Once it was a sport that was played almost exclusively in pubs and working men’s clubs across the UK and it received very little in terms of TV coverage. But, in the 1970’s and 1980’s some big personalities got involved in a game which is now very much in the mainstream.
Today’s darts players can therefore thank the likes of Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and Bobby George for making darts more accessible. In the modern day, a night at the darts is a great experience for spectators while tens of thousands also tune in as tournaments are broadcast live.
This is also an excellent sport with plenty of options from a betting point of view so here’s a little more information on the great game of darts.
Best Darts Betting Sites
Main Event to Bet on
The biggest event on the darting calendar is the PDC World Championship. This traditionally starts in the middle of December each year and the final takes place on or around January 1st. Naturally, this is the one they all want to win and players will aim to get into top shape and form ahead of the big tournament.Darts has had a world championship every year since 1978 and that was around the time that TV started to take the sport seriously and show it on a regular basis. Things progressed from that point until 1993 when a notorious split in the game took place, leaving the sport with two separate governing bodies.
The PDC – Professional Darts Corporation – now have the biggest and best players in the game and their version of the World Championship is the one that every serious player wants to win. Meanwhile, the British Darts Organisation (BDO) still runs alongside the PDC and has its own version of the World Championships which are held in January every year.
Outside of the main World Championship, the PDC also hosts the biggest darts tournaments across the calendar. One of these is the Premier League which is held across several weeks and features the best throwers from the previous year.
This competition was first held in 2006 and in its current format, the Premier League has proved to be one of the most popular competitions on the circuit. Each player plays each other across those weeks before moving on to the knockout stages. It has taken the game into corners of the UK that don’t always get to see their favourite players and in 2017 the tournament will expand into Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Those are the major events within the sport but darts has become so popular that there are many high profile tournaments held across the world throughout the calendar year and there are always busy betting markets for each and every one of them.
Bookmakers will publish outright betting markets ahead of each tournament and in the case of an event as big as the PDC Worlds, these will be open several months in advance. As that tournament arrives, punters will be able to stake on the result of individual matches and these are the two most popular markets for darts betting.Lots of side markets will be open too and, as with any sport which involves point scoring, a lot of these will revolve around numbers. Players can stake on the exact score in a match and / or the winning margin for either player.
Markets in relation to numbers of 180s (maximum score with three darts) are also on offer and you can bet on the overall total in each match and the total for each player.
Other popular side bets include staking on whether there will be a nine dart finish in the game in question. This is the fewest number of darts needed to win a leg and similarly, players can stake on whether they think a maximum 170 finish will come in.
Handicap betting is also available and darts is a great sport for those who like to bet in play but it’s naturally important to choose your bookmaker carefully as some will be better for this sport than others.
As with any other sport, the task in terms of outright betting on darts involves picking between the two players on show and deciding which of them is going to win. With most tournaments, both on the BDO and the PDC circuits, it’s all about picking a winner with no draw to take into account.
There are rare exceptions to this and with the PDC Premier League, it’s possible to have a drawn game at six legs apiece but in the main, outright betting is all about looking at the two players on show and deciding which of them is going to get over the line.
In straight match betting, it’s often the case that one player is much stronger than the other and when this happens, the match odds will hold little value. With some darts bookmakers, it’s possible to address this situation by looking at the handicap.
A handicap betting scenario would work by taking the weaker player with longer match odds and giving them a notional head start. Let’s say they’re playing Michael Van Gerwen and that MVG’s odds to win the game stand at 4/7. By applying handicap betting, you might give the opponent a two set start and if that’s the case, Van Gerwen would have to win by three clear sets to give you a profit. It’s obviously a riskier bet but the odds might increase to 3/1 or higher so it carries better value.
There’s nothing more likely to get a noisy darts crowd to its feet than the sight of a player hitting a 180. This is the maximum score that a thrower can score with three darts and he needs to hit the treble 20 each time.
Because this is one of the high points of any game, bookmakers have a busy most 180s market and this comes with a choice for both match and outright betting. For match betting, it’s simply a case of picking between two players and deciding who will hit the most 180s during the course of their contest.
As an alternative, there is a most maximums market for the whole tournament. This is obviously trickier to call because all players who are involved in the event will be listed.
Things can get a bit obscure with bets on Most 180s during a set. The list of bookies quoting for this reduces considerably with the match and outright versions being by far the most popular.
Lots of sports have correct score betting markets and darts is no exception. This bet is generally available for all PDC tournaments and the biggest BDO equivalents and it involves the task of calling the correct score in a game between two individual opponents.
Depending on the type of tournament, games can be very small and could be a case of a best of three sets affair in which case, the correct score bet becomes slightly easier to call. In the bigger tournaments such as the PDC Majors, this could extend to best of 15 and naturally, it’s harder to predict but there are some longer prices in prospect.
Most tournaments involve a race to a certain number of legs but for the PDC World Championships, players have to win sets. When this happens, bookmakers will open up markets for both correct score betting in terms of sets and the overall match so there are plenty of options within one overall market.
In darts, the highest checkout possible is 170 which is a combination of two treble 20s followed by the bullseye. This figure isn’t always reached however so it’s very common for the bookies to issue a highest checkout market.
The option can be given at the start of the tournament when the punter needs to decide which of the players will throw the highest checkout or, it can be given for match betting where it’s a simple case of deciding between the two players. In the event of a tie, dead heat rules should apply but check the individual bookmaker’s terms and conditions for clarification.
As an alternative to this bet, a restricted set of bookmakers will provide a market on whether there will be a maximum 170 checkout. These are more common in PDC matches so it’s not a particularly busy or popular market but it’s an occasional option for those that want to take a look.
Nine Dart Finish
In standard tournament darts, it’s a race between the two players to get to 501 and they must finish on a double or the bullseye. The fewest darts needed to reach this target is nine and while there are a number of combinations with which to do this, a nine dart finish remains a rare feat.
As such, there are betting markets open on whether or not there will be a nine dart finish - either in a specific match or in the tournament as a whole. With this bet, it’s a simple case of saying yes or no and staking the amount you are comfortable with.
There is an alternative to this with some bookmakers who will ask you to name the player who you think will hit the nine dart finish. Once again, this can be made available at the start of the tournament but more commonly, it will be listed for darts match betting.
Score After x Sets / Legs
This punt is a slight variant on the correct score bet and it asks you to decide on what the score will be after a certain amount of legs or sets. Depending on the bookmaker involved, there could be any number of points where the line is set for you to take a punt at. The length of games can vary too so let’s take the PDC Premier League as an example where the first to seven legs is crowned the winner.
Here, the bookmaker in question might set the Score after x Sets / Legs line at six legs and at that point, the score could range from anything between 6-0 to either player or it could be a 3-3 draw. As we’ve seen, most games are played to a best of X number of legs while in the PDC World Championships, sets are involved and this is where set betting comes into play.
Some Obscure Punts you might like
All sports have their really niche betting markets and that’s certain the case for darts. One of the more unusual options involves betting on the colour of the board in which the dart will land in order to win the first leg.
As you know, players need to hit either a double or the bull to win a leg and these are alternately coloured red and green. It’s almost a 50 / 50 option and one that some punters might want to consider based on laws of mathematical probability.
For the bigger tournaments such as the PDC World Championships, there are some additional options in the outright betting. These might involve staking on the nationality of the winner or, you could punt on top Dutchman, top Englishman, top Scotsman and so on. Some serious darts gamblers will take this bet on and, for those that do plenty or research and make the correct calls, some good profits can be made.
Because it’s such a fast paced sport, darts lends itself perfectly to live betting. There are lots of options to bet live in-running on darts matches from the match winner, match score, most 180s, set winner and many more. And, because it’s live, there are markets that you won’t find ante post such as next set winner, next leg winner and others.
Choose your bookmaker wisely if you want to get involved with this type of bet because some have more options to bet live in-running on darts than others. It’s a question of logging on and looking at who has the biggest coverage in terms of markets.
Where to Bet Live on Darts - In Play Darts
For live darts betting, 888Sport is one of the first places to consider. Firstly, it couldn’t be simpler to get started and while you can download their app from the usual store, it’s much quicker to scan a code and it will automatically work its way onto your phone.
When looking to bet in play darts has many possibilities and 888 match this perfectly. They have one of the widest sets of markets available and, like their odds in the ante post equivalents, the live pricing is tough to beat.
Unibet have been exceptionally active when it comes to darts sponsorship and among some high profile deals, they are the title sponsors for the PDC Premier League. It’s therefore logical to look to this sportsbook for live darts betting options and they don’t disappoint.
Once again, there is choice and the pricing is perhaps just a little better than 888Sport. The app is available from the usual stores for all main platforms and as a serious darts backer, this is a great place for in play on the arrows.
While William Hill may be seen as a senior statesman among sportsbooks, they take innovation seriously and that extends to live markets. When it comes to bet in play darts has a great home here and they also come highly recommended.
Hills are also involved in sponsorship, most notably on the biggest tournament of all - the PDC World Championships. They have a strong range of live darts betting markets and, like all bookies on here, have competitive prices to match.
Betting Sites - Where to Bet on Darts?
The first ever Darts World Championships were held in 1978 but the real momentum came in the early 1990s. A split in the game led to the more powerful PDC governing body being formed and that’s where the best players are involved. Newly formed satellite TV companies started to get involved and if we fast forward to the present day, the major tournaments are now watched by millions around the world.
Naturally, the interest in betting on darts has grown too and the sport is now more popular than ever and it receives extensive coverage from around the sportsbooks. Like all events, choosing the right bookmaker is very important so here are the outlets that we have researched and that we would recommend for darts punters.
Bet365 are frequently out on their own with the best prices for darts and are rarely, if ever, out of touch with the rest of the market. In any sport, they provide one of the widest sets of side markets beyond the straight result and that’s the case here too.
However, Hills know that they have to back up that familiar name with strong benefits and players will certainly get that here. Odds for any darts match are always competitive but William Hill add to that value by frequently bringing out regular promotions that could bring price boosts or free bets for the major tournaments.
Of course, there is the trusted brand element too and when you combine all these factors they make Ladbrokes a popular home for serious darts bettors.
Prices are strong, as you would expect, but it’s the offers that put Coral firmly on this list.
The prices here come out a little earlier than most so for those that want to get in with a very quick ante post bet this may be the best place for that. The choice of markets is also slightly wider than most so for more obscure side bets on the bigger tournaments, Paddy score very heavily there too.
Standard prices are always good but Paddy Power will often improve on these with regular price boosts so remember to keep logging on to your account to find out the best of these as they arrive. With special promos added in for the big tournaments, this is possibly the best all round bookmaker on the list.
Darts is a particularly strong area and they also have an extensive set of side markets that make them another good option for this particular sport.