Barney already? Maybe. Is it fair to say that Jim's better than Barney? That's moderately tougher - he's slightly better full year, but it's floating close enough to 50/50 in any sort of long sample that it's neither here nor there, but when we cut down to shorter samples, it does look like Raymond's playing the slightly better stuff, and when we get to something like post-Matchplay it's more like 60/40, although of course Jim's had a Pro Tour final since then. Market failing to split them seems fair enough to me to be honest.

Krcmar (3-1 v Brown, 3-1 v van Duijvenbode) v Anderson (3-0 v Whitlock) - This one is extremely simple. Ando rates as no worse than 90/10 in any sample I see, that's how good he has been. Boris has been fine, but he's not done anything special, Gary was barely tested in his first game, will be nicely rested, the odds are there to pile on, 0.5u Anderson 2/9 is there on Betfred/Chandlers, 1/5 looks equally fine, 1/6 is probably still a play but I'd trim the sizing.

That's the lot, will be back when I can see what the two Friday evening round four games are I would guess.

Sunday 24 December 2023

Day 7-9 thoughts

Alright, rounds one and two are in the books. We end up marginally down through this stage, but it's better than where we were earlier in the event, so let's see if we can rebuild into the black. Sadly we don't take me posting "Hempel, Krcmar and Jim Williams to make round three" at 50/1 in the copy book when Carl's asking about possible decent bet builders/specials, although we will gladly accept the Weekly Dartscast tip of the year award for it if that comes to fruition, let's look through the last three days before the Christmas break:

Mansell/Zong - More or less as expected. Mansell was mostly solid, but a few moderately slow legs, where if Zong had been a bit tighter and/or hit doubles, he might have pushed things a bit closer, but don't think that either can be overly disappointed with how this one went.

Woodhouse/van Peer - Luke's got to be a tad gutted about this one, this seemed like a good opportunity. First set was there for the taking, get that then we probably don't get into final set shenanigans, where Berry didn't do much special, more Luke just couldn't get a thing going there. Overall a good season, but Woodhouse has left money on the table here.

Razma/de Decker - That might be the best we've seen Razma play in a long time. Madars was generally pretty solid in finishing within five visits, didn't give Mike too much breathing room, still nothing that makes me think he stands much of a chance in round three, but promising signs going forward.

Cross/Tricole - Went as we thought. Rob was too good, despite not playing anywhere near his best himself. Cross might be alright in the next round with that sort of performance, but can't be fucking around like that too much going onwards.

Gilding/Littler - Luke wasn't at his majestic best as he was in round one, but showed enough in the first couple of sets to nick them at the key moments. Last two sets were a dumpster fire for both, but Littler had enough in the bank and got home. Probably one best forgotten.

Noppert/Williams - Scott played some really good stuff - only real duff leg was the deciding one of the first set, which was horrific for both but as Scott got home, he's not going to care much. Not really sure what to think about Danny's performance here, probably wasn't at 100%, but Williams didn't give him much breathing room either.

Clemens/Leung - Good stuff from Gabriel here. Third set was a bit of an anomaly, but outside of those three legs he really wasn't giving his opponent any chances, seven of nine legs going in fifteen darts tops. If you're facing someone at that level, it's kind of hard to do too much about it, although there were spots in set two where Leung could maybe have not missed doubles and it turns out differently. Oh well.

Heta/Lukeman - Weird game. Lukeman looked completely lost at points in this game, was able to pull things back together in the third set, but then Damon went five visit kill b3b to close things out in the fourth. Damon looked fine, Martin could have just done without that huge lull in mainly the second set which for all intents and purposes put the game to bed.

Dolan/Mansell - Who had this one down as potential match of the tournament? I didn't see it live, was still in work at the time, but both players averaging 95 and it going all the way to a deciding leg is not a bad way to start a session. Credit to both, thought it would be tight, it proved to be the case, final set which went eleven straight holds is a testament to both players holding things together.

de Sousa/de Graaf - Jose wasn't bad, Jeffrey was just a touch better throughout, first two sets being entirely holds, then de Graaf nicks a break, holds things out, then puts on a fantastic spurt in set four to close it out. Not bad signs for Jose, but very promising for Jeffrey to put performances like this in through back to back games. It probably wouldn't be enough against Cross if Rob's playing competently, but if he isn't...

Ratajski/Hughes - Krzysztof was a bit slow to start on this one, letting a first set go that he had in the palm of his hands, and then needing a fair bit of luck in the second set to come from 2-1 down. Third set was just fine, three five visit holds doing it, then Hughes had a mare on doubles first leg of set three (after Ratajski takes an inexplicable route on 66) and that was bascially that.

van Duijvenbode/Krcmar - Might have been worked out in post match interviews, but my life's too short to watch Dutch media, the stuff Phil Barrs puts out etc. Dirk looked like early year Dirk in set one. Then current Dirk in sets two to four. Boris was his usual self, competent, not giving much away, but showing pretty limited levels of upside with a peak leg being a great twelve to win the match. Can't really draw too many conclusions from this one.

van den Bergh/Hempel - Not going to lie in the slightest, we dodged some bullets in this one, but Florian kept putting himself into positions where he needs to dig himself out of a hole, and against a tougher opponent (like, say, Stephen Bunting), he's going to get murdered. Fortunately Dimitri displayed current form Dimitri and it was enough for us to get over the line. And sportradar failed for the second time this tournament. Useless twats.

Schindler/Wattimena - Good stuff from Martin in this one. Solid performance throughout, probably only the second leg of set three was really a downer with mediocre scoring and a missed dart to get out of it which gave Jermaine a good chance to take a set which he emphatically took, but Martin closed things out well enough. Wattimena wasn't bad, but just a level below.

van Barneveld/Szaganski - Just took too long for Radek to really get going in this one. Barney held every leg on throw in the first two in fifteen tops, and Radek botched two solid chances to break, one in each set. It was all holds from there and Szaganski upped his game, but the damage was done from there. Shame that he's now off the tour (barring a wedge of tour card returns) and will lose the great spot he was in for the majors, I still maintain that someone getting a tour card should always have the option of two years from zero or one year and count the year that's just gone in full, which would really help him out in this spot. If he wins the card back.

Dobey/O'Connor - Really fun game. Both players performing to a really high standard, can't really pick out too many faults at any point. Bunch of credit for Willie, this might be his strongest tournament to date despite a "beat weak qualifier then lose to seed" set of results on paper, but Dobey needed every bit of the 103 he averaged, which is setting up a mesmerising match against Ross Smith in the clear strongest session of round three (which, because PDC/Sky loving big names as opposed to competitive matches, is an afternoon session), hook Thursday afternoon up to my veins.

Huybrechts/Veenstra - OK, so who had Kim Huybrechts on their "not going to win a leg" bingo card? I didn't, Veenstra was very good but I don't think he did anything that was completely unplayable. Huybrechts just didn't play it, set two in particular on the Huybrechts throw looks like a shocker.

Rydz/Pietreczko - Ricardo winning all the sets he had on throw 3-0 is perhaps a bit misleading. Both played well - I'm going to guess if you scratch set one, which was a bit of a dumpster fire for both, they were both averaging 100 throughout, and from that point there was only the one leg that went over fifteen darts, and that one was only down to missed doubles from both. Ricardo having a bit more than Callan was what we thought, but Rydz was not bad in that one in the slightest.

Clayton/Lennon - Jesus christ can anyone hit a double? This game was a perfect microcosm of Lennon's past two (at least years) - great play, but can't get the win, and here because he missed 34 darts at double. Got the first one, then just kept missing on the outer ring. Continually. Clayton wasn't much better, he missed 28 himself, but Steve's got to be kicking himself over this one.

Gurney/Beaton - Very nice game from Daryl here. Extremely solid and competent level throughout, highlighting that he has picked his game up this season notably, didn't get set three but that was more down to Steve being just better. Beaton weren't bad, but he just can't live with Gurney playing as strong as this at this stage of his career - at least not for the duration of a best of five set match.

Searle/Goto - Ryan looked pretty nice in this one - only the pair of really weak legs, both of which he won anyway, some great key break timing in set two, Tomoya had a nice came in set three with a twelve to break in the deciding set given Searle was on tops after twelve himself, Goto's going to come out of this tournament with a lot of credit but Searle will move on.

Rock/van Peer - Something didn't look quite right for Josh here, but it was mainly a case of van Peer being extremely strong on the outer ring and just hitting good timing when it mattered. Wouldn't have needed much in terms of improvements for Josh to take this one, second leg of the match was a mare and the first leg of what was the last set saw scoring evaporate and never really come back on the van Peer throw, but that was enough to lose the match.

Bunting/Joyce - Ryan was not bad, although had a couple of minor miscounts but nothing that I considered incredibly costly. Stephen was just unplayable. If he just pins the 124 out at the end of set two, rather than dicking about and missing five shots before finally closing the set out, who knows what his average would have been. It's a scary enough standard that assuming he comes through Hempel he'll be extremely live against van Gerwen (assuming, of course, he beats Veenstra) in round four, we've already seen one game recently go to a decider.

Aspinall/Evans - Might be the best we've seen Ricky on TV for donkey's years. Nathan wasn't exactly playing badly, although he certainly wasn't at his best, Ricky just allowed very few easy chances, and the half chances that Aspinall was allowed were missed. Probably a case that once the second leg of set two saw three clean missed at 24 by Nathan that the game was gone, and Ricky's timing with a four visit break to open set three really put the knife in.

I'll probably post tips for round three tomorrow afternoon, probably be around tea time UK when something arrives, but it may get pushed back to Boxing Day. In any case, there'll be thoughts out the day before the games.

Thursday 21 December 2023

Day 6 thoughts, day 8-9 bets

van Peer got over the line earlier today in our only bet of the day, that's enough to claw back one of the previous lost bets and make the copybook look a bit better - still work to do in order to get into the black, but a step in the right direction. Round 1 is now done, so I'll run through the final two days of round 2 now, as well as look through yesterday's results.

Szaganski/Kantele - We thought this one might be a struggle, and that's exactly what it proved to be, a 21 leg duel that went all five sets, and only two legs were finished within 15 darts. Radek looked slightly the better player, but not really great and he's going to need to step up to get through Barney, a game with his tour card on the line.

Lennon/Bates - And if Radek was to win that, it'd knock Steve back out of tour card contention as is, having got a come back win to eliminate the Master. Fairly slow start with Owen looking pretty darned good, but Steve really picked up his game in the third set onwards. That might have taken a bit out of him, but at least he's still alive.

O'Connor/Patel - Bhav's averaging wasn't too bad, but it's got to be put into context - Willie looked really, really good in a match where he knew he wouldn't need to do a great deal, and Bhav was only down on a double in one leg. Pretty easy to average decently if you're never chucking at doubles.

Smith/Zonneveld - Ross looked a bit flat in this one, a weird game where he won quite a lot of slow legs, but would have been a lot quicker if Niels didn't hit some decent stuff, Ross being left on doubles after four visits three times and five visits twice, averaging over a ton in the legs he lost but only winning two of his eleven legs within fifteen darts. Hard one to really analyse.

Joyce/Spellman - Harsh one on Alex this one. We thought this'd be a first round highlight, and it was, if it wasn't Ryan he was playing, it'd be playing well enough to pick up the win against a lot of the Pro Tour qualifiers. But Joyce looked really good, real joy of a game to watch and one that's going to give Ryan a lot of confidence ahead of a tough round two game.

Veenstra/Robb - Richard didn't really get going until set three, but was still able to do just about enough to get over the line in both of them with Ben misfiring a bit on doubles. Final set was a lot better standard and showed more of what I thought both players were capable of, but Veenstra had the throw and completed the sweep.

Kist/Littler - Good to see that Christian looked a darned sight better than he was a few weeks ago. Only trouble is Luke was unplayable. Everything that could be written about Luke has been written already so I won't repeat the media.

Wright/Williams - Jesus christ both players were extremely poor, but Jim was able to get a couple of key legs at the key point, and pick the game up from the last leg of set two onwards. Big scalp, one we thought might happen, and it did. Puts up the spot where one of Williams, van Barneveld, Szaganski, Campbell or Littler will make the quarters.

Onto the Friday/Saturday conclusion of the pre Christmas matches:

Dolan/Mansell - Not a hugely inspiring opening game, Brendan is priced as a favourite, but not a massive one with the lines looking around 60/40. This does seem fairly close - probably a touch closer than that, if Mickey was a bit cleaner today then maybe I might have a brief look at 11/8, but for that to go I'd need to put Mansell at worst at a coinflip, and he ain't that.

de Sousa/de Graaf - Feels like the market might be slightly underestimating de Sousa, and/or doing a bit of an overadjustment to Jeffrey looking back towards his best in round one. Maybe that duel will have taken a bit out of him, who knows? Year long I've got Jose around the 75% mark, 2/5 is an edge but it's not that much, and if it's the case that de Graaf is doing better than his season long numbers, then that edge quickly disappears to a clear no bet.

Ratajski/Hughes - The Pole should be a strong favourite here, looking at just over a three in four shot season long, and as you get more and more form based that actually increases. It's a few days since Jamie played, he didn't look that good at all, and I find it very hard to believe that he's going to be able to turn that around against someone with Ratajski's quality. If we just had an extra percent or so, I'd probably take a relatively small stab at the 1/3 that Chandler's are offering, one to watch in the event that money starts to come in on Jamie, 4/11 I'd probably be thinking very hard, 2/5 I'd be taking, but I don't see the line going that way.

van Duijvenbode/Krcmar - Boris looked a tiny bit better than I thought he would, but it's irrelevant for this one, with Dirk having injury issues I'm not touching this one at all, Dirk might be completely out of it, or he might be able to pull things together for quick bursts which work in set play. We just don't know what we're going to get and it'd be impossible to quantify.

van den Bergh/Hempel - This is an upset that has happened before, and I think there's a fair shot that it happens again, Florian not playing quite at his best but certainly better than he might have done in a tough first round game. He's just shorter than 2/1 - now year long, that's not of interest as Dimitri has a projection of 70%, but it doesn't take much moving towards form based stats to change things. If we go from the start of May, it's a coinflip, albeit with Florian being slightly more inconsistent. I think this is one where we can trust the form, the Belgian's done little all year, Hempel looked fine in round one, Hempel knows how to win this exact game, and Hempel has more motivation knowing a win will save his card. 0.1u Hempel 9/5, that's in a couple of places, generally available 7/4 also looks enough.

Schindler/Wattimena - Jermaine dealt with a hostile crowd in round one pretty well, one of the better games we've seen from him of recent, but I wonder if that's making things a bit overrated. That, or Martin remains (is back to?) being underrated. I've got him a tick over 70% year long, rising to over 75% soon after the UK Open and continuing to increase. As such, I think this is a fairly trivial bet on the favourite at what 365 is offering, 0.25u Schindler 4/7

van Barneveld/Szaganski - We talked about Radek's game earlier, and it wasn't pretty. Barney is the better player, and there may well be tiny value on the veteran Dutchman, with year long getting him pretty much down the middle between 70% and 75%, fluctuating down a touch at times but up more towards 75% since the Matchplay. With Szaganski looking so ordinary in round one, the generally available 4/9 is extremely close to a bet, and unlike in the Hempel situation, I oddly think that the card pressure will actually be a negative here. I'd take 1/2 if the line moves.

Dobey/O'Connor - Final game of Friday, and this should be a good one with Willie looking like he's on it in round one. Dobey's an entirely different level of player though. It's a similar situation to the previous game, in that I'm seeing Chris generally around a 75% favourite, and we can get 4/9 on Coralbrokes. The difference here is that Willie looked fantastic already and doesn't have the same level of pressure that Szaganski has, as such I'm much less inclined to contemplate betting the favourite.

Huybrechts/Veenstra - Pretty simple one to analyse this. Find it extremely hard to find anything to separate the two of them, it's razor thin. The market has neither player odds against. We move on pretty quickly.

Rydz/Pietreczko - Ricardo looked pretty composed in what turned out to be a trivial match, and surely the same sort of performance would see for Callan in this one. Hard to really recommend a bet here though, season long Callan's a tad over 40%, and Ricardo is 4/6. It does move towards the German as we get more form based, from around May it's more like a two in three shot for Pikachu, which would be enough to consider a bet. I'll avoid it, as Callan's the sort that can show up and perform a lot better than form dictates, and has done so at this venue in the past.

Clayton/Lennon - This is another one which might be worth a form based play with Lennon north of 5/2 in places. Year long, Jonny's taking this three out of four times, which is clearly not of interest, but it doesn't take too long to get to less than two in three, when we can think about considering the play. If Steve had made it a bit easier in round one then I'd probably be more confident, but he didn't, so it's one where we probably monitor the lines and see if the public money comes in on Clayton. 3/1 I probably have a small poke at it.

Gurmey/Beaton - Another form based game here. Daryl's only around two in three year long, but the form sizings move things up towards three in four. He's priced at 2/5, which is more or less in the middle of the two, we're not getting enough of an edge on a more form based look to consider a bet, Beaton didn't show much weakness in the first round that we can draw on either way, so it's a pass from me.

Searle/Goto - Tomoya looked a fair bit better than expected against Ian White, but Ryan's a tougher draw again, and I find it fairly hard to believe that Goto can continue the level of play we did see. If anything, we start to look at Searle - he's 1/5, and year long I'm thinking it should be more like 1/8. I won't make the play, it wouldn't take too much of Tomoya playing better than seasonal to eradicate what looks like a perceived edge, and he has done that once already.

Rock/van Peer - Was kind of looking forward to a Rock/Woodhouse game, but this isn't a bad alternative. Berry played a good game, and I think he's got enough about him that we can't consider taking Josh, with percentage winning chances over decent samples floating between 25% and 30%. Rock's shorter than 1/3 so that's a no go, 7/2 on Berry isn't terrible, but I think there's enough of Josh turning the form on at the right time that we can't really go with it.

Bunting/Joyce - This should be the highlight of the night, and it's one that Ryan's extremely live in, and should give the in form Bunting some problems. There isn't any sample where I see Joyce, who had a great first round game, drops below a 40% winning chance, but sadly the market actually recognises Ryan is a decent player and is only offering a paltry 8/5. That's not enough.

Aspinall/Evans - Nathan's the 96th player into action, and he's up against Evans, who looked professional in a match against one of the easier possible opponents. I'm wondering if it's worth a play on Ricky here, the projections generally aren't giving Aspinall a 70% shot, and in spots it drops to a bit below 65%. That makes the odds of 13/5 on Hills definitely worth consideration, I'm just not sure if Ricky's got the consistency of game to be able to take out a top ten player in the world in a set play format, so I'll turn down what isn't a massive edge to begin with.

Will catch up on the writeups in dribs and drabs over the next couple of days, and probably use Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day to get the round three tips in.

Day 7 bets

Another seed falls yesterday, don't say we didn't warn you this might happen. Obviously Littler's made the market go bonkers (he's now trading at a shorter price to win the whole thing than I took for him to make the quarters in the week before the tournament started), kid is special but he's not single digits to bink the tournament special. Let's go through today's bets, we get round one in the books in the afternoon then it's round two all the way. Or at least all the way until we get to round three...

Mansell/Zong - Can we get another Asian player pulling off a big upset? I mean it's a possibility, Zong has talent and Mickey, although he's had a good season, isn't the strongest opponent he could have faced. 9/2 might be a tad unkind, but I don't think it's likely unkind by much, as there's big questions as to how good Zong's peak game is, how often he achieves it, and whether it's good enough to hang with Mansell over a best of five set match. Certainly not interested in the Cyclone at 1/5.

Woodhouse/van Peer - Another one where we're looking at the underdog. Luke's the better player, don't think anyone is going to doubt that one, but is he that much better that he should be a 2/5 favourite? I'm not so sure - I can't find a single sample where Woodhouse is over 60% to take the match, and over shorter samples it actually gets closer to 50/50 - albeit there Berry runs into both sample size and consistency issues. While I've still got a lot of confidence in Woody's game, I'm also somewhat of a believer in Berry, and think he's clearly got much better than the 30% or so chance that the line implies, so will take the small shot, 0.1u van Peer 5/2

Razma/de Decker - Mike looked good in round one, and Madars has looked pretty ordinary for a seeded player all year, I think the combination of the two is making for an ever so slightly off line, favouring the Belgian a bit too much. It's nowhere near enough that we'd consider taking the 11/8 on Razma, but varying samples give this at only around 50% to 55% chances for de Decker, it's not off by enough to bet for sure, but it's not one we're looking at in a "take favourites lol" acca or anything like that.

Cross/Tricole - On the other hand, this is one which we can reasonably set and forget I think. Rob's probably not in the top two or three players in the world, but he's in that bunch that is not far behind who absolutely should be in the equation for winning titles, while Thibault is good, but right now just a guy at this sort of level and looked distinctly average in round one, play like that again and this could be done in no more than eleven or twelve legs. This looks like a mid 90% sort of match for Rob - if you've got money on 888 and can access their 1/9 line, that seems like an incredibly safe investment, but I don't normally list bets that are only available on obscure books, and when we get to the 1/11 on Betfred it becomes a question of how much of an edge do we really have chasing single figure ROI's.

Gilding/Littler - This feels like it should be an automatic bet on Gilding simply based on the amount of steam that there's been on Luke in the past 24 hours, and year long this looks like the simplest bet of the year. That said, I'm not going to do it for a couple of reasons - firstly, if we pull back to shorter samples, Littler becomes a lot closer to a two in three favourite, rather than a fairly small favourite. Secondly, there's every reason to think that Luke in the past month or two is outplaying his seasonal stats by quite some distance. Certainly have no interest in Luke at 1/4, and I don't hate the concept of taking Gilding at better than 3/1, it's just hard to gauge with how much things have moved recently what edge, if any, we actually have.

Noppert/Williams - This one however is less complicated to look at, year long Noppie's just more than a two in three sort of shot, ticking up over 70% as we get to varying smaller samples. Scott was pretty much par for the course in round one, so there's no reason to think that anything's going to be hugely out of line and the 5/2 line is right in the sort of range that our projections are seeing.

Clemens/Leung - This is another one where we need to decide how much the line has shifted based off of one match, and do we consider it an overreaction and take the seed. Leung looked fantastic in his first round game, and it moves the season long stats to giving him a touch more than a one in three chance against Clemens. That isn't really the sort of thing I was expecting to see, and the sample is still small, but I think there's enough evidence there to suggest that taking Clemens at 1/3 is not a sensible play, even if Leung being as short a price as he is doesn't look tasty either.

Heta/Lukeman - Seems like a fairly trivial one to analyse, year long stats put Damon at just around a 70% shot, so the 4/9 line appears about right. As you get to shorter samples, Martin's game picks up a bit and may give you marginal value at 2/1, but I can't say I saw anything outstanding in the first round to tip the balance towards taking a small punt on Lukeman.

Will get up a couple of days worth of match reviews and then punts for the last two days of round two later this evening.

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Day 4-5 thoughts, day 6 bets

Not going to lie, it's been a tough start for the betting in this worlds, don't think there's any decisions I would want back, just a touch frustrating to have either the scoring or, worse, doubling, desert you at the key moments. Let's quickly run through days 4/5 before moving on to today.

Vandenbogaerde/Tricole - This one was annoying. Thibault was exactly who we thought he was - only winning two of the eleven legs he won within fifteen darts, just Mario couldn't finish the chances he created. Tricole won five legs in greater than eighteen darts, Mario just missing countless doubles. Maybe the tour card pressure was a bit too much, but regardless, it's an L in the ledger for us and Thibault is going to need to improve a lot in round two.

van Veen/Leung - Oh my, what a performance from MLL, 180's for fun and a great comeback. Should probably have won set two, but after that Gian's scoring appeared to completely desert him. Big breakthrough performance that should give the Asian game a huge boost, but Gian's got to be gutted.

Lukeman/Puha - Haupai was a little bit disappointing, thought he'd have made this game a bit closer than he did. Martin was solid enough but nothing special, did enough to get through at this level.

Price/Scutt - Gerwyn looked alright barring one or two legs, Connor wasn't terrible but just wasn't able to get up to Price's level, then again if Price is on most people can't either.

White/Goto - Pretty good stuff from Tomoya - steady all round game, didn't do much wrong at all. Neither did White really, outside of that last leg of set one, if he hits a double there I think the game could easily go another way. Think the card will be safe given he needs three specific players to make third round runs or someone to make a hero run to knock him out, but he'll want that leg five back.

Edhouse/de Graaf - Think the best player just about won. Jeffrey was a fair bit better than he's shown this season, was more like the levels he was at when he was at his best, so it's something that we've known is in there, just a bit of a surprise to see it. It proved to be just about enough to handle Edhouse, who was round about where we expected him to be in terms of performance.

Brown/Krcmar - Pretty much went to form this one, Brown took the first one with a very polarised first set, three OK holds in six visits sandwiching two extremely ropey legs on the Krcmar throw, then Boris pretty much took over with a steady enough game.

Wade/Campbell - First seeding shocker, and it's one that we thought might happen a bit more than the market suggested, we just couldn't bring ourselves to bet it. Shame really, Matt looked very good, maybe if Wade was a bit tighter on his doubling he could have got home, but Campbell was just about opportunistic enough. Really opens up a section of the draw which I thought was fairly open anyway.

Beaton/Nijman - Disappointing one for Wessel this, comes down to two things for me - missed doubles in the first set, particularly in the legs on the Beaton throw, then just not getting the scoring after going 2-0 up in set four, gifting Steve the match. Didn't do much wrong outside of that, Beaton was untouchable on throw in set two and Wessel swept set three and got to the good position in set four. Bit of a partisan crowd, but think that was just typical pro-Beaton more than anything.

de Decker/Horvat - Pretty standard game, Mike was a bit sluggish in set one, but sets 2/3 were very good. Dragutin has his moments but didn't in this one so against de Decker playing well it looked one sided.

Pietreczko/Suzuki - Fairly standard game, Mikuru just didn't have the scoring power to live with Ricardo.

van Gerwen/Barry - Michael looked OK. It could have got a bit spicy if Keane didn't miss stacks of doubles in the first set, Barry was scoring well enough throughout but didn't take the chances he had, which was much more pronounced in set one. MvG probably had enough in reserve to step up his game if required but what he was doing was just about enough.

So on to today:

Szaganski/Kantele - Line looks just about correct, maybe Marko's got slightly better chances than the line suggests, but with Radek rounding into form towards the back end of the season, and with Marko doing his best work in the SDC whose schedule is front loaded, any minor differences can be ignored. We're only looking at a 25% chance on a 7/2 line anyway.

Lennon/Bates - This actually looks closer than I thought it would be based on the year long stats, it's only giving Steve a 58% chance, which with the price being 8/11 is pretty much a perfect line. I'd have guessed the projections would have put him more at a two in three favourite, which would have been enough for a bet.

O'Connor/Patel - Next.

Smith/Zonneveld - Sadly, another one which looks to be a perfect line. Despite talking up Smith's performances, Niels has enough game that year long he projects to win about one in four, and with Ross at 1/3, that's not of interest to us. That does go up a bit as we get more form based, and Zonneveld wasn't exactly firing in round one, so maybe it's worth a look at Smudger, but I won't recommend it officially.

Joyce/Spellman - Sadly, this looks like yet another perfect line. Looking year long in order to get enough data on Spellman, Joyce rates somewhere just north of a two in three favourite, but not quite 70%. In other words, the line should be 4/9, which it is.

Veenstra/Robb - First one where we need to make a judgment call given the lack of data on Ben and the price not being ridiculous enough to flat out ignore as it was in the O'Connor game. If I'm looking at either side for a bet, it's the Veenstra side with the line being 1/2 Veenstra and 7/4 Robb. I can't imagine Ben ever being that good that he wins this one even 40% of the time such is the quality of Richard's game, so I'm immediately ruling out the Robb side of this one. Can we bet Veenstra? 1/2 implies that he should win this game 67% of the time. I'd likely need to see a projection of 72%, 73% or there abouts before I'd be OK to fire on it, anything further in terms of edge then just becomes a question of bet sizing. That makes the question simple then - is it unreasonable to think Robb can win this match, say, two out of seven times? I don't think that's the case, so I'll reluctantly pass.

Kist/Littler - Taking this game completely off the board as we have zero idea as to what Kist is going to turn up. If we knew he was 100% healthy it's probably the easiest bet of the round on Kist. If we knew he was going to play like he did in Minehead, it's probably the easiest bet of the round on Littler. With the opaqueness of darts reporting and knowledge on this, it's safest to just avoid it completely.

Wright/Williams - Urgh, the market has caught up on Jim. Or maybe it's caught up on Wright. Or both. 13/8 Williams is the side to take if any - I'm not seeing any sample where that's not the right side, it's a question of edges. Season long it's a coinflip, but we know Wright was playing god awful stuff (relatively speaking) in the first quarter, cut down to just from September and, with both players having near as damnit 200 legs a piece to look at, and Jim's only at 40%, which makes a bet barely break even, and anything else in between floats Wright around 55%, 58%, that sort of thing. That Williams made such hard work of a trivial first round game is the tiebreaker for me not to bet it.

So we have nothing today, and that's another eight games gone with no opportunity to claw back any of the half unit lost the last couple of days. We're not going to just punt at neutral EV selections just to chase losses though.

Monday 18 December 2023

Day 5 bets

May as well get a little bit ahead of things with all the matchups decided by now, could probably do the Wednesday games as well but I'll save that for this evening perhaps.

White/Goto - Always a bit difficult to properly judge just how good an international qualifier actually is, but the line's set at 5/1. Looking at a full season I'd have put a fairer line at 7/1, but with somewhat limited data then maybe he's a bit better than the numbers suggest, even if my projection is correct, I don't think it offers anywhere near the value on Ian that we would really want before punting.
Edhouse/de Graaf - Got kind of a similar thing here on Jeffrey, but at least we have the previous experience of having seen him in multiple events over some time dating back to the BDO days and have a larger amount of general knowledge on him. My projection full season has him at about 25% - with Ritchie at 2/5, we're not really interested in such a small edge, particularly given that de Graaf's seasonal numbers seem to underestimate the level of player we know is in there a tad.
Brown/Krcmar - No such issues in this one between card holders, is a little bit odd that the guy that needed the PDPA qualifier is a favourite over the guy that isn't, but looking at things we kind of understand why, Brown is at 7/4 which we think might be underestimating him a wee bit based on full season data, which gives Krcmar just a 56% shot, but as we know Brown's form has dropped somewhat over the course of the year and it would be a bit of a pushy bet even if we think that number isn't an underestimation of Krcmar's real chances, and we do.
Wade/Campbell - Feel like there could be tiny value on Matt here. There's enough in his game, which works better on TV historically than on the floor, and he looked very nice in spots in the first round, particularly in the last set. Do we really want to push 11/4 though? I think it's close and worth considering if you are on 365 (everywhere else has it at 5/2, or even a bit shorter), Campbell year long projects at 35% or there abouts, I'm just reluctant to bet it against someone as solid as Wade, who is likely to hoover up any slow legs which Campbell might put out, and there were plenty of those in play against Ilagan.
Beaton/Nijman - This one seems fairly straight forward to me - I'm seeing Wessel as having around a 72% chance year long, and that doesn't seem to be affected by form in the slightest as well. Steve struggled with a young Dutch player last year, and will likely do the same again here, we have the edge to play, 0.25u 8/13 Nijman on Betfred, generally available 4/7 is just about a play, if it goes to 1/2 I'd start pumping the brakes though.
de Decker/Horvat - We have some data on Dragutin, but it's fairly limited and indicates inconsistency which we know is in his game. As such, I'm not going to read too much into it, particularly as it is saying that Horvat has a very strong chance in this one, and that may well still be the right side of the line, we like Mike's progression this year, but Dragutin's been competent enough on the Challenge Tour so I don't think saying he nicks this one in three times is unrealistic. With Horvat at 9/4, there's not the edge there, I can't really justify thinking that Horvat is that much more likely to win, he's always been a player that'd flash for a two to three leg spell, and that's not going to work in a first to five sets game unless de Decker screws something up, which while possible, seems unlikely.
Pietreczko/Suzuki - Not really going to look in depth at this one, Mikuru's numbers over the season are not good and not close to Ricardo's, she's not as good as Sherrock and Wattimena's not as good as Pietreczko, and we saw how relatively comfortable that one was. 8/1 really doesn't seem that ridiculous.
van Gerwen/Barry - Another one with a good chunk of data, so we can look straight at that. It says year long that Keane has a one in four chance. That drops to nearer one in five if we look just post Matchplay. The 15/2 that is available on Coralbrokes might be half tempting, but I'd really have wanted to see more from Barry in the opening game. He may not have looked great given his opponent's relatively lethargic pace, but I'd want to have seen something good to make me think he's near his top game and can realise that 22%, 23% chance that the stats show. So I'll pass.

Sunday 17 December 2023

Day 3 thoughts, day 4 bets

Writing this while the Humphries/Evans game goes on, not expecting anything crazy to happen there, but if it does I'll pick it up on tomorrow's post. For now:

Evans/Adams, Williams/Madhoo - Just going to bundle these two together, as they both went exactly as expected, Ricky looked a bit better than maybe we thought, Williams was poor but this wasn't even a case of needing to get into second gear, he could have left it in neutral, got out and pushed, and still won.
Campbell/Ilagan - When Matt was winning legs, he was looking really good. When he wasn't, it was pretty darned mediocre. If Campbell can tighten things up a tad, he might not be completely dead against Wade I guess.
Cullen/Penhall - Darren regressed to where we thought he was pretty rapidly. Joe was merely OK, but didn't need to do much more at all. Not going to draw too much into this one, mainly just a case of Cullen getting the win and being done with it.
Slevin/Hempel - Pretty competitive, but Hempel looked mostly the better player after a torrid first set on paper. Will need to improve next round, but the signs are there.
Zonneveld/Webster - Another one that was a bit of a brutal watch, Webster had brief moments where it looked like he would make it competitive, but in the end he didn't.
Wattimena/Sherrock - Generally pleased with how Jermaine played in this one. Mardle trying desperately to conjure narratives out of nowhere was funny, Fallon looked pretty decent in the first set but couldn't sustain things at all in the slightest.

Just got the four games tomorrow with no afternoon session:

Vandenbogaerde/Tricole - Maybe there's a bit more pressure on Mario now than there was at the outset - while the Belgian would probably have known he's likely to need a win to retain his card, with Hempel winning earlier, he now knows it to be a fact. I'm not sure it affects him that much, and I think he's probably better than the markets suggest - 0.25u Vandenbogaerde 4/7 on Coralbrokes, I'm generally seeing dependent on sample size a winning percentage around 75% for this one, I simply don't think Thibault scores heavily enough, so will take the edge.
van Veen/Leung - Really don't have the sample size on Leung to make any realistic assessment on his chances, but against someone of Gian's quality, I'm not going to suggest taking 10/1.
Lukeman/Puha - If anything, we have less on Haupai than we do on Man Lok, so this is purely guesswork - we know Haupai's competent, we know Martin is alright, the line's saying the New Zealander has a one in three shot. This feels intuitively correct, or at least close enough to it that we don't want to consider betting the thing.
Price/Scutt - 6/1 on Connor seems harsh. But not by much. Not considering this one.

Humphries game just finished, that might have got exciting if Evans had have finished one of the numerous chances he had to take the third set, but he didn't, so we just put that one down to experience and move on. Back tomorrow evening with Tuesday thoughts.

Saturday 16 December 2023

Day 2 thoughts, day 3 bets

Alright, after the opening day aperitif, it feels like we're getting into the main course of the tournament with eight players being felled from the field today, it was a bit of a rough day on the betting front but let's go over what we saw:

- Sosing is who we thought he was. Lucky to qualify and out of his depth here. Evans didn't play well, but didn't need to, and it'll require minimal discussion as to what he can do in round two.
- By contrast, Scutt looked very good. Dropped just the three legs, finished six of nine in under fifteen, never really allowed Kciuk much of a chance. Sure, in round two he's still fucked, but it's a good sign.
- Did not expect Penhall to play anywhere near as well as he actually did. On throw he was more or less untouchable, Jules could do nothing in set one, nicked the second with a break in leg four but he would have had the darts in leg five anyway, then had a four leg spell of shitting the bed, which gave Darren the equation of hold twice and you win, and he leaves himself on 36 after 12 and 81 after 9, finishing both. Fair play.
- Lost opportunity for Menzies. First set seemed gifted, but after he got back into set two he really needs to put in a big last leg and ask the questions, and he didn't.
- Did not see much of the Hughes/Cameron game, but that looked like a really tricky watch.
- Barry showed a fair bit of maturity. Rivera looked alright, but I can't think that he's far, far too deliberate. What did annoy me is that he was even deliberate in retrieving his darts - if you think back to someone like Justin Pipe, he took his time but once he'd thrown he got his darts and got out of the way without delay, Rey didn't do that. Another awkward watch, but it is what it is.
- Williams seemed pretty decent, Muramatsu came into things a bit later into the game, but couldn't really get it done.
- Anderson was good as we expected. Whitlock was not good and the game went as we thought it would.

Onto day three, we'll cull another eight players, what do we think?

Evans/Adams - Simon's one of the players we don't have anything of real consequence on. I would guess that the 5/1 that we can get is in no way value, and there's not many players Ricky would face in a realistic matchup where I'd think "oh my god, 2/13, pile on" so let's move on.
Williams/Madhoo - Jim's 1/33. Next.
Campbell/Ilagan - Finally we've got a game that is worth analysing. Matt seems clearly better, but how much better is the question? We can get a tad longer than 1/2, and I don't hate the play - I am just concerned that we don't have the amount of data on Ilagan that makes me think that we can bet on the Canadian, and what data I have makes me think that the projections, which say bet Matt, might be underrating him somewhat. The line could probably shift towards Campbell somewhat, but I'm not feeling the prediction for some reason.
Cullen/Penhall - Darren looked good today, but even with that I'm not sure he's anywhere near as much of a live dog as he would need to be for us to consider taking the shot. He showed enough that I'm naturally not touching Joe at shorter than 1/3, but I've got to trust the numbers I have and they say not to punt on Penhall either.
Slevin/Hempel - I mean this one is how much you trust sample sizes and the ability of players to play at their best. A full season's worth of data says the line looks about right, maybe it's worth a tiny punt on Slevin. Cut out the first couple of months of the year however, and the data is saying Florian is likely the player worth looking at. In reality, we don't need to do either, so we won't.
Zonneveld/Webster - Line looks about right to me. Whatever sample I'm picking is giving Niels somewhere around a two in three shot at one end, and into the low 70% range at the other end. As such, I'm clearly not interested in any sort of Zonneveld 1/3 shenanigans, and even if there was no vig, I'm not sure there is enough of a clear and justifiable edge to take Darren going the other way, so I'll pass on this one.
Wattimena/Sherrock - We have such a limited data set on Fallon that it's hard to give any sort of serious rationale, other than to say the market giving her around a 30% shot feels about right. My gut says that Jermaine might be the side to angle on, but that's all it is and I don't bet on my gut.
Humphries/Evans - Lee's done his job. On recent form, say the last six months, a line of 9/1 doesn't seem unfair. He's good, but that's how much better Luke is.

So nothing on day 3, we're in a minor hole after yesterday but we're going to take our time and not do anything daft to try to get out of it.

Friday 15 December 2023

Day 1 thoughts, day 2 bets

Thoughts on day 1 - Buntz is who we thought he was. Decent, but overrated, and we'll take the Doets bet to the hoop. Kevin should be safe as a card holder in 2024 now, and he can come out of tonight with a lot of credit and confidence. Really not sure on the pundits on Sky afterwards saying "Smith's back" - it was a good performance, but nothing more than that, it was a bit better than expected but I'm not suddenly thinking he's getting out of this quarter or anything like that. Menzies had a couple of moments where it looked like he might do Menzies things, but came through fine. Whitlock against Nebrida was a tense game, but a hard one to watch - Simon underperformed by a fair amount, Paolo looked a lot better than we were expecting, and naturally it would be the fucking five set game featuring the slowest player of the night where the twats that are sportradar dropped the ball after set one. I've got the data through nefarious sources, but honestly. Use Dart Connect as at a minimum a backup. In every event.

Day 2:

Evans/Sosing - Seems like I've said that I like Lee's game (in context, relative to his reputation) ad infinitum all year. That's not changed. Said in the previews that I don't think Sandro is great, but not even being able to get 1/4 on Lee takes this well out of the realms of thinking about it. I also don't want to consider the qualifier at all, maybe everything hits perfectly and he makes a fight of it, I'm not seeing it though.

Scutt/Kciuk - Over the largest sample, this looks like a fine line, with Connor typically 2/5 everywhere. If I narrow it down to smaller samples, the data model absolutely hares Kciuk. Like literally despises him - if I say data from Matchplay onwards, Kryszytof wins 5% of the time. I think that's a sample size thing perhaps, and as such I'm leaning towards the larger sample as being more representative of where this game is actually at - but I'm certainly not interested in punting on the underdog in this one.

van Dongen/Penhall - 0.25 van Dongen 4/9, the data says Darren's not completely dead, we know him to have some level of competence, but the full last year indicates that this should be nearer to a 2/7 line. And Jules' form is tilted towards right now. Seems a fairly easy bet at that price.

Chisnall/Menzies - 0.1u Menzies 11/4, there's a few fringe books that offer slightly closer than 3/1, but I'm just taking the freely available 365 line. We've talked about Cameron a lot, and while we think Dave's a favourite, we can't realistically see any sort of sample where Dave's more than a 60% favourite. Cameron's a bit more inconsistent for sure, but even if we bump Chisnall's chances to 65%, that is still saying 11/4 is an enormous edge. And we take those.

Hughes/Cameron - Kind of half tempted to take Dave here. 13/10 is not overly enticing on the face of it, but when I filter down to appropriate sample sizes and it shows Hughes down 45/55, it does draw the attention. I'm going to decline it, I think Jamie's sorted a few things out and might be playing better than the data suggests, but if you're betting anything here it should be leaned towards the Canadian.

Barry/Rivera - 0.1u Rivera 9/2, this is simple common sense, we know Reynaldo is solid, we know Keane is not elite, we take the flier on Coralbrokes. That 9 would need to be a 5 before I don't think about taking a shot at it.

Williams/Muramatsu - 0.1u Muramatsu 5/2, again we take the Coralbrokes larger than the field underdog price. Having seen him live a couple of months ago I know Haruki to be competent, he projects reasonably well against someone who's had merely an OK season - certainly better than 30%, and it's definitely worth the shot at these prices.

Anderson/Whitlock - We're not even remotely considering Whitlock on this one. He was not good today, could easily have gone out, and pretty much any sort of recent projection is saying "4/1 lol". The main question is whether we have enough confidence to go with Ando at severely odds on against someone we know has at least been alright at points this season. I'm seeing projections of over 90% over basically all samples, so I think there's the safety to go large - 0.5u Anderson 1/5. Simon doing little to inspire confidence today is the tiebreaker to bump up to half a unit from a quarter.

Thursday 14 December 2023

Night one bets

Doets/Buntz - Looks to me like the market is overvaluing Stowe a fair bit based on what he did at the Grand Slam, he got on a nice run but he didn't really play that brilliantly outside of the game against Peter Wright. Kevin seems to be a much more solid player where the price we have available looks like steady enough value, and I'm seeing him at worst as being a 2-1 favourite. I'll give Stowe a bit of the benefit of the doubt that maybe he's improved rapidly and plays better on TV, and just go small, but Doets looks to be the clear side to play on - 0.1u Doets 8/11

Menzies/Rodriguez - Think we've got a play on Cameron here - Menzies is a strongly superior player who is awfully underrated, that I'm seeing as varying percentage points or two off of 75%. Rusty needed the PDPA quali for a reason. We can get longer than 1/2 so we'll take it - 0.25u Menzies 4/7

Whitlock/Nebrida - Paolo's not quite as bad a player as the markets suggest, looking at the fullest data available he should be nearer 11/2 than 17/2. Simon at 1/11 (!) is very much not accumulator safe, but I'm really not confident in Nebrida being able to realise what would be a very small edge, so there's no bets on this one.

Smith/winner of game one - I'm not seeing any conditional lines here, but what we can do is use the "Michael Smith stage of elimination" market which lists round two at 5/1 as some sort of proxy. This may be a bit of an underestimate of the chances that Doets has ever so slightly, which I'm seeing in the 20-25% range dependent on the exact sample size, increasing as we use more form based data. As the markets have the Doets/Buntz game fairly close, I don't see the line we'd get regardless of who it is moving an enormous amount, there might be a tiny bit of value, but I think I would need to see Kevin play a very good game to start to consider taking a small play.

Will get Saturday up after Friday is done, mainly because I want to see what prices Menzies (I hope it's Menzies anyway) and Whitlock get priced up at in their second round game and do it all at once - I'm only listing conditional thoughts on the Smith game given I'm not likely to be able to do too much on the fly tomorrow evening.

Let's predict the whole thing


Rounds 1/2

Smith > Doets > Buntz - Really do think Stowe's run at the Slam is overrating him a fair bit. Kevin is in my opinion the better player, may well be close but Doets gets home. Michael is far better than either
de Decker > Razma > Horvat - Dragutin's alright but I don't see him sustaining the level he'd need against Mike. Also think de Decker's now fairly easily passed the levels Madars is at
Smith > Zonneveld > Webster - Darren getting here is a nice story, but he's a couple of tiers below where Niels is at. Neither of them are close to the quality of Ross
Dobey > O'Connor > Patel - Appears pretty straight forward. Chris is really good. Willie is very solid but not at that tier of play. Bhav'll have fun I'm sure, but is out of his depth
Cross > Vandenbogaerde > Tricole - Think there's decent arguments for Thibault, but Mario's been doing more against a better standard for some time now. Love Rob's game and he ought to have far too much whoever comes through
de Sousa > Edhouse > de Graaf - This seems hard to call. Don't think Jeffrey's playing quite as well as he's done in the past, has chances but I think Ritchie sneaks through. Also don't think Jose's playing as well as he's done in the past, but probably has just about enough to get through
Lennon > Clayton > Bates - This is a punt for sure, but we're normally good for at least one big shock. Owen's solid but I'm not sure he's quite at the Pro Tour level yet. Lennon certainly is, and maybe now's the time where results catch up with performances? Jonny's best games came early in the year and not late after all
Ratajski > Hughes > Cameron - Dave's competent, and Jamie's going to have to be on his game, but I think he's improving at the right time and should have just enough. Krzysztof's far too solid and competent for either of these though

Williams > Wright > Madhoo - Jim's an excellent player. Peter's A game beats him for sure, but while it's still there it's incredibly sporadic as to when we see it. If Wright just turns up and is not at 100% then Williams takes it. First game doesn't really need comment
van Barneveld > Szaganski > Kantele - Marko's had a good season, but Radek's working things out and ought to get home, probably after a bit of a struggle. Not convinced that the difference between Barney and either of these is as much as it'd probably look to the casual, but think he still has the edge over either
Wade > Campbell > Ilagan - Matt usually brings his best stuff on TV, hasn't been at all bad this year, Lourence might always be half a visit behind in this one. James is at a very good spot right now and while I could certainly believe Campbell keeping it close as an outcome, Wade should take it more often than not
Littler > Gilding > Kist - Got to assume Christian's still not right. Luke's game is probably better than Andrew's right now
Price > Scutt > Kciuk - First round game is going to be competitive, just feel that Connor's shown more throughout the season and will get it, maybe this goes to a deciding set. Gerwyn's far better than either, of course
Mansell > Dolan > Zong - A little bit of a flier, but Mickey's had a fine season, and Brendan may be tailing off a tad, so maybe he sneaks through? That is of course if he gets through Zong, if the kid's on it and Mickey's a bit off then I could absolutely see an upset, but I think Mansell ought to be fine there
Krcmar > van Duijvenbode > Brown - Not convinced with Keegan's level of play, he got in direct and not via the PDPA quali like Boris needed to do, but I don't think that reflects how good the players are right now. Maybe Dirk can grind it out but I'm thinking the injury issue may bother him just enough that Boris gets through
Anderson > Whitlock > Nebrida - Paolo seems like one of the weaker Asian qualifiers, Simon's past his best but should coast this one. Ando's on fire though and will deal with Whitlock pretty comfortably

van Gerwen > Barry > Rivera - Not going to disagree with anyone that thinks Reynaldo has a good chance here, he certainly does, but I think Keane will have learned from last year and not make the same mistakes twice. van Gerwen handles either with ease though.
Veenstra > Huybrechts > Robb - Ben looks like he's a pretty decent player, but has never really done it at the worlds. Maybe he steps up and causes a surprise, that's believable, but Richard is probably going to be too tough. Probably is better than Huybrechts as well, Kim's one of the better draws he could have got, and while I think it'll be tight, I see Veenstra just squeaking through
van den Bergh > Hempel > Slevin - First round game I feel will be really close, but I think Hempel's experience on this stage will be the difference. Dimitri's not been great this year relatively speaking, but I think he's still playing just about well enough that we don't see a repeat of the other year
Bunting > Joyce > Spellman - Shame all these are in this section. Ryan's peaking at the right time, Alex is one of the stronger international qualifiers, Joyce's experience should be key here, but Stephen's on fire and that level above all of them
Noppert > Williams > Muramatsu - Haruki's certainly not bad, and may be able to cause some problems for Scott who doesn't seem as good as last year, but Williams ought to get through, maybe in four sets. Danny however is a tier above and Scott's going to need his top game to get close to Danny's floor game
Schindler > Wattimena > Sherrock - Have enough confidence in Jermaine's game that he comes through, regardless of any crowd shenanigans or any high spots from Fallon. Martin's a different proposition, he's shown enough for some time now that he clearly projects as above Jermaine and should ease through
Heta > Lukeman > Puha - Think there's a reasonable case to make for either player in the first round, but I'm going to go with the card holder, does look like he may be getting things right at the right time. Damon's a class apart though, could certainly see either player getting a set, but the outright win seems too much of an ask
Rock > Woodhouse > van Peer - All players seem in kind of the same spot for their relative pot - up towards the top of it, not the absolute best, but better than average. The lower player in each case should have a shot, but the higher player in each case is that bit better

Humphries > Evans > Sosing - Like Lee's game. Should be more than enough against someone who looks like they might be a bit of a lucky qualifier. Humphries looks untouchable here though
Pietreczko > Rydz > Suzuki - Mikuru getting here is cool, but the numbers look like they are far too far off Ricardo's to stand a realistic chance. Ricardo should also handle Callan, Rydz's top game is better than Pietreczko's but it's so infrequently seen that we can't bank on it
Cullen > van Dongen > Penhall - Darren getting here is a cool story, but Jules has been playing far the better darts over the last few months that I don't think this is a close one. Will take Cullen in round two, Joe often finds a way to hit the right stuff at the right time on TV, but it's going to be tough and I can certainly defend a van Dongen pick
Searle > White > Goto - Ian's game's improved enough in the last twelve months that I think he should be able to deal with most of the qualifiers, and Goto's shown nothing to make me think White doesn't come through here. Ryan however is a different story and should have more than enough quality to eliminate Ian
Aspinall > Evans > Adams - Seems pretty easy this one, Simon seems like a fun guy to watch but won't be up to Ricky's standard. Ricky is a fun guy to watch but isn't up to Nathan's standards
Gurney > Nijman > Beaton - Think we get a similar sort of thing to last year where Steve plays steady but loses out to the younger Dutch player, and Wessel's a lot better than van Trijp was. Going to take Daryl in round two, I can certainly see a situation where Nijman wins it, he's good enough to do so, but I'll take the combination of mountains of big stage experience and improved performances this year
Chisnall > Menzies > Rodriguez - Bit of a rough draw for Rusty, running into one of the better players from the Pro Tour list, Cameron ought to cruise through this one. Was kind of half tempted to put him over Dave as well, that's just how good he is, but I think Dave puts meh TV performances this year behind him and gets it done
van Veen > Clemens > Leung - Hyper tough draw for the guy from Hong Kong, can't see how he can make this competitive. Clemens I think will keep the second game tight, I think it's probably closer between the two than most think, but Gian is a tad better and should get the win

Round 3

Smith > de Decker - I could make a case for Mike to beat a fair few seeds in this, and I've got him beating one already. Michael isn't as good as he was last year (cue keyboard warriors comments) but isn't one of those seeds that I think de Decker will get past
Smith > Dobey - One of those that could easily be match of the tournament, if not the year. Good pace, two good players, two players that look tight on paper, but I don't think some people recognise just quite how good Ross is playing right now
Cross > de Sousa - Seems an easy enough pick, Jose's one of the weaker seeds in the field, Rob one of the stronger ones, unless Rob has a mare I don't think Jose has the peak game any more to keep this one tight
Ratajski > Lennon - Steve getting through Clayton is one thing, but Krzysztof has such a consistent level of play and isn't tailing off, that I don't think Lennon sustains what he needs to get through here
Williams > van Barneveld - If Jim comes through Wright, I can't see him having a significant problem with Barney either. Then again last year I thought if he got through Wade he'd have no problems with Clemens. Regardless, Barney's in that group of seeds where I think Jim's the better player, so I'll take Jim to move on
Littler > Wade - Interesting one as to whether Luke handles the length of match against someone who was playing this sort of game before he was born. Probably going to be a tight game, James is certainly playing great stuff this year, but I think Littler's just that bit better and can get through it
Price > Mansell - If this one actually comes to fruition then it's going to be one of the easier ones to call. Probably that way regardless of who plays Gerwyn, who must be one of the shortest prices to make the last sixteen in the whole draw
Anderson > Krcmar - Nice run for Boris but against an elite level player like Gary is, he's not got the firepower to do it, at least not in a best of seven situation

van Gerwen > Veenstra - Richard's good. He's just not van Gerwen levels of good
Bunting > van den Bergh - Stephen's in excellent form and is awfully underrated. Dimitri isn't, and is probably overrated. One of those that looks close to the casual but probably ends up being anything but that
Noppert > Schindler - These two players feel fairly similar in styles to me, so this could be interesting, and I don't think there's as much between as the seedings might indicate, but Noppert I think has the edge in getting things done in majors and that'll be the difference
Rock > Heta - Looks like one of the better games between seeds in this round if everything goes to seeding plan, ought to be great to watch and very competitive. Will take the younger guy who looks to have the slight competitive edge and is trending upwards when it matters
Humphries > Pietreczko - Not thinking too long about this, Ricardo might have a spell where he wins a set or something like that, but Luke's too far ahead in terms of pure quality
Searle > Cullen - Feels close on paper, wouldn't be surprised if it goes either way, but I feel like Ryan's shown that little bit more in terms of results so will go with the minor seeding upset here
Aspinall > Gurney - Nathan's game looks to be a little bit better than Daryl's, and he has the confidence of having picked up a major title this year. Probably will be made to work for it, but should get the job done
van Veen > Chisnall - Appears a very competitive game on the face of things. I'll go with Gian here given Dave's slipped up on a few occasions on TV, and at the last 32 stage there might not be huge pressure on Gian to do something special yet

Round 4

Ross Smith > Michael Smith - When I say people don't recognise how well Ross is playing right now, I mean it. Michael's top game is better, but his general game right now isn't as good as Ross's is from where I'm looking. Certainly not by much, I expect this'd be close, but Ross to come through
Cross > Ratajski - Krzysztof's a strong player, but he's not quite at the level which Rob's been demonstrating this year, could be moderately competitive but I think Rob gets home
Littler > Williams - Can honestly see Luke's run going further. Said last season that Wade and Williams, when they played, were basically the same player. If Luke beats James, then saying he wouldn't beat Jim would be a bit inconsistent
Price > Anderson - This would be an absolutely explosive last sixteen match up. Gary could absolutely take it, but I'm going with the player that should be younger and fresher
van Gerwen > Bunting - I think this one would actually be very close. Michael doesn't seem untouchable like he was around 2017 or so, and Stephen's game is that much in the ascendency. Would not be surprised if Bunting was to get an upset, but I think MvG will have just enough
Rock > Noppert - Can't see Josh dropping the ball at the last sixteen stage this time. Josh I think has more gears to use than Danny has, that'll probably be the difference, if Josh has a poor showing then Danny's floor game would be enough, but I think he shows up to this one
Humphries > Searle - These two have had good games this season, and Ryan's been able to keep them competitive, can't see this being a walk over but do see it as one where Luke will have a set or two where he's unplayable that makes the difference
Aspinall > van Veen - I don't see a huge level of difference between the level of van Veen's potential opponents in rounds three and four as I've got it projected. Where I do see a difference is in Aspinall having gone deep in this before and having won majors before, and maybe at this stage the expectations on Gian add a bit too much pressure, the combination allowing Nathan to do what Chisnall doesn't

Quarter Finals

Cross > Smith - This comes down to course and distance for me - Rob's obviously won a world title before, while Ross has just the one major and would be well into uncharted territory at the worlds. In a game that's otherwise close, experience would be key for me
Price > Littler - Luke's run comes to an end here, while he's remarkably talented and the sky is the limit, he is not an elite level player right now. Gerwyn is
van Gerwen > Rock - Michael's got all the better statistics, has the knowledge of what to do at this stage, and I think there's be points in the match where Josh would have a duff leg or miss a key double, and van Gerwen would capitalise on it
Humphries > Aspinall - Can't see Nathan being able to keep up with someone playing at Luke's current level of form in a first to five sets match. He'd probably get a couple of sets, maybe slightly more, but Humphries' level of confidence is such that I just can't see a realistic path for Nathan to get five

Semi Finals

Price > Cross - If this was early season Price, I'd be a lot more confident in this one. Do think that late 2023 Price is just a touch better than Rob is, can't see this one being a blow out for sure, but Price should return to the final
van Gerwen > Humphries - Incredibly hard to pick against Luke, and this looks like it's a game that'd be very close to a coin flip. I'm just going to take the more experienced player, maybe it's a bit too much of an acceleration to get to the final here


Price > van Gerwen - I think whichever final we get this year is going to be a really close one - I just think van Gerwen's shown a few more slip ups over the course of the year, and in a final like this, those might result in the key break of throw or opportunity that makes the difference and allows Price to claim a second world title