Tuesday 2 January 2024


Not going to recap the semis, there'll be plenty of people who will be doing that for us and I have to imagine 99.99% of people who'll ever read this will have watched the games already. We've got Luke on Luke violence in the final, I'm expecting a great match, but where's the value? I think we've got to drill down on context here - Littler's stats are strongly, strongly weighted towards the current tournament. Over a sample from after the last worlds, Humphries is the third highest scorer (Anderson, Price) in the world - but Littler's raised himself up to thirteenth in that timeframe just in this tournament. If you look back at our preview, which did include 2022-3 worlds data (which naturally wouldn't have affected Littler's numbers, but will have affected some others), we only had him just inside the top 32. That's how much he's progressed. There is every single reason to think he's outperforming his season long numbers and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out.

But what of win chances? Year long, it's exactly (to the one hundredth of one percent) 70/30 in favour of Humphries. After the UK Open, no real change. From May onwards however, it shifts to just 60/40 in Humphries' favour, with Littler at this point scoring in the top five in the world - albeit at this stage, Littler is down to just 267 legs of sample, 132 (or nearly half) are from this one tournament. Of course, we know Humphries' quality in terms of results was back loaded, so let's look closer. Post-Matchplay, it's still about 60/40 Humphries. However, if we go post-September, it becomes a touch more than 55/45 in favour of Littler. If we look at just this tournament, it is a crazy 70/30 in favour of Littler - that's just how good he has been, his overall scoring is second only to Chris Dobey in the entire field, and it's two points better than Humphries has been doing. I don't think I can touch this game at the current odds of 8/11 - Humphries only looks good at those odds on the longest of samples, on anything more recent than that, we tend to Littler, and we have to think about whether Humphries seemingly being set up to win the whole thing where as Littler is on a huge free hit does play a factor. I'm sure the elder Luke will not be phased by the final scenario - he has after all binked three majors in very recent memory, but I don't see the younger Luke being affected either. I can't really look past what the market says - Humphries is favourite, but not by much.

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