Darts has never before enjoyed so much attention worldwide. Traditionally a game played in British pubs, it has become a global phenomenon with countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Canada now producing some of the world’s top players. Tournaments such as the World Championships, World Grand Prix and Premier League have transformed darts into a multi-million pound business, and everybody seems to want a slice of the action. How to bet on darts looks at how the sport lends itself so well to betting, and what to be aware of when making wagering selections.
The tournaments take place in arenas packed with thousands of fans, and broadcast to hundreds of thousands more. The atmosphere at darts matches is incredible, especially when it comes to the major tournaments. The players, the music and the crowds all combine to make it a true, high energy spectator sport. And it provides punters with some fantastic betting opportunities.
What to consider when betting on darts
In terms of organisation, the professional game of darts has two rival factions. Some players play within the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and some players play within the Professional Darts Council (PDC). Both have their own tournaments throughout the year, including a world championship, meaning that every year there are also two darts world champions.
With its meteoric rise in popularity in recent years, darts betting is becoming a favourite at online betting sites. The best throwers in the world now compete for big cash prizes in tournaments spanning the entire year. And the simplicity of the game itself works to the punter’s advantage, as markets can be easily digested and understood.
Tournaments formats only vary regarding set and leg totals, but in all tournaments the format will become longer as the tournament progresses. In the PDC’s season, only the Grand Prix is different, with a ‘double in’ rule to start each leg, where a player needs to start as well as finish on a double. So, generally speaking, what do you need to know when considering how to bet on darts?
Respect the short format
In the later stages of an event, there may be a best of 19 legs format. Here, players have time to settle into their game. Even if they fall behind in the early stages, enough legs remain in the match for them to catch up. And while there can be upsets, betting on the favourite should deliver a profit considerably more often than not.
However, the early stages of tournaments often see shorter formats, for example best of 5. Imagine your outside bet manages to break his opponent’s throw in the first leg. From there, he takes the next game with throw to take a 2-0 lead. Now, with only one more leg needed to take the win, there is a lot less chance for the favourite to claw the match back. Here, with upsets more likely, you can find value in the underdog.
Follow all the events
All bookmakers like to get involved with the big tournaments. Major PDC tournaments such as the Premier League or the World Cup of Darts will see every sportsbook offer prices. There are, however, other minor competitions on the darting calendar. The PDC also undertakes tours of Europe and Australasia, where there are events in countries such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.
For these tournaments, markets are much quieter and you may only find one or two bookies giving odds. But when the smaller tournaments are on, the bigger players often take the opportunity to have a rest, and as a result, it’s possible to find some real betting value. If you follow all of the professional tournaments, both in the PDC and BDO divisions, you may find the best prices in these more obscure events.
Check the player’s form
As in most sports, an understanding of how to bet on darts is helped by a study of player’s form. Research which players do well in certain formats or tournaments, and also who is playing well leading into the event.
Check player’s schedules, as they may have played one too many tournaments recently. Nowadays, the top darts players often travel a lot to play in different tournaments, and may be fatigued. It’s a good idea, therefore, to read news and updates on the sport.
And don’t be afraid to bet on the underdog – just because they have longer odds doesn’t mean they can’t win. Darts is a competitive sport. And by knowing which market to wager on, you can often find good value on an outside bet.
How to bet on darts – most popular darts tournaments
While darts is growing at all levels of the game, it is the pinnacle of the sport that enjoys the real attention. Along with increasing attendances, the major tournaments are also attracting increased television coverage. As with tennis and golf, The PDC has several prestigious tournaments that are regarded as ‘majors’, which have the most coverage and offer the largest prize money for players. Professional darts have five ‘majors’ – the World Championships, Premier League Darts, UK Open, World Matchplay and the World Grand Prix.
The most prestigious tournament in the darting calendar, the PDC World Championship, has by far the biggest prize pot. This year Michael Van Gerwen is favourite to retake the title from Peter Wright – you can read more here 2021 PDC World Championship Betting Tips Put Mighty Mike Odds On. For any bettor looking to make money from darts betting, targeting the more prestigious PDC tournaments is a good idea.
|World Darts Championship||December/January|
|Premier League of Darts February||May|
|Champions League of Darts||September|
|World Grand Prix||October|
|European Championship October||November|
|World Series of Darts||November|
|Grand Slam of Darts||November|
|Players Championship Finals||November|
This April also saw an historic first, with the creation of the first PDC online tournament, the PDC Home Tour. Due to the recent lockdown and postponements in the darting calendar, players took part in the competition from their own homes, with PDCTV streaming games live. How’s that for a solution! You can read more about it here Bet On the PDC Home Tour, Where Famous Names Will Compete.
How to bet on darts – most popular markets
You are never going to be short of darts betting options. In fact, just how many markets are out there may surprise you. Along with the obvious tournament and match outrights, you are pretty well covered with side betting options too, otherwise known as proposition bets. A proposition, or ‘prop’ bet, is a bet which is not related to who wins the game. And understanding these markets is a serious feather in your cap when it comes to a sport like darts – a game where if you are looking for value, you may want to do more than just back a tournament winner. But first, let’s look at the two most popular darts bets:
The most obvious darts bet, and where most people like to start. Remember, surprise results are rarer in the long form games, but you will see upsets in the short formats. The tie is rarely an issue here, with the exception of the PDC Premier League where games can finish in a drawn 6-6 scoreline. For this reason there is a ‘Draw No Bet’ market – only available in the Premier League – where your stake will be refunded in the result of a draw.
Another straightforward darts bet – at least in theory. Before any tournament begins bookmakers list odds on all players involved, and you pick who you think will win it. These days, one or two players tend to dominate the bigger tournaments, but the favourites don’t always come out on top.
Novice punters understandably like to bet on favourites as they have a better chance of winning. The main drawback of this type of betting, however, is that when picking favourites, they come at shorter odds. There may be little to no betting value left on them. So when deciding how to bet on darts, to increase the value on a favourite, or any other player, you may want to consider a side or prop bet. Common prop bets include:
In a match, one player may be much stronger than the other. When this happens, match odds hold little value. Handicap betting essentially gives the weaker player a head start before the match begins, and a better value on your chosen player.
Imagine the favourite’s odds to win are 1.57. By applying handicap betting, the bookmaker will give the opponent a two leg start. In this case, the favourite would have to win by three legs for the bet to be profitable. It’s obviously a riskier bet, but the odds may increase to 4.0 or higher, so it is potentially more lucrative.
When betting on the underdog, a certain number of plus legs decreases the odds on the player. But it also gives you a better chance of winning. Picking correctly in a handicap bet will earn more than simply betting on the favourite’s moneyline odds.
To win first leg
Back who you think will win the opening leg of the match. This will always heavily favour the player with the ‘throw’ in the first leg, in other words the player who throws first. However, it’s also an excellent opportunity to get good odds on a break of throw – that the player throwing first will lose the first leg, similar to a break of serve in tennis.
A popular market in many sports, and darts is of course one. Generally available for all PDC tournaments and the biggest BDO equivalents, punters must predict the correct score in terms of legs and sets.
Depending on the type of tournament, games can be very short, in which case the correct score bet becomes slightly easier to call. In the later stages of bigger tournaments such as the PDC Majors, however, it may extend to best of 15. Naturally, these are harder to predict, but there are bigger rewards waiting for those who can.
Most tournaments involve a race to a certain number of legs – single matches. But for the PDC World Championships and World Grand Prix, players have to win sets – generally the best of five legs, sometimes three. When this happens, bookmakers will open up markets both in terms of sets and the overall match.
Score after X sets/legs
A variant of correct score betting, punters must predict the correct score after a certain number of legs or sets. There are many points at which the bookmaker may set the line for you to wager on with this market. As the length of games vary, let’s take the PDC Premier League as an example, where the first to seven legs is crowned the winner.
Here, the bookmaker might set the Score after x Sets / Legs line at six legs. At that point, the score could be 6-0 to either player, or anything in between, including a 3-3 draw. As mentioned, most games are best of x legs, but in the PDC Worlds and World Grand Prix set betting again comes into play.
Leg/Set Over/Under betting
Punters must predict whether a player will win over or under a specified number of legs/sets in a match. For example, if you bet on a player to win Over 3.5 legs in a match, the bet pays out if he wins 4 or more.
With both Handicap and Over/Under betting, the player you bet on does not need to win the match. They only need to meet the requirements set for the bet to be successful. Picking a winner with certainty can often prove tricky. So going for the ‘over/under’ leg market when considering how to bet on darts can often prove far more lucrative.
Nothing gets a noisy darts crowd to its feet quicker than the sight of a player hitting a 180. Because this is one of the high points of any game, good bookmakers such as 888sport have a busy Most 180s market. Oddsmakers can also offer bets on the First 180, Total 180s for a leg or even Total 180s for the day. And in the Most 180s markets, you can find some exceptional value.
So get to know the scoring habits of the players involved in the match. In match betting, bookmakers tend to heavily favour the stronger player, but upsets are fairly common. Remember, the player doesn’t have to win the game to record the most 180s, so you look for players who return heavy scores but don’t enjoy quite as much success when the pressure is on to checkout with a double.
In darts, the highest checkout possible is 170, a combination of two treble 20s followed by the bullseye. The ‘the big fish’, as it is known, is the next best thing to the Holy Grail of darts, the nine dart finish. Some bookmakers will provide a market on whether there will actually be a maximum 170 checkout. Common in PDC matches, it’s not a particularly popular market but is an occasional option for those that want to check it out.
Alternatively, as neither big fish nor nine dart finishes are too common, bookies may issue a highest checkout market. Outright and match betting options will both be available. In the event of a tie, dead heat rules should apply but check the bookmaker’s terms and conditions before placing your money.
Nine dart finish
A rare feat. In standard tournament darts, the match is a race to 501. The minimum number of darts required to reach this target is nine, with a number of combinations possible.
When betting on the nine darter, always consider the match format and the players involved. Let’s say, for example, it’s the final of a tournament played over 19 legs. If the tournament’s two best players are at the oche, then a nine-darter could be a good value bet to lay down.
Betting markets on whether there will be a nine dart finish will open on both specific matches and the tournament as a whole. An alternative may also be available, where punters must name the player they think will hit a nine dart finish. This bet is more commonly offered for match than outright betting.
King of the oche
To be crowned King of the oche, a player must score the most 180s, the top checkout and also win the match. Unsurprisingly, this market comes with big odds, and is usually common when there is a strong favourite.
Some more unusual punts for you to consider
All sports have their niche betting markets, and darts is no exception. With some of the bigger tournaments, you can take a shot at predicting the nationality of the winner. You can also wager on top Englishman, top Scotsman, top Dutchman and so on. For those that do enough research to make the correct calls, some good profits can be made here. Or, if you fancy a more or less 50/50 gamble, bet on the colour of the board in which the dart that wins the first leg will land.
All major online bookmakers offer odds on the main events of the PDC and BDO circuits. Some also list them for the lesser profile tours and non-ranking events. So with such a huge variety of darts betting available, check out online gambling sites in the UK to find your own preferred markets.
How to bet on darts – live betting
Darts usually appears on a sports bettor’s radar when one of the major tournaments pops up on television. And when this happens, so does a surge in betting, with punters eager to get wagers down on tournament winners. As always, the best prices on favourites are found pre-tournament, though the majority of ante post bets will still be available after matches have started.
And as with most sports, live betting has become a huge draw for darts. But unlike pre-match markets, you’re not limited to picking a winner or predicting the correct scoreline. When looking for alternative markets for live betting, the variety available won’t disappoint – with a range of prop bets, such as those discussed, on offer.
When deciding how to bet on darts live, games with a longer format have the advantage that once the match starts, you can check a player’s form on the day before laying down any bets. And that means a decent shot at a profit. Which, of course, also provides the satisfaction of a return in real time. But whatever the format, games are played with a rapid turnover, making it a very dynamic sport and one that lends itself perfectly to in-play betting. But it’s a rapid game, so stay on your betting toes!
As with all sports, if you’re going to be serious about live betting, you should download the bookmaker’s app for quick and easy access to live markets. Be sure to choose a good bookmaker when betting in-play, as some have more options than others. Bet365 Sportsbook, for example, have previously offered over 40 markets on the PDC Premier League alone. So for some great betting action, find what you are looking for here at trusted Online sportsbooks in the UK.