You Bet: A Punter’s Guide to Darts Betting

AS with most sports in the modern-day, the opportunities to bet on darts have become numerous and easily accessible. Darts has a broad global appeal and bookmakers will offer many markets on matches across a wide range of tournaments and territories.

Most gambling is transacted online, and many prominent bookmakers offer live streaming services through their apps and websites to enable customers to watch live events (even when they are not televised) when betting on them.

What can I bet on within darts?

There are many markets within darts, but generally speaking, you can bet on ‘outright’ markets and ‘match’ markets.

Outright Markets

‘Outright’ refers to markets relating to a specific tournament or event. For example, the outright market for the 2021 PDC World Championship winner will be the odds of any particular player winning that event.

At the time of writing, Michael van Gerwen is the 7/4 favourite to win a fourth world title. Typically, bookmakers will offer you each-way terms on an outright winner market of half the odds if the player you have backed reaches the final. For example, if you were to back a player each-way to win a tournament at 40/1 and that player reaches the final but loses, you will be paid out at 20/1 on the place part of your bet.

The opportunity to bet on outright markets tend to exist a long time before an event begins. This is referred to as ‘antepost’ betting, which simply means betting in advance of an event commencing. For example, you can bet on the 2021 PDC World Championship now.

As well as the market for an event winner, punters typically can bet on several other outright markets:

Quarter/Half Winner – This market becomes available once the draw has been made for an event. Bookmakers will offer you the opportunity to bet on which player will emerge from a particular section of the draw. Most 180s – This market provides you with the opportunity to bet on which player will hit the most maximums throughout an entire event. Clearly, a key factor in betting in this market is the draw and having a view on how far a player will progress in the tournament.

Nine-dart finish – This market allows you to bet on whether there will be a nine-dart finish in a tournament, or not.

Straight Forecast/Finalists – Here, punters can predict who will win the event and who will finish runner-up, or simply who the two finalists will be. Typically, these markets only become available once the draw has been made.

Match Markets

The biggest wagers in darts betting tend to come on match markets. You can bet on a player to win a particular match or have a multiple bet where you bet on two or more players to win their matches. Generally, there are only two possible outcomes for a match, although in certain events (for example, the PDC Premier League) a draw is a third outcome. Other common match markets include:

Correct Score – This is as simple as it sounds; you can bet on what you think the correct score in a match will be. Most 180s – Here you can bet on which player will score the most 180s in the match. Keep an eye out for which of these markets includes the draw as an option.

Highest Checkout – Here you can bet on which player will score the highest checkout in the match. As above, you should note whether the draw is an option.

Handicaps – These markets provide an opportunity to back a player for a particular market under a handicap. They are especially popular where it is perceived a match will be one-sided. For example, in a match where the winner needs to reach 10 legs, a handicap market might offer a price on the player winning -2.5 legs, this means they must win 10-7 or better. Handicaps can also apply to ‘Most 180s’ and other markets.

Over/Under – These markets provide you with the option of taking a view on variables in a match by setting a number which you can choose to bet over or under. For example, you can bet on the total number of legs or sets, total 180s, highest checkout and match averages.

Other Markets – Bookmakers will generally offer a number of other markets such as where the first dart of the match will land, whether there will be a 180 in the first leg, whether there will be a nine-dart finish etc.

In-Play Betting The majority of bookmakers now offer customers the chance to bet on a match across almost all the markets mentioned above, as well as others, whilst it is in progress. Darts lends itself well to this style of betting as just one dart can result in huge market swings. This gives punters the opportunity to study a game whilst it is in progress and attempt to profit from any views they might form.

Most bookmakers also offer a ‘cashout’ facility which means you are made a financial offer to exit the bet you have made. The value of the offer depends on the perceived probability of your bet winning.

How to Win at Darts Betting

As with all gambling, the key to being successful at darts betting is having an edge over the market. With darts, putting in the time and effort to have a good handle on form and statistics is crucial for match betting. For example, a player might be disregarded in a match market because he has lost his last three matches, however, he might have played well in those matches and be in excellent form.

The PDC circuit, in particular, is so incredibly competitive that this is very possible. Similarly, a player might have made a change to his playing style, perhaps switching around the board more often than previously; this could lead to opportunities in the 180s markets.

From an antepost or outright perspective, one profitable approach might be to strongly consider players who have proved that they can play at an extremely high level but are out of form or finding their feet, and their price disregards their potential to return to form.

An excellent example of this is Michael van Gerwen. It seems unthinkable now, but the year he first reached the final of the PDC World Championship (2013) Van Gerwen was available at 200/1 nine months in advance of the tournament. He was such a huge price because he had made no impact in his early years in the PDC, yet he had already showcased an extraordinary level of play in his years in the BDO.


Please gamble responsibly.  

Original Article appeared in Darts World 570 ( July 2020)

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