Winners don’t just hit doubles, they leave easier outs

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December 21, 2015 by bsd987

One of the reasons I’m keeping all these checkout stats during the World Championships is to get some statistical proof for some logical propositions. This is one of them that, so far at least, is panning out. Today, I’ve broken down my cumulative checkout statistics for the first eight sessions of the World Championships between match winners and match losers. And it’s showing very significant differences not just in the frequency that winners take out various combinations, but also in how frequently winners leave two-dart combos compared to losers.

Through 8 sessions, winners have left 718 possible outshots, converting 301 of those—a success rate that is a very glossy 41.92%. Losers meanwhile have left a possible out 522 times, converting a meager 154, or 29.50% of their combinations. That’s to be expected. But the success rate for every range of outshots—with the noticeable exception of 62-64, 66-80 combinations—is better for winners than losers. See the table below:

Combination Winners Hit% Losers Hit%
Double 77.61 67.27
Odd (e.g. 25)/41-61, 65 70.79 55.77
62-64, 66-80 44.12 52.83
81-98, 100 31.51 12.50
99, 101-120 18.52 14.52
121-130, 132, 135 16.67 11.76
131, 133, 134, 136-158, 160 2.128 1.05
161, 164, 167, 170 5.172 0.00

So for instance, if these numbers were to play out over a match where the winner is the average winner and the loser the average loser, the winner would hit D16 with three darts in hand more than 3 out of every 4 times; the loser would do the same only 2 out of every 3 times.

But that’s not what I find interesting. It’s the next set of numbers that really show why winners win and losers lose. In this table, I look at what percentage of all outshots left (regardless of whether they were successful) were in each category.

Combination Winners % Left Losers % Left
% Possible C/Os <=98 + 100 60.03 51.92
% Possible C/Os <=61 + 65 40.39 31.03
% Possible C/Os >=136 + 131, 133, 134 21.17 26.44

So to explain, out of winners’ 718 total outshots left, 60.03% were two-darters. For match losers, only 51.92% of their 522 total outshots were two-darters. That means over an average 10 legs, there will be one more time an eventual match winner leaves a two-darter whilst his opponent is on a three-darter. And considering how much less frequently three-dart combinations are hit, that ability to dig deep, get that one extra treble, and leave 76 instead of 116 could be the difference in the match. Winners find that extra treble and leave more hittable outshots. Coupled with them hitting those outshots more regularly, an otherwise close match could turn into a 3-1, 3-2, 3-1 beaning.

Obviously, we’ll see if these numbers hold up over the course of the entire tournament. When some of the legitimate contenders get knocked out, we’ll see how the match loser numbers get affected. But I have a feeling that when we have a match between—and this is just for arguments sake—Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright in the semi-final, the winner will be the person who more often leaves 76 instead of 116. At the very least, more often than not, the winner will be that such person.


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