Friday 17 November 2023

Slam quarters

This has suddenly become wide open, MvG not looking his mercurial best and dropping out at the last sixteen stage, let's look at the quarters:

Wade/Rock - Is it me, or is this not quite as close as the market is making out? Rock looked pretty steady throughout the group stages, and solid enough in the game against Ratajski, although could probably have tightened up the odd leg, while Wade looked comparable in the group stages (although did lose to Ratajski notably), and maybe a touch quicker in finishing than Rock did. Wade's getting results of late, but Josh jumps up with the sizable increase in match length up to around 65% chances. The questions I have is whether James' quality of play very recently drags it back a bit, and this is unchartered waters for Rock, particularly in leg play which historically has been a favoured format of Wade. Rock should take this, maybe slightly more often than the 8/11 price suggests, I'm just not sure he does it often enough in reality to really recommend a play.

Humphries/Anderson - This might be a title decider, albeit with the previously mentioned caveats as to whether Gary, at this stage in his career, has the stamina to be able to come through two best of 31 length matches in one day. Before we get to that question however, he's got to come through now tournament favourite Luke Humphries, and will have a day after to recover if he gets it done. This is a redo from the group stage where Luke won convincingly 5-1, but Gary didn't exactly play badly in that one. Luke generally looked better against common opponents in the group stage, and looked spectacular in a great game against Ryan Searle - albeit Ando looked just as good in knocking out Gerwyn Price. In a decent sample size, I'm seeing Ando as having 58% winning chances - they've both had a day to rest up, Anderson can throw everything into this game, and we're getting a pretty solid price on Betfair. 0.25u Anderson 27/20, even if we said that Luke's quality of play and probable better conditioning for a long game is worth an increase of 5% winning chances, that's still giving Ando 10% more chances than the market implies, and we can't pass that edge up when betting on statistically the best player in the world this year. Winning two Pro Tours in the last two months where you've got to win a best of 11, 13 and 15 fairly close to back to back against high level opponents makes me thing Anderson can still handle a one off best of 31.

Buntz/Bunting - Stowe's made history by being the first American to get this far, but has been pretty darned fortunate to do so - running out to a 5-0 lead against Gilding which maybe masked the quality of his play, ending with another sub-90 average and claiming eight of the ten legs in 19, 21, 17, 17, 20, 17, 20 and 17 darts, a standard that ought to be punished by a better opponent. Bunting didn't really do this in the group stage, and didn't particularly need to do so against Noppert in the last sixteen, but is absolutely a top 16 level player this season and clearly has the ability to do so. We're not overly confident that the data on Buntz, although not small, is quite level with how well he's played, but we do think that Bunting should be a bit shorter than 1/4. Probably not that much shorter than we can bet this, but I would be very surprised if Buntz's run doesn't end here.

Heta/Cross - Damon's successfully knocked out the guy who looked like the favourite to win the whole thing, while Cross looked much better in a relentless display that took out Aspinall by the odd break 10-8. Cross is playing the best he has done likely since he won the world title and is up at a top five level of play, while Damon hasn't been playing badly, but is maybe a point or two off where he was at a year or two ago, and with the length of the match here at the quarter final stage, appears to only have about a one in three chance against the former world champion. That makes things close to a play on Rob, who's installed at 8/13, and I wouldn't dissuade you if you wanted to punt on it (as long as it's not done for stupid reasons like "heta going to have post-mvg win letdown lel"), but I think there's enough reasons to believe that Damon might be upturning a little better than Rob is, and just hold off for now.

Back on Sunday morning, maybe Saturday night, for the last four.

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