Stat of the Week: Bullseye checkout rate of 2024 Premier League stars

Michael Smith (Simon O'Connor/PDC)

In his latest 'Stat of the Week' column, PDC Stats Analyst Christopher Kempf evaluates the bullseye checkout rate of the 2024 Premier League competitors...

The stat: Bullseye checkout rate of 2024 Premier League competitors.

The parameters: 2024 broadcast events.

The caveats: Includes all checkout bullseyes in TV and European Tour events, plus attempts from any Players Championship matches streamed on PDC.TV

Stat of the Week

The #1 position in the Premier League league table has changed hands five times through the sixteen weeks of the tournament, and at some point every player has been outside the top four as they have fallen out of form, however temporarily. 

Every player - even the struggling Peter Wright - has recorded multiple 100+ averages in matches, and only Luke Humphries has never had a match average slip below 90 in this year's tournament. 

The table-topping Luke Littler demolished Michael Smith in his first night's semi-final of May with a 110 average, before suffering a 6-1 defeat to Michael van Gerwen averaging less than 87 in the following week - which Littler can we expect on Finals Night?

For a barometer of how accurately a player such as Littler is throwing in general, we can look not only to the rate at which he completes bullseye checkouts, but also to the rate at which his attempts fall outside of the 25 ring. 

Being a circular target, approximately at eye level for most players, and infrequently covered or blocked by the first or second darts of a visit, it provides some of the cleanest data we can observe in attempting to evaluate a player's basic darts skill.

The quantity of that data is limited, however, by the necessities of the game of 501, as there tends to be only one bullseye attempt made for every 10 legs played in professional darts. 

Littler, in spite of his 19 bullseye finishes (the most thus far in the PDC), has completed those over 106 attempts, for a surprisingly low percentage of 18%. 

Littler seems to be extremely effective on every segment except the bullseye - on this double he has missed his last 12 attempts in the Premier League - and 26 of his last 28. There is room for improvement even for this darts prodigy.

Six deciding-leg bullseyes have been attempted thus far in the 2024 Premier League, and not one has found its mark. 

Van Gerwen has missed three; once in February, three weeks ago with Rob Cross on the ropes and in the first week of May against Luke Humphries to cost him a £10,000 winner's prize.

This has been indicative of overall weakness from the Dutchman on this crucial double, as he has managed just a 21% success rate this year, below the five-year PDC stage average of 24%. 

Had Nathan Aspinall been able to draw upon his league-leading bullseye accuracy in each leg of last week's decisive match against Michael Smith, he might have gained the victory; no other Premier League player has hit more than 30% of his bullseyes in 2024. 

In the Premier League he made six of his last nine attempts, while Smith has only three to his credit for the entire tournament. 

However, World Champion Luke Humphries is not far behind Aspinall - at 28% accuracy for 2024 he is the only other player averaging at least one finish for every four attempts. 

Smith has had the fewest 'stray darts' at bullseye - only 10% have scored neither 25 nor 50. Yet the overall numbers do not always tell the complete story. 

Humphries missed his first 13 bullseye attempts of the Premier League but broke the streak with a 20-bull-bull 120 finish and has been hot ever since. 

Smith, likewise, completed a Bull-Bull-D16 132 finish just last week to punish Aspinall on a night when he hit 4/4 bullseyes (though none for a checkout). 

Not since the memorable 2013 final has the tournament been won on a bullseye, but if Humphries reaches the final we would be more likely to see that drought ended.