Thursday 20 June 2024

Long time no see? Leverkusen thoughts/bets

Alright, the hiatus is done, and it is basically go time for people wanting to get into the Matchplay. With just the two PC events after this, it's pretty much do something here or go home. Let's blast through thoughts in a little bit of a different way, I'm just going to go with gut feelings and what I've thought from looking at the players previously, just throw it out there, then come back with actual picks in the morning. Vamos.

Szaganski/Taylor - I have to love how the PDC refers to him as "D Taylor" in the second round draw. As if we're thinking that Phil made a comeback, or that Scott's qualified out of nowhere OH WAIT HE CAN'T NOW, THANKS PDC. Anyway, Dom's seemingly the better player. Radek has the Pro Tour win, but it's kind of feeling like a tad of an outlier, while Taylor's quietly getting better and better. Radek seems a decent sized dog here.

Sedlacek/Dennant - Interesting one. We know a fair bit about both, Karel's been up and down and probably has a higher peak game, but feels a tad off it for now, while Matthew has maybe not made a fantastic start after getting a card after all these years, not saying it's bad but maybe there could have been a bit more. Got to lean the Czech, if only for more stage experience, but may be tight.

Hughes/Slevin - Think both of these were late call ups after a swathe of withdrawals. Not heard a huge amount from either for maybe a year now, Jamie's kind of regressed to just a guy who is there, while Dylan's hype train which was pretty damn large a bit more than a year ago appears to be cancelled. Fair opportunity for both, could go either way.

Blum/Doets - Nico is a name I've seen for some time, but not for a bit. Hard to say where he's at. Kevin ought to be pretty comfortable here, still playing well and still in the Blackpool equation, he certainly can't complain with the draw.

Edhouse/Dueckers - Ritchie seems pretty darned safe for Blackpool at this stage, and can't complain with this draw against Jan, who I think we saw earlier in the season but I'm guessing was just fodder for someone in the opening round, if he'd won a game I'd probably have remembered it. Ought to be routine for Edhouse this.

de Graaf/Gilding - This one ought to be alright, Jeffrey's continuing to grow back to where he was at at his peak on all the circuits (still playing SDC don't forget), while Goldfinger is kind of just hanging on to some degree, looking alright in spots but just not feeling like a consistent top 32 player. Might be a sneaky best game of the day.

Baetens/Rafferty - That said, this one might be alright as well. Andy's not made a deep run yet, but has not looked out of place at the PDC level in the slightest, and it may just be a matter of putting in the reps and waiting for something to click. Similarly, it feels like Nathan is becoming more and more at home at the senior level, and may also be on the cusp of pushing through. Still got to favour the WDF champ, but could be a competitive fun watch.

Kantele/Gurney - On the other hand, this feels like it might be a bit of a damp squib. Marko had a decent 2023, but 2024 has been a bit subdued, not that he's ever really been an explosive player, as such Daryl, who's been pretty solid for some time now, ought to have a routine victory.

Pratnemer/Troppmann - Now this is peak Euro Tour. Benjamin's a name I primarily know through coming through the Eastern Euro quali for the worlds probably 5+ years ago at this stage. Fuck knows where he's at. Kevin's a domestic qualifier who we saw once earlier this year I want to say, and I have no clue where he's at. So anything can happen. This is the game you want to open the evening session.

Kurz/Rydz - This one feels like it should be fun to watch, but chaotic to call. Nico might have passed up on the best chance he had to really get up in the rankings already, but this isn't the first time we've seen him this year so could be improving, while Callan has been the archetypal feast or famine player for maybe a decade at this stage, dating back to when he somehow missed out on getting a card for years. Rydz is better, but this is an awful game to feel confident about.

Bates/Cullen - Owen's not really made a huge impression since getting on the tour, he's been at this level once or twice before but it feels like he's just getting used to the pro stage in some respects. Joe's not done a great deal, doesn't feel like he's anywhere near his best game, but usually shows up when I bet against him. Ought to be Cullen, but who knows.

van Barneveld/Ratajski - Let me point out how stupid this is as a first round game here. Absurd. This feels like a pure flip to me.

Smith/Wade - Copy the above, except Smith should win, and given Wade's tenuous hold on a Matchplay spot as of right now, this is the bastard of all bastard draws.

de Decker/Woodhouse - I want to say we have seen this one before already. This looks super evenly matched - two players on the periphery of that top 32 battle on various rankings, both can be really good, both can also look shit, Woody's looking in for Blackpool while Mike's looking out, it's one that appears real close on paper but could end up getting nervy. And nervy darts is peak darts.

Clemens/van Duijvenbode - Let us continue with this stupid run of first round games. Both are actually out of the Matchplay right now, and if Wade wins his opening game it'll be by a lot. The players feel like they're evenly matched, they just need to avoid running into a tough second round draw whoever wins, they don't want anything like the defending champ... oh.

Meikle/van den Bergh - Ryan might be coming out of a horrific run of form, which is kind of important as he's one of those players who's in a battle to hold his card when it gets to the end of the year. Dimitri's clearly not the best draw that he could have got, and he's going to be an underdog, but there's certainly worse players he could have run into as opposed to the UK Open champion, and he's got the peak game to challenge DvdB. The Belgian probably should see this out, but can't take too many liberties in this one.

Bets in the morning.

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