Thursday 27 April 2023

Leeuwarden thoughts

The quali is done so we know everyone's game, not yet seeing lines (assuming they were waiting to see who came through to start pricing?), but we can get an idea of where we want to be punting now. First, FRH rankings pre event following Clayton's win over Rock last weekend (these include mincashes for this weekend, drop Noppert a place otherwise):

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

I'll post up odds later this evening (NFL draft is tonight so I'm staying up and doubt I'll be up before the session starts), but for now, the opinions:

Rock v Hall/Gawlas - We've not seen a lot out of Gawlas since his UK Open run, so will be interesting to see how his stage game continues, similarly this is going to be a good spot to see what Hall can do, I'm thinking Adam has a small edge, 55/45 or there abouts, but Rock should be far, far too strong for either opponent - up into the top 25 of the FRH rankings already and still a steady fifth on the yearly rolling scoring (to go off on a tangent, Price is actually top of that now, that's how good he's been recently), sticking a game between Josh and Adam right in the middle of 70% and 75%.

Chisnall v Lukeman/Dragt - Martin's still doing alright, but seems to have fallen a little bit off the radar and not quite getting the same results as last year, currently more than a Pro Tour win out of the Matchplay spots and is the highest ranked player not provisionally qualified for the worlds at this still early stage (I say that, but after this weekend we're as close as damnit to half way in the Euro Tour and a third of the way through the Pro Tour, so probably around 45% of the possible money will be known by now?). Dragt came through the qualifier beating Klaasen and Dekker, and will be looking to repeat his final day run from his previous appearance. A bit limited on data but it feels like Lukeman should be around a 2-1 favourite, while against Dave he'd be a bit more of an underdog than that, getting close to but not quite up to 30% chances.

Gilding v White/Monk - Misleading one to analyse this. Ian's doing a decent enough job of rebuilding so far, while Arron has been very hit and miss on his return to the tour. The projection gives this pretty much even, but Monk has lost nearly 60% of his legs played and is scoring a huge 7 points less per turn in those compared to Ian's four and a bit. Would chuck that projection out and instead pick 60%, maybe slightly more, for Ian out of the sky. White is actually only projecting as a small (45%) underdog against Gilding, so maybe chances for Diamond to get some solid points on the board this weekend.

Cross v Barry/Kantele - Marko's back on the Euro Tour again, capitalising on a pretty decent year so far on the SDC, but he's looking like a fair underdog in this one against Keane, a bit under the radar but still pretty dangerous, looks about a 70-75% chance for Barry. Cross would probably win a second round matchup with the young Irishman ever so slightly more than two times out of three.

Noppert v Razma/O'Shea - Important game for both, Madars is not completely out of the Matchplay race but could definitely do with a result here to help, while John is nowhere near making the worlds which he's probably going to need to do to retain his card. Appears genuinely too close to call, only seeing John as a favourite by a few percentage points, not even 55/45. Should be a simple enough job for Danny in round two, on home soil he's clearly the better player, has a much tighter game, seeing just over 70% in the raw predictions but could easily see me bumping this up to nearer 75%.

Cullen v Bunting/Smith-Neale - Stephen can't be too displeased with this draw, Adam doing merely OK on the circuit so far, data is limited with ASN having only won just over 50 legs in the database, but it's showing Bunting as having just over a two in three chance, which I feel might be an underestimate. A second round tie against Joe should be played at a nice pace, and one that ought to be very close - I've got Bunting as a favourite, that's just how well he's playing, but only just.

Heta v Beaton/Huybrechts - Good first round tie this, Steve's been playing the best he's done for a while over the last six months or there abouts, while Kim's back amongst the winners having picked up a Pro Tour this season. The statistics give this as even, can't separate the two. Heta is still playing at a very high level and should win a second round tie against either roughly right in the middle of two out of three and three out of four, he's got a big edge against either opponent.

Schindler v Anderson/Benecky - Gary's back! Not really the matchup the young Czech would have wanted, scoring nearer to 80 than 85 on the first DT weekend (wonder if, like Gawlas, they're going to think about making a mad dash for the second weekend if they go out) isn't really going to cut it against Gary, I have no data on Benecky but this ought to be silly to one sort of prices, while Gary's game is still good enough that he'd roll into a game with Martin as closer to a 65% than 60% favourite.

Aspinall v Pietreczko/Gurney - Ricardo's looking for back to back Saturday's on the Euro Tour after a win last week, and he's surprisingly close to creeping into the Matchplay spots, a first round win would put him less than a grand away. Tough opponent in Gurney, who's also coming off a good weekend, and Daryl does project as a small favourite, 55/45 or there abouts. Nathan's a step up in class again, but not by a massive amount - Aspinall would be favoured against Daryl, but it's only 60/40.

Clayton v Soutar/van Peer - Berry's going to pass on the Denmark Open having been the second player through the quali, winning against Landman after a moderately easy run to the final, we know he's playing well and is in the discussion as to who's the best non-card holder right now, but Alan's not bad at all and currently rates to me as a 60% favourite. Clayton's off the back of a confidence boosting win last weekend, and is at a high enough level that while Alan is getting close to a one win in three projection, it's not quite there, and we ought to see Jonny start a possible back to back run in what definitely appears a softer half of the draw.

Smith v Williams/Killington - Jim is here and will be looking to try to get back up towards the Matchplay spots, a game against George not being a bad draw for him at all. Killington's had flashes of quality but it's not been sustained and it's been a while since we've seen it, Jim should win a little more than two times in three. Michael is going to be a real tough task though, but Williams is certainly very live - 60% to 65% is where I'd set the line.

Searle v van Barneveld/van den Bergh - What a first round tie, players need no introduction, projections give it as a coinflip, just sit back and enjoy what ought to be maybe the first round tie of the year. Ryan is certainly not a bad seed for either to run into, I wouldn't put either first round player as much as 55% against him, but they're definitely favoured, weird spot where the seed is a dog whoever he's facing. Not sure I've seen that before. Still very close, will be a great game whatever.

van Gerwen v van Veen/Clemens - Another enjoyable section, Gian has caught many people's eyes this season, as well as the back end of the previous year, and is looking in a good spot to make the worlds so far, he'll face Clemens, who despite some decent play and a greater set of experience in big games is actually looking like the underdog here, I'd stick GvV right in the middle of 55% and 60% of win possibilities. van Gerwen would obviously be a really tough task for either, but I'm seeing Gian with slightly more than one in three chances, so it's not going to be a walk in the park for Michael on Saturday evening.

Wright v Boulton/Ratajski - Andy continues a good run as he looks to rebuild at Challenge Tour level, and runs into a tricky opponent in the recent Pro Tour winner. Ratajski is still a very high level player, but even I was a bit surprised to see Krzysztof project at 70%, I thought Boulton was a bit closer than that. Peter's scrambling for form, he can take heart in having come through some big games against Ratajski before, but I'm only seeing just over 60% year long for Wright - if I narrowed to this year, Ratajski would be favoured.

Humphries v Smith/Wattimena - The European champion begins his campaign against a Pro Tour qualifier on home soil, Jermaine's continuing to look competent enough after a bit of a down spell, but Ross is playing his best game as well and actually looks like just over a 70% shot, which surprised me slightly but I did think he would be favoured solidly enough. Assuming it's Ross that comes through, it's not at all unlikely that he's able to turn over Humphries, Luke's winning chances only barely creeping over 55% after what's been an indifferent start to 2023.

van Duijvenbode v Slevin/Hausotter - I know nothing about Marcel, other than that he came through the associate qualifier beating Stefan Bellmont and then three non-descript Germans, not averaging above 85 in any of the four games and dropping under 80 twice, which coupled with possible big stage nerves should make this pretty comfortable for Dylan, who's already had one very good run, lots of single match flashes and an overall game that very much belongs at the Pro Tour level. Against Dirk in the Netherlands though, he's kind of fucked, 80/20 is what I'm seeing. That's a big task.

Back later with actual tips.

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