Everything You Need To Know About Betting On Darts

As a year-round, crowd-friendly game, darts has become quite the fan favourite in recent times. This article covers everything you need to know about darts betting, from the need-to-know jargon to the best bookmakers. If you want to know how to bet on darts, this is the article for you. To begin, the sport of darts is introduced fully, discussing how the various competitions and organisations came into being.

As with all sports, darts has certain types of bets that are specific to the sport, including bets regarding ‘highest checkout’ or ‘most 180s’. These darts-specific bets are outlined and explained below. Don’t worry, we’ve done this as straightforwardly as possible for those who are relatively new to the sport.

Darts also contains its own set of jargon that is likely to be unfamiliar to the casual sports fan. To clue you in on this, the most frequent terms that arise are listed and defined, so that you can understand what exactly you are betting on. As with all sports bets, it is crucial that you understand what you are dealing with before putting your hard-earned cash on the line.

Our exclusive top five tips are included, as well as the best bookmakers to make these bets with. So, let’s get to it.

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Overview

Basics

Having been played as far back as 1860 in Britain, darts has a rich history and has maintained its perfectly simple nature. Two players take it in turns to throw three darts at a numbered dartboard, with the highest score being the most successful. Most frequently, both players start with a total of 501, and the first person to reach exactly zero is the winner – this is the 501 rule-set. The score of each turn is taken away from their overall (501), with the only caveat being that the final dart thrown must hit a ‘double’ or the ‘bullseye’. This means that players must remain cautious not to score a ‘bust’ (go below zero).

Organisations

Having begun life as a pub game, the scale of darts events has grown massively since its inception. Huge tournaments in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and even the United States are able to draw huge crowds. Along with the spectatorship, the prize money has also increased, with players earning up to £400,000 per tournament.

The original professional organisation of darts was the British Darts Organisation (BDO). The BDO was formed back in 1973 and remained the primary company for many years. The BDO still exists today but has since been overshadowed by the Professional Darts Corporation, which offers a higher standard of play, as well as larger events and higher prize money.

The winner of the PDC World Championship in 2018, Rob Cross, received £400,000, whereas the BDO champion received just £100,000. Some say that the BDO tournaments no longer compete with the superior PDC, on a financial or popularity scale. This is compounded by the fact the PDC has now gained the strong backing of television broadcasters Sky Sports.

Competitions

With a significant amount of darts tournaments each year, the season is basically active all-year-round. That’s good news for a bettor, as it means there are continual betting opportunities available. Competitions include the Unibet Darts Masters, Coral UK Open, Betway World Cup of Darts, Betvictor World Matchplay, and the most prominent: the William Hill World Darts Championship. As the sponsors suggest, the tournaments are backed strongly by the bookmakers. As a result, you shouldn’t struggle to find a bookie who offers darts betting odds.

Different Types Of Darts Bets

The darts betting market is ever-evolving, with new betting options becoming available with almost every tournament. It is, therefore, crucial to ease your way into the market, opting for the more straightforward bets, to begin with (‘outright winner’, ‘most 180s’). As your confidence and knowledge build, you can move on to more complex, higher-risk markets (‘9-darter’, ‘correct score’). Here, we outline the most useful types of darts bets for you, so you can begin compiling your own darts betting strategy.

Outright Tournament Winner

This is, quite simply, a bet on who will win the overall tournament. When you place a bet on the outright tournament winner, there is a chance you will get some very generous odds.  Although the odds may be heavily stacked against the underdogs, do not underestimate them; history has shown that the big darts tournaments are prone to upsets. The standout underdog moment of recent times is the sensational breakthrough of Rob Cross, who somehow managed to defy the odds and win the PDC World Darts Championship back in January 2018. The higher ranked players are obviously favourites for a reason, Cross’ victory exemplified the fact that darts is a sport where underdogs can and do triumph. Whether you want to back a favourite or an underdog, the ‘outright tournament winner’ market is the perfect starting point to betting on darts.

Most 180s

The most desirable and highest score possible from one turn in darts is the 180 (when a player throws three treble-twenties). Unlike betting on the ‘outright winner’, this bet does not take into account who wins the match. This is because the loser of the game may still finish the match as the player with the most 180s, due to the influence of ‘checkouts’ in the 501 rule-set.

The 180s market can be somewhat more tactical than others, as certain players do have tendencies to score more 180s than others. Some players rely on their high scoring and are therefore more likely to score a number of 180s, but others are more focused on hitting high checkouts. This bet type is therefore worth researching in depth, as there are certain players who will often score more 180s than their opponents— even if they’re not winning many matches. Odds can sometimes be low if both players are relatively high-scorers, but with some form of research, ‘most 180s’ bets are definitely worth consideration. It also gives you a reason to celebrate along with that lively darts crowd every time the MC screams ‘ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY’!

Highest Average

Similarly to the ‘most 180s’ bet type, this does not necessarily mean the winner of the match, although they do sometimes correlate. Averages also relate to how high a player scores during the course of the game, with an importance lying on his/her consistency as every dart, contributes to the overall average. One bad set could seriously decrease a player’s average, so you are looking for players with clear high-scoring consistency when betting on the ‘highest average’. Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson are both players to look out for, as they are both very consistent high-scorers. The Belgian rising star Kim Huybrechts is also worth a look, given he is fresh from scoring the second highest ever average back in 2017, with 121.97. The highest average score to date was scored by the currently ranked world number one Michael van Gerwen in the Premier League (2016), where the Dutchman averaged 123.40.  

Match Winner

Here, match betting darts is explained for you. Match winner bets are simply bets on who you think will that one specific match. Let’s take the prominent  William Hill World Darts Championship as an example. It is important that you watch the early stages of the tournament as much as possible, perhaps not to bet on the match winner (as odds will highly favour the higher ranked players), but to gather a gist of which players you feel are on form and performing well. It is the latter part of the competition where you will find the better odds for the ‘match winner’, as the higher-ranked players begin to meet in the Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final stages.  When the higher-ranked players begin to face one another, Gary Anderson vs Peter Wright, for example, the odds will shorten considerably, which is where your time spent studying their form during the earlier stages will pay off. Often, the odds will be close to evens for both players if they are closely ranked. This kind of bet is therefore likely to carry a risk, but your gut-feeling and research can stand you in good stead here.

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Best Bookmaker For Darts Betting

Choosing a bookmaker is crucial in maximising your potential wins, as they vary quite significantly in odds and markets. The variety of options available regarding bookmakers is huge for darts betting, with all major companies backing the sport heavily. Throughout the calendar year, various darts tournaments take place. These are often sponsored by a large betting company, such as the William Hill World Darts Championship, Betway Premier League or the BetVictor World Matchplay. The World Championships and the Premier League are two of the most prominent competitions, with the largest purses, and they should, therefore, have odds available throughout the year.

William Hill, Betway and BetVictor are the main bookmakers for the best darts markets and odds. BetVictor are great for pricing odds quickly and as early as possible, and also include more markets than any other bookmaker. Ironically, BetVictor featured more markets than William Hill for the 2017 World Darts Championship, despite William Hill being its primary sponsor! It is therefore crucial that you do not assume that the sponsor will automatically be the best bookmaker available. Bet smart!

We would recommend BetVictor heartily for darts betting in general. However, there is the scope for variation between tournaments, so you may also want to consider our other favourites: William Hill, Betway, BetVictor, Coral and Betfred. Any of these popular bookies should feature plentiful darts markets and reasonable odds, so do your research and you could find a great deal. So check BetVictor first, but don’t rule out other options too.

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Popular Darts Betting Terms

Darts is a sport that can be quite daunting and leave you rather baffled if you have not got a general grasp of the popular terms used. Here, we introduce these terms to you, so that you can feel more confident in your overall understanding of the sport.

  • Checkout Scoring exactly the score that is left to win the leg. The final dart must be a double.
  • Nine-dart finish The perfect leg in darts. Using only nine darts (least possible) to checkout from 501.
  • Outright tournament The overall winner of the tournament at hand.
  • Outright match The winner of one specific match (AvsB)
  • Handicap +2.5/-2.5 A handicap of -2.5 will minus the final score of a player by that amount. So, if Player A (-2.5) wins 5-1, your bet has it scored 2.5-1 and will win. Minus handicaps are placed on favourites to increase the odds, with plus handicaps usually placed on underdogs.
  • 170 checkout More common than a nine-dart finish, but still hugely difficult. The player reaches checkout from 170, using three darts.
  • Correct score Similarly to most sports, you can bet on the final score of a match. For example, Michael van Gerwen to win the match by 5 sets to 2.  

Top Tips For Betting On Darts

We have now provided you with some solid information on darts betting in general. We’ve outlined the main bet types, and given you a glossary of terms that will most definitely come in handy. Next, we offer our very own, exclusive betting tips, which have been carefully selected by our darts betting experts.

Do Your Player Research

There are different types of betters. There are people who constantly research the stats and figures, and those who simply listen to their gut feeling. Although gut feeling shouldn’t be totally ignored, research will serve you well when betting. Ensure you research areas such as players’ previous performances at a specific tournament, the current world rankings, form, any signs of injury, and — if relevant — how well they have performed at the tournament so far.

Check Players’ Expertise

Certain players will always excel in specific areas. Some will be more high-scoring, others will be excellent at checking out and hitting doubles; it all varies from player-to-player. When betting on markets such as ‘most 180s’, certain players are more likely to win. For example, Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall, Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith all hit 180s very frequently and are worth looking out for with the ‘most 180s’ market. The same goes for markets such as ‘highest checkout’ and ‘highest average’— look for the best players in each particular area. Of course, research can only be based on their previous performances and anything can happen during any match, but it’s a good place to start.

Give The Underdog A Shot

As history shows, darts really is prone to big upsets. Take the most recent PDC World Darts Championship, where Rob Cross came from nowhere to snatch the World Championship from veteran Phil Taylor. Special things can happen in darts. This is a sport where pressure and nerves can alarm even the most talented of players, and Rob Cross’ nerves of steel saw him beat the likes of Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor to lift the coveted trophy. Although the favourites are favoured for a reason, it might be worth a try. We are not telling you to always back the underdogs, but it is there is a player you suspect has the ability to defy the bookies, it might be worth a try.

Shop Around

As we have already noted, odds and markets really do vary from one bookmaker to another. As a result, shopping around to compare the odds is key to maximising your potential winnings. Some bookmakers also have markets available a lot earlier than others; BetVictor, for example, are known for this. So if you spot an underdog early, get to BetVictor for the earliest odds. The amount of available markets also varies, as certain bookmakers are more committed to the sport than others. It’s also worth remembering that bookies tend to target specific competitions as well, with the Premier League and the World Darts Championships particularly popular due to their high viewing figures. Remember that bookies are rarely consistent and shop around before every bet to maximise the odds you are able to enjoy.

Understand The Format

In order to know how to bet on darts, it is also crucial to understand the format of the sport and competition that you intend on betting on. Take the time to ensure you understand the rules, such as how many legs and sets there are in this tournament’s structure, competition history, and so on. This kind of diligence could really save you from making any rookie mistakes. It is also useful to avoid correct score bets, to begin with, as it is hugely unpredictable, and is largely based on luck. But, whatever you decide to bet on, be sure that you understand the format of that specific tournament before you place your money. Pundits at the beginning of the programme will also usually discuss the match odds and what they think about them. This can be a useful starting point for new darts bettors; the pundits are often former champions themselves and know the game inside-out.

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