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The Players Championship

28 Nov 12 17:42


In our betting preview for the Grand Slam we highlighted the fact that the bottom part of the draw appeared to be the easiest route to the final and gave one of the outsiders a great chance of getting to the final. It was Barney (yes I admit I was wrong about Barney) who came through and such has been his form recently was actually one of the outsiders we rather generally referred to.

We highlighted Newton, Hamilton and a rollercoaster ride with The Bull as possible contenders for the spot Barney collected in the final. Jenkins was disappointing; from an outsider looking in he appears more interested in his two man dart show with The Pie Man than winning darts tournaments! We will put our pound each way on a different ride this time round.

The same scenario (just the other way round) where this time the top half of the draw looks a slightly less hazardous route  for this tournament. The first player in the frame is Dave Chisnall. I like Chizzy. He doesn’t think too deeply about the game that is true, but that seems to suit him. I would also recommend Chizzy’s apprenticeship that has helped him to make it to the top of the PDC. For years he trekked around entering as many tournaments as he could get to. He built up valuable time on the oche, competing against all levels of players and has become a better player because of all that experience.

But! He does seem to fade in tournaments. On the floor he is brilliant. His experience of long days in dingy rooms playing darts means that the PDC floor tournaments are second nature to him. He won the PDC floor event last Saturday! The problem seems to be for Chisnall to repeat form from a day or two earlier. Maybe it is something to do with his preparation, maybe he gets over confident after a good win and gets brought down to earth in the next round. If he can get over this and get through to Sunday the quarters, semis and final are all on Sunday. This will suit Chizzy down to the ground.

Barney is also in the top half but can he repeat the trick of a couple of weeks ago? I don’t think so. The competition is much fiercer and it may be too much to expect Barney to win again. James Wade is also in this section, we advised a watching brief for the Grand Slam and this proved the right decision and nothing has changed to alter that. Kim Huybrechts. Pipe and The King seem to be the most likley challengers out of the balance of the top half.

The bottom half is a minefield. If things go to seeding there would be quarter final clashes between Taylor and Van Gerwen and Whitlock and Newton with the winners playing each other in the semi. See what I mean about a minefield! Because if things don’t go to form Anderson, last year’s winner Painter, Nico as well as The Hammer are all lurking in this part of the draw as well.

Jackpot is also down there too. It is reported on the PDC site that Lewis is expecting to be a Father for the second time this week! Yes, I had to read it twice and for a moment I had visions of the most amazing child bearing feats being performed by Jackpot. These were the only amazing feats by Lewis I could conjure up to be honest and the watching brief from the Grand Slam also stays in place for this weekend.

Overall though, Taylor and Van Gerwen are still the men to beat in the bottom half of the draw. We will stick with Mighty Mike at 5/1 and ignore the 7/2 for Taylor to take the title. Let’s give Chizzy a go for our rollercoaster ride; each way at 9/1 seems fair. Barney is at 12/1 which I am sure will tempt some but it’s not for me, I have been wrong before mind!


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In our preview of the Grand Slam we likened the diverse mixture of players to a fantasy football competition. In your fantasy football team you have a handful of great players, some with the potential (you hope) to come good and some hapless individuals to make up the numbers. Our football fantasy analogy seems to be an accurate one!

Painter, he is your reliable tough tackling midfielder type, say Charlie Adam. They both show a touch of class from time to time too!  Painter overcame Winstanley, Deano unfortunately played the role of the misfiring striker, time after time missing the target to end on a 27% doubles rate.
The BDO boys didn’t fare too well in the next two games. Waites showed enough to believe he still has a chance to qualify but King V Dekker was embarrassingly easy for Mervyn!

Hankey had to resort to pretending the crowd were distracting him and a feeble attempt to wind up The Thorn by ushering him off the oche. I am not sure what player you can liken Hankey to; he would definitely play on the right wing though.

His flawed oche position combined with his poor finishing resulted in an easy win for Thornton. Some diehard Hankey fans argued that he did have darts at the double virtually every leg. This is true but when you examine the facts, these attempts were at, 116, 130 and 140. When he did have three darts at tops and three at ten he fluffed it.

Van Gerwen rapidly disposed of Beaton and Taylor did the same to Stompe. Stompe has not been around the PDC circuit for a few months. He has gone back to basics, playing pub darts in Holland to get some confidence back.  I am not sure about this plan. If Andy Murray for example was playing poorly would he go off and thrash some grass roots players to get his confidence back?

I don’t think he would. Just starting to win matches again against inferior opposition is not the key. You have to deal directly with whatever it is that is causing the loss of form. Otherwise all you are doing is reinforcing whatever the problem is and when you come back to the higher level of the game nothing has changed.

Stompe may be better advised to do some work on his technique. His third dart seems to be a particular issue; he does a little “bunny hop” as he releases the dart. In some ways taking a break from the game as you try to sort out any technique issues is also the best option. You alleviate any compulsion to go back to doing what you have always done as your “autopilot” can kick in during a match ruining all the work you have done on any changes you have made.

The two young lads out of the academy were up next, the Arron Ramsey and Leighton Baines of the PDC, Hubbard and Monk. Hubbard lost 5:2 to The Wizard and Monk turned over Wade 5:1. Wade is clearly not 100% and arguably the decision to go ahead and play matches is, as his walk on song says, bonkers!
From a betting perspective the round robin format is a great guide to help with selections. The losers from each group last night play each other and then the winners.

Betting

Waites is a best price 5/9 to beat Co and Beaton 4/7 to beat Hankey. On the evidence of last night they are worth considering. Hubbard V Winstanley is an intriguing match. If Deano keeps misfiring Hubbard is in with a shout of getting his first grand slam victory. Perhaps hold off until all the handicap prices are fully available, that may be the way forward.

This afternoon the players in the lower half of the draw get started. The 4/6 on The Hammer at -2.5 legs against Bates looks tempting. This means Bates has to win three legs to scupper the bet. He hasn’t managed to win 3 legs in 3 matches yet. He lost 5:0, 5:1 and 5:1 last year.

Finally a mention for Peter Manley for the most one eyed idiotic comment ever heard during sports commentary! He claimed in his day players never missed doubles, adding as what he must have believed was indisputable evidence,” players like Keith Deller”!
Bonkers!
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The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.
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The Grand Slam of Darts

09 Nov 12 12:49
We mentioned in our Grand Slam preview that the group of players were a diverse bunch and all with a mixture of current form and other trials and tribulations to cope with. Nevertheless, that doesn't necessarily mean it is going to be any easier selecting any winning bets!

The Champion

Taylor is a best price 7/4 with Victor, does that make you purr like a **** cat?  No me neither. But it is not that long ago that you would have been hunting down the back of the sofa for every last penny to lump on The Power at 7/4. Of course come next Sunday night we may be kicking ourselves for not fishing out the dusty pound coins and investing in Taylor to come right back into form.


One good reason for not backing The Power is the top half of the draw looks a minefield (Groups A,B,C and D). From a form point of view, The Wizard and Mighty Mike are arguably the top two at the moment. They can swerve each other until very late in the tournament. The early 12/1 for Whitlock has long gone but currently the odds 10/1 (General) for The Wizard and 12/ 1 at SkyBet for van Gerwen and they are both worth considering each way.

Also in the top half is James Wade. Obviously usually a potential winner of any tournament but only a watching brief due to his well publicised illness. Scott Waites is probably the best of the BDO bunch in the top half. He has found some form in recent times and has Grand Slam pedigree of course! He is 50/1 to win it, the odds may seem generous but his form has been erratic. Thornton, King, Winstanley, Painter and the youngsters Hubbard and Monk make for a really tough route to the final for this section.

Lewis and Anderson are paired together in Group E but can anyone say with any confidence how these two will fare? They have both had difficult seasons, personal issues and other distractions. I would suggest a watching brief on these two as well. Not least as the wily John Part and the crowd favourite and BDO stalwart The Silverback are in the same group, so one or both of them may not even survive the first hurdle! If you are braver than me Lewis is available at 9/1 (General) and Anderson at 20/1 (General).

Barney is also at 20/1, good luck with that! If Lewis and Anderson are out out of sorts this may open the door for one of the outsiders in the bottom half to make a bid for a final place at least. You can have: Newton at 25/1, Jenkins at a generous 50/1 and the Hammer at 33/1. The Bull can beat anyone and at 50/1 you could get a thrilling roller coaster ride for your £1 each way!

The Lakeside champion Christian Kist is also in this side of the draw. In the form he showed at the BDO World Championships he could be a contender, no doubt. However, limited appearances on the BDO circuit, albeit with some good form in the last couple of months, means it is going to be a massive task for him to prevail. At 50/1 it is tempting but I would prefer to see him in action before investing.
Also in the bottom half are two other BDO players. Wesley Harms is a good player, from a performance point of view look out for his gloves and “sticky fingers”. Martin Phillips is well known at the Grand Slam, a Welsh legend and cracking player on his day, they are both capable of causing an upset and Newton and Jenkins will need to be at their best!

On current form it is tough to choose between Whitlock and Van Gerwen coming out on top. If like me you can’t split them, you can back them both each way and still profit!
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The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.
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We suggested recently a more deliberate approach to throwing your darts (in particular the first) could pay dividends. It seems Colin Osborne and Paul Nicholson may have been thinking the same thing! Osborne was assisted by the unfortunate meltdown of James Wade with what looked like symptoms of his much publicised fight against his demons. Nevertheless, “The Wizard” looked far more deliberate in his action and much more self assured than he has done recently. He looked like he knew where the final destination of his thrown dart would be.

Paul Nicholson also focused on playing darts and not trying to add more Twitter followers to his account or keeping his marketing manager happy. Rodders has been explaining how dart players need to “keep it simple” and Paul Nicholson did just that. He discarded the hype and despite one glaring error played very well.

Another player who surprised a few darts fans last night was Steve Beaton. He has the class we all know that but even his most ardent fan will admit he has been inconsistent of late. Beaton has a very nice smooth and uncomplicated action which we also discovered matches his golf swing. He put his swing to good use winning some money from Rodders on the golf course yesterday too.

We have been long advocating the need for dart players to use the technology golfers take for granted to analyse their throw and tweak any areas that can cause a problem. My colleague Andy Humphrey studied golf mechanics as part of his degree course and as a dart player of long standing has easily transferred his technical analysis of golf to darts.

The reason I mention this is that excluding James Wade there was a lot of chit-chat about the mental side of the game last night. Yes it is important, yes the correct mental approach can be the difference between getting over the line before your opponent but the technique and the mental side are linked. I would also suggest with the mental side following a polite distance behind an ideal technique. There is no point being as “cool as a cucumber” if your action keeps letting you down! I am sure we will return to this point later this week!

On the prediction side of things Brendan Dolan our 125/1 shot is still going strong. Whitlock crashed out but our two other recommendations, Dolan to beat Anderson and Ian White to beat Barney came through!

Tonight I quite like the look of over 16.5 legs at 4/5 with Sky Bet for the King V Chisnall best of 5 sets game. Mervyn is getting back to his best and they will both give each other chances by missing doubles. You can get 13/8 on the match going to 5 sets but the insurance with Sky Bet is that if either player wins 3:1 there is the possibility that the 17 leg mark is breached.

We do have our 125/1 Dolan bet running but the 4/5 for him to beat Van de Voort is tempting. William O’Conner may feel that he let Vincent off on Monday night and I can’t see the more reliable Dolan dong that if Van de Voort can’t up his game. With Brendan’s starting double stats of 48% and finishing doubles at 55% compared to Vincent`s 37% starting and 30% finishing there will need to be yet another majestic swing for the Dutch star to prevail.



The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.
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The World Grand Prix

08 Oct 12 15:01
The darts season is in full swing or to use darts newest favourite phrase – “it has momentum”! Next stop is Dublin for the World Grand Prix. The event kicks off on Monday 8 October. We covered last year’s event in our blog under the title of “The Joy of Sets”.

This was referring to the format of the tournament of course where the more usual leg by leg format is replaced by a best of 5 legs set. We much prefer this formula for finding a winner and we explained why last year.

There is another aspect of this tournament that is out of the norm; the two players that have the highest ranking in the main Order of Merit and who are from Ireland and Northern Ireland get a place alongside the 16 best from the main PDC Order of Merit and the top 14 from the Pro Tour Order of Merit. Last year we urged the qualifiers Brendan Dolan and William O’Conner to prove they were worth a place on merit at the tournament and not just because of where they were born. Dolan hit a 9 darter and got to the final, we really shouldn’t have worried!

This year Brendan Dolan has actually qualified via the Order of Merit and William O’Conner is back again. This means there is space for Michael Mansell too! Other than this, the usual suspects are all on parade and Gary Anderson is back after completing his ban.

The “unique selling point” of the Grand Prix is of course the double start! This provides all the pressure, drama and epic fails you could ever wish for during a darts match. It does appear that the majority of the players do not have any coherent strategy as to what they should do in the event that they miss their chuck at their “favourite double”. Twist or stick takes on a darting meaning as they decide whether to relentlessly pursue the double they prefer or switch to another one.

We did try to offer some advice on this but fortunately it was ignored and the usual double trouble mayhem ensued last year!  Some players do of course seem to have a plan, deliberately switching after a pre-determined number of misses have taken place or other such plans. More often than not we get a white wash too. This is where one player lets the pressure of missing effect him so dramatically that his opponent has checked out before he has hit a double to start.

We had to wait for the final mind before the first one last year; Taylor checked out in 12 darts leaving Dolan stranded on 501 after 9 missed doubles. We are running a competition for one of our practice boards by the way. All you have to do is predict how many white washes there will be this year and if you are right you will be in the draw for a practice board. Check out our Double Trouble facebook page to enter!

On the betting side of things Taylor is favourite of course but at a best priced 2/1 at Ladbrokes. Some may argue the odds are a bit skinny bearing in mind "The Power" seemed out of sorts at the recent Euro Championships. Taylor had been over to Australia and did look tired so maybe he has had sufficient time to recover now. 

Whitlock, fresh from his triumph in Germany not only has beautiful hair (according to the German fans song-they are right too, it is beautiful) looks good value at 14/1. He is reliable on the doubles (generally speaking) and remains calm under pressure, both ideal traits for this format.His confidence will be high too after his victory.

Confidence may not be so high for the other usual favourites. Taylor we have mentioned but  Lewis and Wade didn't play to their usual standard in Germany and both were involved in "shock" defeats. I do have it from a reliable source that a lot of the players taking part in the Euro Championships felt rusty after the long summer break so maybe a watching brief of "Jackpot" and "The Machine" is the way forward.

The Sky commentary team will be getting 16-1 for their usual tip that this is Barney’s tournament! Brendan Dolan is at a tempting 125/1 with BetFred! Let’s all put a pound on each way and if Brendan could go a step further this year we can get our revenge for all those annoying adverts Fred stars in!

One argument I guess for the odds on Brendan Dolan being so high is that he faces Gary Anderson in the first round. This is going to be interesting! First of all, which Anderson is going to show up on the opening night? He has missed the past few tournaments so it is difficult to say. Secondly the whole of the crowd are going to be behind Dolan and although the place doesn’t seem to get packed on the first few nights, Dolan will have that advantage. Thirdly, Anderson and doubles, hmm, enough said there. So Dolan at 7/4 with Ladbrokes looks like a bit of value too!

I quite like the look of Ian White at 17/10. Barney still flatters to deceive. Just as you think Barney really is back and his silky technique looks at its best he capitulates and loses! White fears no one at the moment and if a fragile Raymond starts missing a few doubles then White can take advantage.

Whatever happens, it is going to be sets, sets and more sets of sporting drama! We can’t wait!

Tips

Value Tournament Winners

Whitlock 14/1 E/W General

Dolan 125/1 E/W BetFred

Matches

Dolan to beat Anderson 7/4 General

White to beat Barneveld 17/10 BWin
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TV darts is back! The Party Poker European Championship is being broadcast live by ESPN from Mulheim in Germany starting tonight at 7pm UK time.

The 32 players taking part are made up of the top 16 of the PDC Order of Merit, the 8 top players in the Pro Tour Order of Merit and then the top 8 qualifiers from the separate PDC European tour. The European qualifiers are: Magnus Caris, Co Stompe, Gino Vos, Jerry Hendriks, Mensur Suljovic, Andree Welgee, Michael Rosenauer and Tomas Seyler. This mix of mainly familiar names from the European tour mixed with the best from the PDC (minus the banned Gary Anderson) should make for some good quality darts.

So who is going to win? We usually caution against using recent form from one of the PDC pro tour events as a guide to who may win an up and coming televised major event. Why? Well all the TV tournaments are played over a different format to the floor events. Also, and most darts fans would agree, some players seem to take time to adjust to playing on stage in front of the cameras. But, what else have we got to go on?

Taylor has won the last four of these events! Reece Killworth from The Sporting Life puts up a convincing argument for backing “The Power” and I certainly would back up his thoughts.

So can anyone stop him? Lewis and Wade spring to mind, as usual. They are travelling down a different “autobahn” in the schedule of matches and will both avoid Taylor until the final! Lewis of course won the last Euro event, in Germany, just two weeks ago. Jackpot beat Ian White, who has found an incredible run of form, 6:3 in the final. However, Taylor didn’t take part!

What about the PDC floor tournaments last week? On Saturday Van Gerwen beat that man again Ian “Diamond” White and on the Sunday Simon Whitlock beat Andy Hamilton. But guess what? Neither Taylor nor Lewis took part.

So from a betting perspective it is a tough one to call! Taylor is of course the obvious choice but arguably there is a bit of value if one of the “form horses” can keep their run going on the stage in Germany. Van Gerwen is available at a fairly hefty 40/1 still at SkyBet. You can back Ian White at 80/1 although he has to beat Lewis (10/1) in the first round to progress and Whitlock is 16/1.

I am not on commission but Sky Sport customers can upgrade to ESPN for three months for free. You have to remember to cancel after two months but you will get this tournament as well as the coverage of The Winmau Masters next month.

The tournament starts with a European flavour, Darts Performance Centre favourite Mensur Suljovic against the rising Dutch star Jerry Hendriks.  Roll on 7pm!


Schedule of Play
Thursday September 20

First Round
8.05pm Jerry Hendriks v Mensur Suljovic
8.35pm Mark Webster v Andree Welge
9.05pm Justin Pipe v Brendan Dolan
9.35pm Andy Hamilton v Paul Nicholson
10.05pm Wes Newton v Tomas Seyler
10.35pm Phil Taylor v Magnus Caris
11.05pm Mervyn King v Kevin Painter
11.35pm Ronnie Baxter v Michael Rosenauer

Friday September 21

First Round
8.05pm Michael van Gerwen v Andy Smith
8.35pm Richie Burnett v Co Stompe
9.05pm Dave Chisnall v Gino Vos
9.35pm Simon Whitlock v Mark Walsh
10.05pm James Wade v Colin Lloyd
10.35pm Adrian Lewis v Ian White
11.05pm Terry Jenkins v Raymond van Barneveld

11.35pm Kim Huybrechts v Vincent van der Voort

The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.
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Home and Away

09 May 12 21:34


The final week of the league format of the Premier League is upon us! By the end of Thursday night all the “home and away” fixtures will have been completed. I was contemplating this whilst updating the stats from last week and it made me wonder what the head to head results from all the completed double headers could tell us.

After trawling through all the completed head to head games (each player has played 6 ‘home’ and 6 ‘away’ games) I did make one significant discovery! This was that I really must get myself a “proper job”, one day...

I first looked at how many of the head to head matches played so far had the same outcome (win/win, draw/draw, lose/lose). For example: Andy Hamilton V Adrian Lewis ended 7 -7 and the rematch Adrian Lewis V Andy Hamilton ended in a 8-4 win for the Hammer; a different outcome for this example.

In fact out of the double headers so far only Taylor has consistently won both the home and away leg (but then you knew that already). Out of his six double headers he has matched the result in five matches, all wins for The Power! Painter is next with three-losing both matches to Taylor and Barney but beating Anderson home and away.

The only other statistic that stirred any interest in me was that Jackpot has not had one identical outcome in any of his head to head games so far. The Wizard may be interested in this stat as he beat Lewis first time round! A lay of Whitlock on the exchanges looks the call.

As this did not yield any particularly interesting data (other than the Lewis stat), I looked at whether the head to head matches mirrored the amount of legs that were played in both games. I used the 12.5 legs (under/over) figure that most of the bookmakers use for this market.

Out of the six head to head matches played so far James Wade has matched the amount of legs played in five of his six double header matches. The home and away legs played were over 12.5 legs in three games and other two corresponding fixtures were under 12.5 legs both times. Next on the list is Barney with 4 of his double headers having matching over or under 12.5 legs (3 over and 1 under) and Taylor also on 4 (with 1 over and 3 under).

Wade and Barneveld are head to head on Thursday and their corresponding game was a 14 leg thriller. Over 12.5 legs may be worth an investment.

Last week we suggested that Lewis to top the 180 market was a decent bet. He only hit one and three players tied for the award all on a rather feeble 3. When we saw Lewis at a miserable and miserly 9/4 to top the charts this week with Sky Bet we decided to investigate further.

Lewis has been the outright winner of this particular accolade three times out of the thirteen weeks, but 9/4 pah! Oh yes he did tie once too! However, Hamilton and Wade have both won the market twice and tied once as well. There is something else you should know. Out of the 10 weeks when there has been an outright winner of the most 180`s market, the winner came from a match lasting 14 legs six times and twice from a 13 leg game.

Lewis is playing an already qualified Whitlock. Barney and Wade, Hamilton and Painter are playing crucial eliminators. Add in the Wade/Barney stat (as above) and the bouncebackability of both Hamilton and Painter, I would look at both these games as more likely contenders to go the distance than the Lewis match. With Wade at 8/1, Hamilton at a great value 12/1 and Barney at 7/1 you can have a slice of all three and still profit!
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Our "MoneyBall" blog this week has a "Reality Test" for all wannabe pros and ask if things are about to get worse for Anderson!

Over the past two weeks we have been analysing some of the data from this season’s Premier League to see if it could point us in the right direction in some of the betting markets available for the darts. As I was sifting through the spread sheets this week I was considering other uses for all the statistics I have to hand.

One thought struck me and I have dubbed it “The Reality Check”. Every January the PDC seduce hundreds of dart players with the prospect of sharing the spoils of the multi million pound industry that is professional darts. This also leads every year to players having invested a few hundred pounds staggering away (some literally) from the event dazed and bemused after failing miserably to get anywhere near qualifying. This is of course against other PDC “wannabes” not the ones who have already qualified and are laying in wait for the “new boys”!

Our “Reality Test” may seem harsh to some when you see the criteria. However, if any player is really aspiring to share in the millions of pounds in prizes the PDC have to offer they are going to have to beat the best players, aren’t they? On the face of it you could put up a convincing argument, that at the start of the Premier League the players involved were the best eight in world darts. (Yes there are some great BDO players I agree but let’s go with this argument for the sake of the blog).

Our “Reality Test” looks at how many darts the players need to win a leg during the Premier League this season. The most important (and only really) criteria are that winning legs will be split as follows:

9 Darts, 12 Darts or fewer, 15 Darts or fewer, 18 Darts or fewer, 21 Darts or fewer, 24 Darts or fewer:

Number of Darts         Number of wins
9 Darts                       1
12 Darts or fewer         85
15 Darts or fewer        287
18 Darts or fewer        134
21 Darts or fewer         32
24 Darts or fewer         2 
Total Legs                  541

Therefore out of the 541 legs played out in the Premier League thus far:
69% of winning legs have been in 15 darts or fewer! Does that make your eyes water?
If you hit an 18 darter your chance of winning a leg is just 31% and if you add the 18 darters to the 15 darters or fewer  the win % goes up to 94%! Yes 94%. Anything over 18 darts then you have just a 6% chance of gaining a leg against these top players!

If you are planning to go to Q school next year please do get your pad and pencil out over the next few months and start scoring how many darts it takes you to win a leg!

Lewis V Anderson

Another aspect of statistics is they have no qualms when it comes to hitting a man when he is down. Last week Kevin Painter beat Gary Anderson and bearing in mind the statistics we have just produced, the “form” of Anderson makes interesting reading.

The legs Painter won against Anderson were in:

16,18,11,18,17,19,17 and 21darts

Painter only won one leg in the standard 15 darts or fewer (69% of winning legs). In the remaining seven winning legs five were in the 18 darts or fewer bracket (31% of winning legs )and the remaining two were in the 21 darts or fewer bracket (6% of winning legs).  Anderson’s poor form allowed Painter to defy the statistics.
On the other hand Lewis`s, (Anderson’s opponent on Thursday) winning legs last week were in:

13,16,13,13,13,12,14,16 – A classic Premier League performance- 6 legs in the standard 15 darts or fewer and two in 18 darts or fewer. If similar form is repeated by Lewis and Anderson on Thursday then the inference is that Lewis should win, with quite a bit to spare.

Mind you Chelsea played with ten men against the “best football team ever” last night and got a result, sporting miracles do happen but I fear for Anderson on Thursday, it could get Messi!
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If you tuned in last week you will recall we looked in a different way at the 180’s hit in the Premier League. We pointed out that Taylor was more prolific at hitting 180’s than Barney despite Barney actually having the higher 180`s total of the two. Therefore Taylor should be backed in their head to head. We highlighted that Wade was more prolific than Anderson and we hinted that there was also a case for Hamilton to be backed to hit more 180`s than Anderson! All three predictions proved accurate!

Once again Anderson is odds on favourite to win the 180’s market against Painter. You can back Anderson at 10/11 at Ladbrokes but 8/13 and 8/11 is more prevalent. We would not be flagging this up if Anderson had performed better last week. In his 24 legs though (he played twice) he could only muster four 180’s. This has brought the statistic we discussed last week (how many legs a player needs to hit each of his 180`s) within touching distance of “The Artist”. Anderson is hitting on average a 180 every 5.08 legs and Painter every 5.25!

With the statistics so close, the fact that Anderson looked as if he would rather be anywhere else than on the Premier League stage (and who can blame him after the recent events in his life) and with “The Artist” determined not to finish bottom of the heap and having hit five 180’s last week, he may be worth a small investment at 9/4 to win this particular market. The 5/2 available earlier on in the week has vanished!

The 11/8 William Hill are offering for Lewis to bag more 180’s than Taylor has a sniff of value but two things put me off; back against Taylor at your peril and Lewis has been unreliable this year so far.

Another market we have been looking at is the number of legs in a match. The bar is set at 12.5 legs, you can go over or under. Top of the “over” table is Barney. Seven of his ten games have gone to over 12.5 legs. If you extract the two games Raymond has had against his nemesis Taylor this leaves eight matches and only one has been fewer than 12.5 legs! Barney’s opponent is Whitlock, he is on 6 under and 4 over, five under and 4 over if you discount his game against Taylor and these two shared a 7 all in week 1.

Hamilton V Wade also looks like it could go over 12.5 legs. Hamilton is another “over” expert! He has gone over 12.5 in 70% of his games. His opponent “The Machine” has gone over 6 times and under 4-if you discount the Taylor game it is over 6 and under 3.
We reckon both these matches could go over and they are best priced 4/6 for Barney/Whitlock and a slightly better value 10/11 for Hamilton/Wade. Maybe pop a £1 on the double and sit back and relax because it doesn’t matter who wins as long as the loser of the match gets at least 5 legs!
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Last week I hired the DVD Moneyball.  It is the story of the manager of a baseball team who turns the world of baseball on its head by hiring players based on their statistical performance in the crucial areas that were identified as absolutely key when trying to win baseball matches. I admit you may not rush out and hire a copy after that description but it really does have some brilliant and funny characters, it is also a true story and one that indirectly set me on the path to creating the Darts Performance Centre.



Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the manager of a low budget baseball team who overrides the long established tradition in baseball of signing players recommended by his scouts. The scouts, who base their recommendations on absurd criteria such as how attractive the potential new signing’s girlfriend is (if she’s only a 6 this means the player is lacking in confidence, a 9 on the girlfriend scale means he is high in confidence) are replaced by a baseball loving  “statto”, Peter Brand . The “nerdy” Peter and the “cool” Billy Beane form a formidable partnership buying up the unwanted and discarded players from other teams on the cheap and by doing so create an over achieving team on a miniscule budget when compared to the rich clubs they are up against and frequently beat.
The big idea is to find value in people using hard facts and stats. Statistical analysis is used in a number of ways in sport, bookmakers, for example, analyse an event before they set their odds for the punters and the punter then searches for a market where the bookmaker has perhaps over or under estimated the likely outcome. Using darts as an example I was looking at the 180`s hit in the Premier League  market and it reminded me that last year we looked at this statistic in a different way. We calculated how many legs each player needed to hit a 180 as opposed to just the total amount they have hit.

A good example of the benefit of looking “below the surface” is you may find the same value Billy Beane and Peter were seeking. For example Taylor has hit 35 180`s this season, Barney 36! So Barney hits the most 180`s right? He has but Barney has played an extra 13 legs to get just one ahead due to Taylor’s thrashing the majority of his opponents. So on a leg basis Taylor throws a 180 every 3 legs, Barney needs 3.27 legs to hit a 180. So in a match between Barney and Taylor you may plump for Raymond in the 180`s market as he has hit the most out of the pair, in reality you should be backing Taylor as he is the most likely winner based on the fact he needs fewer throws of his darts for every 180 he scores.

Taking this forward to tonight’s matches I noticed that Anderson was odds on favourite to hit the most 180’s in both his games tonight. If you look at the stats however there is a persuasive argument he could lose in this market in both his games. Maybe Anderson is being “over estimated” due to his reputation as opposed to the facts. On his day “The Flying Scotsman” is the best at grouping his darts in the treble bed, no question about that, it’s just he hasn’t had “one of those days” for a while now.

The best case is for James Wade. He has hit 28 180’s compared to Anderson’s 22. However, Wade has played 18 more legs (Anderson skipped a week)  but he is still more prolific, James needs 3.92 legs for every 180 he scores and Anderson needs over 4 (4.18) legs for each one of his.
Arguably there is some value in backing Wade at a standout 9/4 to hit the most 180’s. I am going to have a £1 on it, not because of the statistics mind but because of “The Machine’s” girlfriend, a definite 9!
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