How To Bet On Darts

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Betting on darts continues to grow in popularity across the UK and Europe. With a range of darts betting markets to bet on across a number of tournaments, our detailed guide to betting on darts will enhance your chances of making a profit betting on darts.

Betting On Darts: An Introduction

Apart from those ludicrously difficult shooting events in the Olympics, darts has to be the most precision sport in the world. From a distance of seven feet, nine and a quarter inches, dart players are expected to consistently hit targets less than once inch square with their little manually-flung arrows in order to win matches. The World Grand Prix, held annually in Dublin, even asks darts players to hit a double before they can even start aiming at the treble 20 bed.

While ostensibly a very simple, turn-based sport which requires players to hit exactly 501 points in as few throws as possible (a nine-darter being the equivalent of snooker’s 147), the available betting markets on the sport would suggest otherwise.

Contents

1. Betting On Darts Online

From having a reputation as a pub sport played in front of three men and a dog by a bunch of overweight alcoholics, where smoking during matches was the norm, darts has hit the big time in recent years. This is largely down to the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation)’s big cheese Barry Hearn who has, with the help of some tremendously dedicated and skilful players, transformed darts into a sport which fills arenas.

The weekly Premier League, which runs every spring in arenas across the UK’s major cities, for example, offers a total prize purse of £725,000, and culminates in a final held at London’s not inconsiderable 02 Arena – a venue which holds up to 20,000 people.

The World Championship, meanwhile, held annually at London’s Alexandra Palace, has a whopping £1,500,000 purse, with £300,000 going to the winner. Scotland’s 180 expert Gary Anderson has claimed the title for the past two years, thus cementing his place in darting history alongside a glittering gallery of darts legends such as Phil Taylor (16 times World Champion), Michael Van Gerwen (2), Raymond Van Barneveld (5) and John Part (3).

Darts is one of several sports which has separate governing bodies, the above mentioned PDC, which enjoys blanket Sky TV coverage and the longer-established, but less lucrative, BDO (British Darts Organisation). Betting markets are available for events held by both organisations, but by and large the most fun to be had with darts betting, and indeed darts watching, comes from the PDC as it is where all the best players want to be, with the notable exception of Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, who has steadfastly stayed loyal to the BDO throughout his career.

At its best, darts is a fantastic, nerve-shredding sport to watch. For example, a cursory glance at the Grand Slam of Darts results from 2009 show that female player Anastasia Dobromyslova beat Vincent Van Der Voort 5-4, but the very next day Van Der Voort slammed erstwhile World Number One Phil Taylor 5-0!

2. Darts Tournaments To Bet On

There are tournaments a-plenty in the world of darts these days, but the major ones are all held in the UK and Ireland by the PDC – the World Championship (Alexandra Palace), the World Grand Prix (Dublin), the Premier League (various arenas around the UK), the Grand Slam of Darts (Wolverhampton) and the World Matchplay (Blackpool). The biggest BDO tournament, meanwhile, is its own version of the World Championship which is held at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey every January.

TournamentWhenWhere
World Darts Championship December/January Alexandra Palace
UK Open March Butlins Minehead
World Matchplay July Blackpool Winter Gardens
World Grand Prix October Citywest Hotel, Dublin
Grand Slam Of Darts November Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Players Championship Finals November Butlins Minehead
European Championship Various Ethias Arena, Belgium

It’s rare a month goes by these days without a darts tournament worth betting on as the sport is becoming increasingly popular in Germany, Austria, Holland and Belgium as well as further afield such as South Africa, China, Thailand and Japan. Furthermore, the sport has been established in the US and Canada for almost as long as it has been enjoyed in the UK.

BDO MajorsWhenWhere
BDO World Darts Championship January Lakeside
World Masters Varies between September/December Hull City Hall
BDO World Trophy May Event City, Manchester
Finder Darts Masters December Zuiderduin Hotel, Holland
Category A+ Tournaments    
Dutch Open January De Bonte Wever, Holland
England Classic September Bunn Leisure Holiday Centre
England Open June Bunn Leisure Holiday Centre
Isle Of Man Open March Villa Marina Complex
Welsh Open May Pontins, Prestatyn

3. Darts Betting Explained

Most 180s

The Most 180s market does exactly as it says on the tin. There are always some cracking odds available on the Most 180s market as the big hitters’ adversaries are usually wildly over-priced. Remember, the ‘lipstick’ as the commentators like to call the treble 20 bed, is less than one square inch in size and it only takes one of the high-scoring favourites to have a slight off-day for the plucky outsider to pounce.

Interestingly, the Most 180s market rarely reflects the prices on offer for the straight To Win market and exploiting this anomaly can lead to some decent profits. In other words, get to know both players’ scoring habits before you take the plunge.

One contest, for example, might feature a player who is averaging over 100 for the tournament against one who is only in the low nineties. Delve slightly further, however, and the player with the 100 average might be a dartist who often goes ‘downstairs’ (for the treble 19) to top up his big numbers and actually rarely hits many maximums. His opponent, on the other hand, could just as easily be a prolific 180 scorer, but his average has suffered due to his inability to consistently hit the doubles.

If one player looks way too strong for another in a particular match, investigate the possibility of pairing up the To Win market with a Most 180s selection on the same player in order to boost your profits.

Darts handicap betting explained

Thousands of punters are major fans of the handicap markets and every major online bookmaker offers handicap betting on matches from round one all the way through to the final. For the shrewd darts punter, there is plenty of money-making potential in this particular betting category.

Most darts tournaments are a straight ‘race’ in terms of legs these days, featuring first to six (which equates to best of 11), first to ten (in other words, best of 19) and so on. Some, including the World Championship, however, are played in sets – like tennis. The World Championship’s sets are best of five legs. For a player to win a first to three sets match, for example, he would have to win a minimum of nine legs.

The fundamental rules of leg handicap darts betting are if you want to support the favourite but want to squeeze a slightly better price, take them on the ‘minus’ (legs or sets) market and if you believe the outsider has a chance to run the favourite close, take them on the ‘plus’ (legs or sets) market. There have been plenty of occasions in recent months and years when upsets have occurred or the so-called rank outsider has pushed the favourite to the very limit. Using the above as an example, a punter backing the outsider on the ‘plus’ handicap would reap the rewards. In other words, the bookmaker is offering a price on giving the outsider a head start.

On the other hand, there have been plenty of times when the favourite has crushed the outsider to nil in PDC darts betting, in which case the value would have been on taking the favourite on the ‘minus’ handicap, thus taking a higher price than simply backing the favourite to win.

There are no hard and fast rules in terms of selecting which way to go handicap-wise, but ignore players’ world rankings, form and recent head-to-head records at your peril! Also, keep a close eye on the format as some players prefer short races to five or six, while others like to ease themselves into longer matches. Obviously, upsets are always more likely to happen in short format games.

Tournament Winner

While Phil Taylor dominated the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) for a quarter of a century, and was thus invariably made the favourite for every event he entered, the field is a lot more open now as the years finally catch up with a once seemingly unbeatable player. A number of players are now capable of beating Taylor, and thus going on to win tournaments.

It’s all about picking the right one!

The likes of Van Gerwen, Anderson, Lewis, Wright, Klaasen, Huybrechts and Wade are all young enough to compete at the highest level of darts for at least another decade, while old stagers like Van Barneveld and Thornton can still pull out ‘big’ performances from time to time. Rather than go for the ‘each way’ market ante-post, a good tactic is to pick up to four players as tournament winner. Just make sure that if you do select four that the odds will mean that you’ll turn a profit if any of the quartet wins. Furthermore, pick two are in one half of the draw and a couple are in the other half. That way, at least you’ll retain an interest until the latter stages.

Nine darter yes/no?

For a perfect leg of darts, players need to gobble up their 501 in just nine throws. By and large this is done by hitting two lots of 180s, thus leaving 141 for their last three. While the average pub team player would struggle to nail a leg in less than 20 darts, a nine-darter is well within the capabilities of the players who feature in the big money televised events.

Nine darters are so ‘common’ nowadays, the ante-post odds about a nine darter to be hit are inevitably skinny – well under evens in fact. The big prices about perfect legs to be hit are to be had in individual matches. Even in a top quality contest between two players in the World Top Ten rankings the price about a nine darter can be as high as 25/1.

Don’t forget that a small handful of events, namely the World Grand Prix (which has earned the sobriquet ‘Double In in Dublin’), requires the players to score a double before they can start. This additional rule makes it even tougher to score a perfect leg. Irishman Brendan Dolan was the first man in a live, televised tournament to achieve this and he awarded himself the nickname ‘The History Maker’ as a result.

From a punter’s perspective, it always pays to check what format the matches take before spending money on the Nine Darter market. If a match has the potential for 20 or more legs and it features a pair of high ranked, high scoring players, then the Nine Darter market is definitely worth a little look.

4. Darts Betting Strategies

Correct score dutching

Some darts contests are ridiculously one-sided, especially in the early rounds of a tournament. The odds will reflect this, with the favourite heavily odds on (often as short as 1.05, or 1/20), with the outsider quoted at 9.0 (8/1) or more.

The best way to get value out of heavy favourites is to dutch correct scores. This means that you select the likeliest scores at the best available prices and if one of your selections land, you still end up in profit, despite covering a number of possible outcomes.

Here’s a historical example. Phil Taylor to win his match anywhere in the range from 10-2 to 10-6.

£100 staked returned £154.81 for a 54 per cent profit, which was a much better ROI than simply backing him to win @ 1.12 or less.

The ‘dutching table’ for the above mentioned match looked something like this:

ScoreOddsStakeBookmaker
10-2 11.0 £14.07 Matchbook
10-3 7.50 £20.64 Matchbook
10-4 6.50 £23.82 PaddyPower
10-5 7.00 £22.12 WilliamHill
10-6 8.0 £19.35 WilliamHill

Feel free to pro rata your stake up or down as your bank permits.

Back the ‘form outsiders’ in the BDO

The BDO World Championship typically throws up outsiders as winners (more often than not in fact), so don’t be afraid to select one or more outsiders ante-post either as each-way shouts or as tournament winners with a view to laying them off elsewhere as they progress through the competition.

As a darts betting preview rule of thumb, BDO darts odds outright are ripe for exploitation, especially if you’ve been paying attention to the players’ recent progress away from the TV screens

Lay to Back / Back to Lay

In “two outcome only” events such as the major darts knock-out tournaments where the match can only end with a winner and a loser, laying is slightly different as effectively all you do is pick who you think will lose rather than who will win. If you pick the loser correctly, you win the money.

To answer the question, “Why should I pick someone to lose, rather than someone to win?” The simple answer is, “It’s all about liability.” Your liability is the amount of money you stand to lose if your selection is unsuccessful. If you back something to win at 2/1, for example, and your stake is £10, your liability is also £10. If you win, you get £30 (£20 winnings, plus your original £10 stake). If you lose, you lose £10. If you were to lay something at 2/1, then to win £10 your liability would be £20. In other words, you’d stand to lose £20 if you got your lay bet wrong – i.e. the person you reckoned would lose actually won. If you got it right, however, and your assessment that the person would lose came true, then the £20 you put up in the first place would be returned to you, along with an extra £10.

It’s ‘cheaper’ to lay an odds-on favourite than it is to lay an outsider. To lay a 1/10 shot in an attempt to win £10 would only cost you a liability of £1, whereas to lay a 10/1 shot in an attempt to win £10 would cost you a liability of £100. Laying is only currently possible on betting exchange sites, such as Betfair, where you are going up against other punters, rather than bookies.

The expression ‘to trade out’ (or ‘cash out’) effectively means that if you backed a player to win, he raced into a lead and you then laid him at lesser odds in-running you’d therefore be covering any eventuality. The same applies to laying first, the player you laid drifting in-running (because he’d fallen behind) and then backing him. You need a cool head to work out how balanced you want the potential payouts to be if you’re deciding how much to risk ‘manually’ by typing in a cash amount to lay or back in-running. Backing and laying can only be done on exchange sites, but a lot of bookmakers – as well as exchange site Betfair - now offer a ‘cash out’ option which means they calculate the winnings on both sides, thus leaving you the option to either click ‘cash out’ or risk your initial stake all the way to the end).

Cashing out for a profit can only be done in your favour if the odds swing your way, but if you believe your original choice is doomed to failure then you can cash out for a smaller loss than if you’d let the bet or lay ride until the end. It all sounds hellishly complicated, but it isn’t. It just needs focus, concentration and the odds to move the way you want them to.

Follow the experts

It doesn’t do any harm to check which bettingexpert members are the most successful at posting darts betting tips either. For darts betting tips posted by our community of tipsters, visit our Darts Betting Tips page.

Best Websites for Darts Stats

If you're looking for darts betting stats, here is our list of the best sites for darts statistics:

5. Darts Bookmakers

With Sky televising the major PDC competitions, Skybet is an obvious port of call for darts betting, as well as the other major online bookmakers and exchanges. Skybet’s premier league darts odds often feature ‘Price Boosts’.

Betvictor and Betfair also regularly offer darts ‘specials’ which generally involve improved prices on specified multiple bets. Paddy Power, meanwhile, often offers a free bet if a Premier League match ends in a draw.

Despite what any of the following may claim, William Hill darts odds aren’t necessarily always better than Paddy Power darts odds, or indeed Ladbrokes darts odds - and vice versa. Exactly the same applies to all darts betting odds. Shop around!

6. Darts Live Streaming

While Sky TV (PDC), and to a lesser extent, ITV4 (PDC) and BBC2/BBC Red Button (BDO), are the best places to view darts fixtures if you’re not actually at the venue in person, there are several places online to watch darts live too.

For free live darts streaming (so long as you’ve placed a bet), most of the major bookmakers offer live darts streams (including Paddy Power and Betfair), but all streams lag typically at least five seconds behind ‘real time’, so exercise caution when betting in-running.

Furthermore, the subscription-based channel PDC TV, offers PDC darts (including the World Darts Championship live stream and World Matchplay Darts live stream) for a monthly or yearly fee, although the same applies to this website in terms of 5-10 second lag time.

If you are thinking, therefore, about watching any darts matches tonight, make the TV your first port of call and use ‘live’ streaming as a secondary consideration. Don’t forget that for darts live streaming, Sky Sports offers a number of password-protected packages that allow users to watch the action online.


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