MARK Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) takes a look at both Sunday semi-finals from Ally Pally.
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright | Sunday 19:00 | Sky Sports 1
It’s a battle of Scotland for a spot in the World Championship final, with the two-time back-to-back reigning champion Gary Anderson taking on 2014 runner-up Peter Wright.
It will be their 30th meeting, with Anderson leading the head-to-head 17-11 (one draw), winning six of their last eight with one draw, 51-34 in legs.
In my tournament preview I highlighted Anderson’s switch in darts and using glasses as something to be wary of, but he’s been absolutely superb, particularly in the last two matches where his opponents have played out of their skins.
In the quarters Dave Chisnall threw 21 180s with a 104.63 average and 45% checkout but the Flying Scotsman replied with a 105.9 average, 12 180s, 31 140s and 49 100s! The round before Benito van de Pas averaged 102.3, hit 9 180s with a 50% checkout, yet Anderson averaged 107.68, a 58% checkout rate, 11 180s, 24 140s and 30 100s!
Peter Wright has also played well in getting to this stage, averaging over 100 in every match. His checkouts have been superb at times but each round with the extended format and better quality of player his rate has decreased, with 75% v Jamie Lewis, 59% v White and 54% v Wade. And understandably so, with his regression to his 2016 mean of 42%.
I’m also slightly concerned at his lack of 180s thus far, throwing only 16 in-comparison to Anderson’s 34. It looks as though Wright is throwing slightly slower in his search for the perfect dart hampering his rhythm on the treble 20 bed.
In all, I think Anderson is the clear value here, with his higher scoring power, particularly on the 180s, leading him to victory. As already mentioned he’s won six of their last eight by a leg differential of +17, and I envisage him winning at least 6-4.
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld | Sunday 21:00 | Sky Sports 1
The second of Sunday’s semi-finals sees another all country battle, with the World Number one Michael van Gerwen taking on five-times World champion Raymond van Barneveld.
This will be the 44th meeting between the two, with van Gerwen leading the head-to-head 26-16 (one draw) and 3-0 for 2016 with one draw, 31-17 in legs.
MVG is 1/6 favourite and it’s hard to argue against that. He’s won 25 tournaments this year and hasn’t lost in a TV ranking match since April. This gives 5/1 on RVB and surely only sentiment should persuade you to get involved at those odds.
Of course this is a repeat of last years epic 3rd round match where RVB won 4-3 with up till last week, MVG recording the highest losing average of 105.78. Barney averaged 100.44 and with the increase in best of seven sets to best of 11, it will be very difficult for him to win again with similar averages and thus performances likely to be posted.
One element Barney has got going for him is the rhythm of the match, with the speed of MVG suiting his style. He only averages 97 for the year and for the last four years at the World’s, but he’s recorded above a 100 in their last six meetings.
His line is set at 98.5 so he looks good to beat that but the longevity of the match, plus any scraping around at doubles, puts me off as highlighted by his historical average here.
In terms of finding value it looks tough so if I was having a bet, I would look towards a bigger priced punt. MVG is just 2/7 to hit the most 180s and that may be an area we can take advantage of.
In their last eight statistically recorded meetings, the numbers are closer than the odds suggest, with the Green Machine only leading the 180 count 42-37, with RVB hitting the most in three of those (one draw).
Despite MVG beating Daryl Gurney 5-1 he lost the 180 count 8-7. In his 4-1 victory over Darren Webster, it finished 8-8. In terms of match scenarios, I think you have both MVG winning easily with a shorter match increasing the variance, as well as Barney outperforming his odds and making the match closer than the prices suggest.
The handicap line is set at 4.5 but I wouldn’t be confident enough to have that as well with MVG winning this 11-7 last year as well as 14-4 at the Masters.