Thursday 7 September 2023

Long time no post - ET11 is here

It's been a month with not a great deal happening, but some things have happened that make some things fairly clear - Gian van Veen and Luke Littler are both immense talents, Andy Baetens remains one of the strongest non-card holders, and Gerwyn Price is still the best player in the world. I'll pick up on some other minor things as they pertain to players in the opening round, but let's get straight into picks for round one of the German Darts Open.

Doets/Goffin - Kevin caused a bit of a stir by being the latest random player to make a run to a Pro Tour final, just missing out to Luke Humphries on Monday and not letting the average slip below 90 at all, I say random which might have unfair connotations, he's been noted here in the past, just not for a bit of time. Callum is also improving a bit, to the point where the price you can get (2/1) might be slightly long, but not by an enormous amount considering the confidence Kevin must have right now.

Razma/Burton - Madars is continuing to flash here and there, but with mediocre overall scoring which indicates he is in somewhat of a false position in the order of merit (what exactly did he do to get that high in the first place?), and Stephen isn't actually too far behind him in terms of quality, although he's not done fantastically in terms of results with just a couple of board wins to his credit. Appears moderately close on paper, Madars having the edge but only just above 60%, the bookies actually have this closer still so I don't exactly hate it if you wanted to take the 10/11 pick that's available on Ladbrokes. Might be one where stage experience comes in.

Plaisier/Killington - Wesley got himself one of the Challenge Tour wins since the last post, restoring thoughts that he's one of the better non-card holders which we all thought he was before a disappointing Q-School, so appears to be playing well, while George has had a pretty rough time in terms of results, although is not playing too badly. My projections are misleading due to inconsistency from Killington and sample size from Plaisier, but I think this is one which the bookies might have right - if anything, the evens or slightly odds against available on George looks like it would be the smarter money, although I'm tipping neither.

van de Griendt/Tessmann - Oh boy, what a game to try and call. van de Griendt is down in the 40-something rankings on the Challenge Tour, getting through the associate qualifier (back in May so not even recent form) not beating anyone better than Jeroen Mioch and only scraping a 90 average once, while Tessmann if anything is worse, coming through the domestic quali on the same day, with just the single average above 85 and only coming into one "known" player in Lukas Wenig in the final round. Real difficult to say - Roy I think should be better, but how much is pure guesswork and prices just longer than 1/2 feel about right.

Scutt/van Dongen - Connor is continuing to play alright, scoring in the low 89 per turn bracket which is respectable enough, with one really decent Pro Tour run a bit ago, so he should fancy his chances, but Jules is playing probably his best stuff since joining the tour right now, getting a tour board win just this last week (being one of only a couple of players to be able to beat Price in the last five Pro Tours), and the numbers over a larger slate aren't too far behind. I'd put Jules at just above 40% in that bracket, maybe a bit higher given some alright results this week, so the 4/6 across the board on Scutt isn't of interest, and Jules isn't long enough to punt either.

Slevin/de Graaf - Dylan has dropped a bit under the radar after an early announcement onto the Pro Tour, so much so that he may well still have a bit of work to do to make the worlds here, and he's got the Nordic qualifier in former BDO darling Jeffrey de Graaf (yes, really), beating pretty much entirely domestic Finnish "talent" outside of an early run in with Dennis Nilsson, not having to do a great deal in terms of averages to qualify. There's enough from the Nordic tour to make a decent shot at calling this, and it appears fairly tight, but maybe Slevin playing at a higher level more often will be the difference, I do have him projecting slightly higher (although de Graaf is scoring very well in losing turns), if I needed to punt I'd probably say that the 7/4 on Jeffrey is a bit harsh and might be tiny value, but we don't need to punt.

Kovacs/de Decker - Patrik isn't an unfamiliar name, having shown up on the Euro Tour a few times before, most recently in Prague losing to Martin Lukeman with an OK average, but got here through the Eastern Europe qualifier where arguably his hardest opponent came in the first round in Sebastian Steyer, while Mike is continuing to push up towards a top 32 position, and will be looking to make no mistakes in this one. Hard to see him doing so, although Patrik seems to have enough about him to not want us to invest in the Belgian at shorter than 1/3.

Labanauskas/Menzies - Real case of varying form here, Darius has looked quite poor for some time now, and has barely won a game all year, while Cameron continues to play some fantastic darts which saw him hit a couple of board wins recently to push him back up into the worlds qualification spots as of right now, and he'd desperately want to add another £1,250 to his count here. He should do comfortably, 1/3 on Menzies is almost worth a play given I'd put a fair odds price as 1/5.

Bunting/Mansell - Stephen continues to play quietly well, with another semi final to his name fairly recently only losing out to Gerwyn Price, and the numbers continue to look solid - Mickey meanwhile has had a couple of quarter finals this year and is himself also putting some decent markers down, and actually projects moderately close, showing comfortably over 40% chances according to the master computer. I'm reluctant to bet against Bunting, and I think I can use the consistency factor to talk me out of an otherwise tempting looking 2/1, when Stephen isn't winning his standard barely drops, which is more of a factor for Mickey, certainly wouldn't be betting on the Bullet but can stop myself.

Soutar/Evans - Market for this one is oddly suspended on Betfair, so don't know if there's some sort of late withdrawal I don't know about yet? Will keep an eye out, but for now we'll just assume this is as it is. Alan's perhaps not quite where he was a year to eighteen months ago, while Ricky's shown signs of improvement and the occasional flash of quality, and actually projects as about a 55/45 favourite with a consistency bonus to boot. Markets seem to be unable to split them, I'd need a bit more confidence in Ricky in order to take 10/11 unfortunately, but we're definitely not going Soots here.

Raman/Kurz - Nico is the second home nation qualifier, again not coming through too many names of note, only breaking the 80 average in a close tie with Ole Holtkamp, otherwise looking distinctly ordinary and way, way off his best, as such Brian, who's looking very much one and done in terms of tour card status barring some late miracles, ought not to have too much trouble even with relatively mediocre stats. Brian's generally floating in between 1/2 and 4/6, if the qualifier was recently I think I'd probably go with it, but it was back in May so Nico could easily have recovered form, and peak Nico beats current Raman.

Gurney/Lennon - This ought to be a fun tie, Daryl has continued steady improvement and is probably looking as good as he has done at least since he was a Premier League player, scoring surpassing the likes of Damon Heta, Ryan Searle, Dimitri van den Bergh etc, he's looking a legitimate threat to win things again and had a semi final just this week. Steve is continuing to score north of 90 himself as he looks to solidify a provisional worlds spot, and ought to keep this more than respectable. Daryl should be favoured here though, and I'm seeing closer to 65% than 60%, the market sees this as even more one sided, but I'm not about to jump on Lennon at 7/4.

Hempel/Wade - Florian could definitely do with a win here to try to push up towards the worlds spots following a first board win of the season recently, being stopped by a resurgent Callan Rydz, but he's going to have trouble against Wade, who looks to be trending in the right direction after some time where he's not been making headlines, maybe not outperforming his world ranking but certainly halting a slide. James should take this 70% of the time, prices pretty much match this.

Klose/Pietreczko - It was nearly Daniel that became the next German to win a Pro Tour, with a narrow final loss to Price having beaten two world champions along the way, showing something of the game which was noticed at Q-School, while Ricardo badly needs a result being the last man into the Grand Prix field as of now, a win would add the full 2.5k to his ranking and push him real close to those just above him, while having Hungary as back up. Appears very tight, Ricardo is outscoring him, but winning legs are close, and Pietreczko only projects a couple of percent higher. Market slightly favouring him seems fine to me.

Woodhouse/Clemens - The second German in through the Order of Merit invites is here in Clemens, another good deep run in the Pro Tour recently keeping the scoreboard ticking over, while Luke is currently on the outside looking in in terms of Grand Prix qualification, but continues to put up impressive statistics more often than not, as well as of course having that run to a first Pro Tour final fairly recently. Another one that's going to be rather tight, I actually project Luke to be slightly better, but we're only talking 55/45 and given it's a pressure situation and he's effectively the away team, I can talk myself out of 6/5 - but only just.

Whitlock/van Veen - Simon is still capable of good darts, he has after all got to a Pro Tour final this year, but he's got a pretty nasty record in terms of first round floor defeats so it seems like duff games are becoming more frequent as the undefeated Father Time is maybe catching up a bit, and a duff game is what he can't have against Gian, maybe the hottest name in darts right now with another recent Pro Tour final and what appears to be a very good chance of making the Grand Prix, currently less than a grand outside with two shots to get across the line. Appears another 70/30 in favour of the Development Tour champion (please say that he is drawn for the session of the Slam I have tickets for), you can get slightly better than 1/2 in places, but we need a lot better than that to start punting.

So no bets, but a lot of close calls if you want to be a bit riskier than I'm being, which shouldn't be very hard. Back Friday evening with picks, although as I need to be up incredibly early for football on the Saturday, it may well be a rapid fire update. Possibly even do the first eight games soon after the afternoon session and the rest later.

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