It’s one of the newest events on the darting calendar but its format also makes the PDC Premier League one of the most popular. The tournament has grown in size since its first launch and from 2018 onwards, it promises to be bigger and better.
The popularity also extends to the betting community who have been firmly behind this event since it first started and the ongoing expansion has given us even more opportunities for punting on the darts.
The very first PDC Premier League darts tournament was held in 2005 and like most competitions at that time, it was won by Phil Taylor. The Power went on an incredible run that saw him win all of his first 44 Premier League matches and in that time, he took the first three editions of the competition.
Eventually, James Wade ended that trot by defeating Taylor in the first round of the 2008 renewal but the reigning champion went on to make it four titles in a row and so far he has won six of the 13 tournaments that have been played. Of the remaining seven, Michael Van Gerwen has been successful on three occasions, Gary Anderson has won it twice and there have been solitary wins for both James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld.
The PDC Premier League works differently to other darts tournaments as it is played out over several weeks of competition – usually from February to May. Different venues host a round of matches as a collection of the best arrows-men from the previous year play each other across those weeks.
An initial group stage will eliminate the worst performing players and those who have progressed will then battle it out on a special Finals Night.
Like most tournaments, things started out small and gathered momentum as the competition developed. That first version of the Premier League in 2005 featured seven players and games were played every fortnight. By 2007, an extra thrower was added and by 2017, the number had increased further to 10 with weekly fixtures being introduced.
Traditionally, the Premier League has been held exclusively in the UK but in 2018, the promoters have recognised the need to take things further afield and we will now see games taking place in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Clearly this is a sport that is growing in popularity every year and the betting markets will just get busier but what types of bets can we take on the premier league each year?
The PDC Premier League works differently to other tournaments and as we’ll see, that leads to a number of different options from around the sportsbooks. Obviously there is outright tournament betting but only ten players are involved and we don’t know exactly who will be chosen to take part until the promoters make an announcement in the weeks leading up to the event.
So, one long term bet that you won’t find anywhere else is based on who will actually be selected to play. Obviously the best players such as Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson in 2018 will be very short options at around the 1/100 mark but there are some longer priced punts as we move further down the field.
The overall tournament winner market is released before the playing roster is made public so early punters would need to make assumptions as to who they think will line up for the next renewal.
As the event draws closer, it may be possible to find other long term markets such as To Reach the Final and to Reach the Play Offs.
Unlike other tournaments, the draw is a legitimate result in Premier League darts – at least in the group stages. Matches are played over 12 sets and we do get results that finish at six sets apiece.
Keep this in mind for match betting as there will be three possible outcomes listed and if the players are evenly matched then the draw does come into the equation. Beyond that point, the options for each individual game are fairly standard and they come with the usual range of side bets that you would expect to see for any darts tournament.
Correct score betting is the most popular for both match and sets while many of these markets focus on 180s and how many maximums each player might land during the game. Total 180 betting and who will be the first to hit a 180 are common darts bets that can also carry over easily to the Premier League.
Highest checkout options are also popular so you can bet on who will hit the highest checkout score while bookies will also provide an over / under line so you can look to predict how high that number will go.
This is a slightly different tournament as we know so a smaller set of bookies may also release a set of ‘On the Night’ markets. These might take some uncommon events in the game and then you simply make a yes or no choice for them to land in that particular week.
For example, a price may be offered on a nine dart finish on the night or a maximum checkout of 170. These are getting to be more common in the game and the prices involved may be short ones but they may be possible options for this event.
Perhaps more than any other tournament, the Premier League underlines just how popular darts has become in recent years. It has taken the game to all four corners of the UK but increasing demand sees it cross to Europe for the first time in 2018.
It’s an event that also showcases the elite with the best players involved so top class action is guaranteed. With that backdrop, it’s no surprise that the PDC Premier League is also popular with the betting community and there are lots of opportunities for punters to get involved.