Thursday 7 March 2024

Belgian bonanza

OK, quick post covering two things. First up, Dimitri binking the UK Open was a fairly big surprise. Looking through the numbers he was playing solidly but not spectacularly, i.e. a good enough level to go deep, but actually winning it needed something a bit more in the final, and one way or another he got it done, which has done this to the FRH rankings:

1 Luke Humphries
2 Michael Smith
3 Michael van Gerwen
4 Rob Cross (+1)
5 Nathan Aspinall (-1)
6 Gerwyn Price
7 Peter Wright
8 Damon Heta (+2)
9 Jonny Clayton (-1)
10 Dave Chisnall (-1)
11 Dimitri van den Bergh (+8)
12 Joe Cullen (-1)
13 Stephen Bunting
14 Chris Dobey
15 James Wade (+1)
16 Danny Noppert (-4)
17 Ryan Searle (NEW)
18 Luke Littler (NEW)
19 Dirk van Duijvenbode (-4)
20 Andrew Gilding (-3)

Ross Smith and Josh Rock drop out since the last update (which hasn't been since the worlds), but both, along with Gary Anderson, are primed to jump back in if they have a moderately decent run this weekend. The two Michaels are separated by less than 10k, Heta trails Wright by less than 5k, Chizzy meanwhile is less than 500 points behind Clayton. Dimitri gets himself into a little bit of an island, with 12th down to 23rd being one fairly close pack with the only real sizable gap being from Dobey down to Wade.

We now get to the first of the new Euro Tour events. The domestic quali is done (de Vos getting Raman in the last 64 was lol), so let's power through the first round in the draw order:

Joyce/Gilding - Not a huge amount to separate the two. Ryan seems to be in more of the ascendency with Gilding's best form dating back to twelve months ago and not really managing a massive amount more than just ticking over since then, leaving Joyce about a 55/45 favourite.

Woodhouse/Hurrell - Woody had a good weekend, and while Hurrell's a known player, he's not really overly close to Luke's level and probably only nicks this one in three.

Wright/de Vos - Wright's form has been well documented, so while getting a domestic qualifier is not a terrible result, getting the pick of them in de Vos is not ideal. Has been a little bit since we've seen him but a performance like he put in in the last round of the quali would be enough to put Peter under some pressure.

van Peer/Klose - Feels like we've seen this one fairly recently? Not sure where, Klose played more than one Dutch player in the UK Open but it wasn't Berry. van Peer's better but it's only between the 55% and 60% bracket and one that can go either way fairly easily.

Dolan/Strobbe - Brendan's in a bit of an awkward season where he could do with stepping up a little, but this is a good start. Strobbe couldn't break more than the low 80 averages in the quali and the final round was particularly poor, dropping below 70 (albeit with multiple legs where both were dicking around on doubles) so it's hard to see Dolan having problems here. Strobbe played a bunch of Challenge Tour last year and only got one mincash so can't see him being a threat.

Littler/de Sousa - Jose's coming off a real bad UK Open loss (although that may be magnified in my eyes given it cost me more than a few quid), and comes in as a natural dog against the hottest name in the sport. Luke's weirdly only just below 75% to take this but it feels like it should be more and I guess it will be priced accordingly.

Schindler/Cullen - Martin got one big win last weekend, while Cullen continues to be ranked alright despite seeming to not be doing a massive amount. Schindler's actually projecting as a huge 70/30 favourite for some reason, there is a solid difference in numbers right now so while that feels big, it doesn't seem quite so ridiculous on inspection of the data.

Gurney/Wattimena - Sort of game that Jermaine, and anyone coming through the tour card quali, really has to exploit. Gurney's solid, but this is an avoidal of many of the bigger guns, although it's another game where there's a 70/30 line, which I thought again might be tighter.

Wade/van Barneveld - We're going to see a lot of these lol sort of first round matches given the new format going forward. Thought this might be on a knife edge but Barney oddly gets closer to 60% than 55%, which is a surprise given RvB has, like Cullen, been somewhat under the radar.

Aspinall/Veenstra - Bit of a tough tie for Nathan this, particularly given a fairly quick travel turn around that won't help him or anyone else who is in Brighton tonight. Looks like an exact two in three game for the Asp, but Richard's solid and maybe this ends up being a touch closer than that projection suggests.

Wenig/van Put - Born's a relatively new name, and seemingly quite young based on playing weekend one of the Development Tour, reaching a last sixteen once and doing enough to get to stage two of Q-School. Looking at the numbers in the quali though, he only broke 80 once so it's pretty hard to see how Wenig doesn't come through this one at a canter.

Dobey/Grbavac - Romeo is I believe a new name to the European Tour, but did give a bit of an announcement with a solid Challenge Tour weekend that has placed him in the top 10 after the first weekend. That's good to see, but someone as good as Dobey is should have a second round place booked pretty quickly.

Caron/Clemens - Final domestic qualifier is a new name to me, he did get through stage 1 of Q-School but did little in stage two and had a 0/5 slate of cashing in the first Challenge Tour weekend. The quali numbers show some encouragement, he was above 80 every time and hitting the higher points of that range more than once, so he's got something about him but Clemens is going to be a real tough ask.

Harrysson/van Veen - Andreas is someone we've seen before, but not for a while, and the first Challenge Tour weekend was somewhat underwhelming. With van Veen showing somewhat of a return to form at Minehead it's hard to look past Gian in this one.

van den Bergh/Bunting - Another one of the pretty big draws that we can get, which is spicier than it might otherwise be for obvious reasons. Bunting's basically projecting at 60/40 but there's clear reasons why we might think that this game plays out closer than that in real life.

de Decker/Landman - Final game seems like a fairly obvious call to make, Mike's shown a continually improving game to the point where he's getting in majors, and is projecting a tad over 70% against Landman, who's had some alright results over the past twelve months without really putting up enormous numbers, so it's hard to see how Chris can overturn the odds in this one.

Will post up something in the morning in terms of bets once lines are established.

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