Form Guide: Premier League champ Littler back on top

Luke Littler (Ed Mulholland/PDC)

PDC Stats Analyst Christopher Kempf assesses the top ten PDC stars - based on their last 200 legs played following the recent Dutch Darts Championship and US Darts Masters.

#1 Averages - Luke Littler
#1 OChE - Luke Littler
#1 Doubles - Jeffrey de Graaf
#1 171-180 - Luke Littler
#1 99, 101+ Checkout - Stephen Bunting

PDC Form Guide

The excitement surrounding Luke Littler's debut year has now reached a fever pitch with the teenager becoming the youngest winner of the Premier League. 

It is also an appropriate time for Littler to return to the top of the form rankings - his 99.51 average has increased enough for the champion to surpass Gerwyn Price as #1 for the first time this spring. 

The nine-darter that 'The Nuke' dropped at the O2 contributed two of the 180s to his PDC-leading maximum total of 93.

However, the high scoring is just an embellishment to what is an exceptionally efficient game for any professional, and in this respect Littler has been on top for most of his short career. 

An OChE rating of 60 (indicating that percentage of legs likely to be won in matches against ProTour opponents) is indicative of an elite player, and Littler has exceeded this benchmark for more than three consecutive months. 

His #1 rank less than six months into his career begs the question of how much higher his standard can ascend.

As with 60, 50 is also an important figure to bear in mind when using OChE to evaluate form - a player below this mark is on track to win fewer legs than he loses on the ProTour. 

After finishing as runner-up to Nathan Aspinall in last year's World Matchplay, Jonny Clayton's form collapsed, recording OChE ratings for his last 200 legs in the mid-40s through the autumn and winter. 

Yet, in overcoming Michael van Gerwen to reach the final on the European Tour in Rosmalen, Clayton became the most improved player in the month of May, finally pushing his rating above 50 (to 52.34) for the first time this year. 

Getting to that point pales in comparison to his past Premier League and World Grand Prix titles, but it does indicate a player finally on the rise following a difficult spell.

The Form Guide calls into question 'doubles for dough' being the critical component to a professional darts player's game. 

While the most successful players of the past month - Littler, Humphries and Cross - all rank among the top ten in doubles accuracy, many top-ten doubles players struggle against their higher scoring colleagues. 

Richard Veenstra, for instance, is the PDC's #3 doubles player over each player's last 200 legs, but has yet to appear in a ProTour quarter-final this year. 

#1 Jeffrey de Graaf was the runner-up in a Players Championship event last month, but has less than £10,000 in earnings from other PDC ranking events this year. 

Combined with higher scoring, this skill could make for a breakthrough win for either player - but until then they are not earning for themselves enough double attempts to properly demonstrate their checkout proficiency.

*OChE (Ordinal Checkout Efficiency) explained:
OChE is a metric designed to evaluate the efficiency at which players convert their averages into legs won.
The statistic is the % of legs a player would expect to win on the ProTour, calculated from a weighted average of 4,5, 6 & 7 visit checkout rates.

Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia