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.
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.
- BDO World Championship (January)
- The Masters (Jan/Feb)
- Premier League (February to May)
- Players Championship Series (February to November)
- UK Open Finals (March)
- German Darts Masters (May)
- World Cup of Darts (May/June)
- North American Championship (July)
- US Darts Masters (July)
- Shanghai Darts Masters (July)
- World Matchplay (July)
- Australian & New Zealand Series (August)
- Champions League of Darts (September)
- World Grand Prix (September/October)
- European Championship (October)
- World Series of Darts Finals (November)
- Grand Slam of Darts (November)
- PDC World Championship (December/January)
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.
What to Consider when Betting on Darts - A Darts Betting Guide
The sport of darts has emerged from the pubs and clubs to become a huge success story in the modern day. In the digital age, the best throwers in the world compete for big cash prizes in tournaments that stretch right across the calendar year.
At the same time, interest in darts from a betting point of view has increased in line with the sport’s growth. In this guide, we will underline what we think you should take into account when betting on any aspect of the game.
Respect the Short Format
Most darts tournaments involve playing a series of legs. In the later stages of an event, it may be that we have a best of 19 format so the first player to secure 10 legs would win. However, in the first and, possibly second rounds of the competition, we could have a best of seven scenario.
In the first example that we’ve given you, the better player should win on more occasions. They have more time to settle into their game and even if they fall behind in the early stages, there are enough legs left in the match for them to catch up. In those games, while there can be upsets, the favourite should deliver a profit on more occasions.
However, in the shorter formats, trends suggest that we may see more upsets. Let’s say that the outside bet manages to break his opponent’s throw in the first leg. From there, he takes the next game with throw and now has a 2-0 lead.
With just two legs left before a win is clinched, there is less chance for the favourite to claw the match back. This is why you should always respect the short format and look for some value in the outside players.
Follow all the Events
All the bookmakers like to get involved when a big tournament comes along. The PDC World Championships will see every sportsbook offer prices and the same applies for other major competitions such as the Premier League or the World Cup of Darts. These are listed as PDC Majors and it’s a time when the darts betting markets are especially busy.
However, there are other, minor competitions that take place across the darting calendar. The PDC undertakes tours of Europe and Australasia where there are events in countries as diverse as Denmark, the Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.
For these tournaments, the markets are much quieter and we may only see one or two bookies quoting odds. SportingBet are usually available but we suggest looking beyond the odds comparison sites and checking operators such as LV BET and EnergyBet.
When the smaller tournaments are on, the bigger players will often take the opportunity to have a rest and this is when the real betting value turns up. Therefore, our advice here is to follow all of the professional tournaments, both in the PDC and BDO divisions, as the best prices may come in the more obscure events in the furthest corners of the world.
Value in Most 180s Markets
The sport of darts offers plenty of opportunity for side markets - or prop bets as they are called in some parts of the world. These might include options for Highest Checkout or whether there will be a nine-dart finish in the match but we think there could be some exceptional value in the Most 180s markets.
There are, obviously, just two choices for this best and the odds setters will tend to heavily favour the strongest player on show. However, it can often be the case that we see an upset in this market and the weaker player prevails. Remember, you don’t have to win the game to record the most 180s so you could look for a player who returns heavy scores but doesn’t enjoy quite as much success when the pressure is on to hit a double.
Popular Darts Bets
The is the most obvious darts bet and the place where we all like to start. The match winner just involves picking between the two players on show and deciding which of them will go on to win the match. The tie is rarely an issue here but there is an exception with the PDC Premier League where games can finish in a drawn, 6-6 scoreline.
Otherwise, it’s just a case of making a pick between two outcomes. Remember, surprise results are rarer in the long form games but we can see some outsiders come through in the short formats.
This is another simple darts bet - at least in theory. Before any tournament begins there will be a set of markets set up for outright winner. All of the players taking part in the event will be listed and it’s just a matter of deciding which one you think will win it.
In modern day darts, one or two players tend to dominate the bigger tournaments but the favourites don’t always come through. Also keep in mind that, like most outright bets, there are subtle alternatives to the outright win. Look out for a To Reach the Final market or, you can simply take an Each Way bet which would typically pay a return if your player makes it to the semi final at least.
Each Way Darts Bet
We’ve briefly touched on the option for each way betting but we’ll outline this punt in more detail in this section. As with all sports, an each way bet on the darts is, in fact, two bets. Here we are staking on the win and also a place. The amount of your stake is therefore doubled so a £10.00 bet each way will actually result in a total stake of £20.00.
Remember to check the terms from your preferred bookmaker. Many will pay each way if your player makes the semi final while others will only issue a return if he or she finishes inside the top two. For the PDC World Championship, this may be extended so do check terms and conditions before proceeding.
How does Each Way Betting work in Darts?
If you already know how each way bets work then you’ll have no trouble taking this punt in the darts markets but if you are new to the concept, here is a quick refresher course.
An Each Way bet is a good option if you have a favoured thrower but you are not supremely confident that they will win. It actually comprises two bets - a win and a place - so let’s use an example and we’ll say that you intend to place an Each Way bet on Rob Cross to win the PDC World Darts Championship using unit stakes of £10.00.
Your bet is as follows:
1x win bet at £10.00
1x place bet at £10.00
Total Stake £20.00
If the bet lands, the win portion will pay at the regular market odds while the place bet will be settled at a fraction of those odds.
Points to Note
As with any Each Way bet, we need to know the terms that the bookie is offering. The two main points concern the fraction that they will pay for the place bet and the number of places that they are paying down to.
As a general rule, for a regular darts tournament, your player will need to reach the final and the place portion of the bet will pay out at 1/3 of the standard win odds. For the PDC World Championships, you may find offers where the fraction is more profitable and the places pay to the semis.
The terms for an each way bet in darts may, therefore, be tighter than in other sports but this can still be a useful and profitable option.
Live Betting on Darts
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.
In Play Bets
In the modern day, live betting has become a big draw for most sports and darts is no exception. Games can last up to an hour or more so there is plenty of time to assess the form of each player before taking a punt on the in-play markets.
The majority of ante post bets will still be present after the match has started. Bettors can, therefore, look to stake on match winner, correct score, most 180s and many more. As with all sports, if you’re going to be serious about betting in play then you should download the bookmaker’s app for quick and easy access to the live markets.
Where to Bet Live on Darts - In Play Darts
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 UK - 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.
Good Sites for Darts Betting
We find this in any sport and it should come as no surprise that some bookies are just better at darts than others. We have our own recommendations which we’ll list in a moment but firstly, let’s consider what it takes to build a great darts sportsbook.
Being able to switch between currencies is an important factor for many players. Let’s say you’re based in the United Kingdom and are using a mainland European bookmaker. The sportsbook is likely to default to Euros as the currency setting but it is far more beneficial to play in £GBP.
Make sure it’s easy to switch between the two options. Being able to play in your own currency means not having to recalculate your stakes or your potential winnings. The best darts betting sites will let you make this switch and the same principle applies to USD, CAD and many more.
No-one wants to wait to receive their payouts so we need to look for a darts bookmaker who settles instantly. In the digital age, there should be no reason why an operator can’t add any winnings to your account the second that a darts match comes to an end.
The same principle applies to withdrawals too. These should also be instant for most withdrawal methods.
Live Updated Betting Odds
This is a definite factor in the live markets where prices can change at a rapid rate. Live odds must be updated in real time to be fair to the bettors and to keep pace with changes in the markets.
It’s imperative that we spot a player that is either shortening or drifting to a price that makes him or her a value pick.
With all of this in mind, we suggest checking out SportingBet, Ladbokes, Coral, William Hill, Bethard, EnergyBet, LV BET, 10Bet, Unibet as first ports of call for all of your darts betting.
Here are some of the best betting sites UK for betting on darts:
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.
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.