How to Bet on Darts
What You Need to Know
- If you've never betted on the darts before, start slowly. Perhaps put a small bet on Phil Taylor in a major tournament to see how betting works
- All high street bookmakers will take bets on most darts matches, but you will find the widest range of betting markets if you go online
- By betting online you can also take advantage of some fantastic introductory offers.
- If you are serious about making money through betting on darts, you need to do your research. Use the PDC website to check players' form and the latest darts news
- You may want to stick to betting only on the biggest events. Players tend to save their best form for the majors, so there's less chance of any upsets. From 2015, the World Series of Darts Finals will see the biggest names of the sport battle it out to top the world rankings and claim a large cash prize
- If you're betting online, consider cashing out early. This way you can either cut your losses or walk away with a little profit and no extra stress
- Do remember that betting on sports can become addictive, so always bet responsibly and never gamble with money you can't afford to lose
Betting on Darts
Darts is no longer just a pub game. These days, it's a major professional sport, with a following of millions and a long list of leading professionals, some of whom have become household names. This means it's a great sport for having a punt on. However, before you put down any money, you need to know a little about the sport and how best to try and make money from it.
Where to Bet
The best way of betting on the darts is to open an online betting account. Online betting gives you the widest range of betting markets to choose from, plus you can usually place bets while a match is being played. Check out this guide to the Top 10 Sports Betting Sites and take advantage of some great introductory promotions to get off to a winning start today.
If you don't fancy betting online, then head to your local high street. Here you will easily be able to find a betting shop that will take wagers on the darts, especially if there's a major tournament on. Again, however, online bookies usually always offer more betting options than their high street rivals.
An Overview of the Biggest Darts Tournaments to Bet On
The darts calendar is filled with numerous tournaments, some more important than others. The major competitions in particular provide the chance to bet on a huge range of markets, so if you're serious about betting on darts, it's a good idea to know at least a little bit about the main events. These are the main tournaments you will be able to place a bet on:
- PDC World Championships: Taking place at the end of the year, this tournament enjoys excellent TV coverage, with almost all major bookmakers offering a huge range of bets on the action. In particular, Ladbrokes, which sponsors the event, offers a wide variety of betting markets, both before and during matches.
- The World Series of Darts: Organised by the PDC, this sees the world's top players battle it out to win a string of several huge tournaments. As well as events in Japan, Australia and Dubai, from 2015, this includes the World Series of Darts Finals, held in Glasgow. Unlike some other bog tournaments, World Series of Darts events feature relatively small fields and so are easy to follow, making them perfect for having a flutter on.
- BDO World Championships: Taking place just a few weeks after the rival PDC tournament, the BDO Worlds also offers excellent betting opportunities. All major bookies will offer bets on the event, including a wide range of in-play markets. As with the PDC, the top players tend to save their best form for the BDO Worlds, meaning upsets are rare and favourites usually come out on top.
- World Matchplay: The second biggest PDC tournament, the World Matchplay takes place in Blackpool and attracts most of the world's best players. Given its status, the best players bring their A-game to the tournament, so it's usually a good idea to put your money on favourites such as Phil Taylor.
- Premier League Darts: Played weekly from February to May, the Premier League offers some excellent betting opportunities. The regularity of the matches, as well as the frequent mis-matches, make it a good prospect for having a flutter
- UK Open: Known among sports fans as the 'FA Cup of Darts' due to the fact that the tournament is a straight knockout where un-seeded amateurs can take on world champions, this is a good event for betting on the underdog and potentially backing an outsider on long odds. Unsurprisingly, however, the cream almost always rises to the top and the usual names will be among the tournament favourites.
Working out the Odds
1) Fractional Odds
On UK-based sports betting sites, the default setting for displaying the odds of a darts match will be as fractions. Odds displayed this way show you how much you will win on a bet compared to how much you put on. The first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction.
So, if the odds for Player A beating Player B are 5/1, this means if you bet £1, you will receive £5 in winnings (and you will get your original stake back on top of this).
This works on a ratio basis. So, if you place £10 at odds of 5/1, you will receive £50 in winnings. Or, if you place £7 at odds of 4/1, your winnings will be £28, plus your initial stake.
Sometimes you will see that the second number of the fraction is larger than the first. This is an 'odds on' bet and signifies that the bookies believe that the chances of a particular prediction coming true are greater than 50/50. The principle remains the same, however: the first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction
For example, if you put £2 down on odds of 1/2, your winnings will be £1. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £60 at the same odds, you will win £30, plus your initial stake.
2) Decimal Odds
Given most people are used to seeing odds displayed as fractions, getting your head around decimal odds may seem daunting. But, don't worry! This system is equally straightforward once you've got the hang of it.
The way it works is that you just need to multiply your stake by the decimal shown and this is how much you will receive in winnings, including your returned stake.
So, if you put £1 down on odds of 3.00, you will win £3.00, including your initial stake, if your prediction comes true. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £15 at the same odds of 3.00, you will win £45, including your original stake.
A Further Note About Odds
You should always bet using the system you're most comfortable with. So, if you find fractional odds easier to understand, make sure you switch to these. Or, if you prefer betting using decimal odds, or even the American system, either ask your bookmaker for a conversion or just switch the formatting on the website you're using.
Different Types of Bet
Thanks to the increasing popularity of darts, most bookmakers will give you the chance to take a chance on a wide range of betting markets, especially during the major tournaments. Here are just some of the most popular types of bets placed on darts:
1) 'Match Winner'
Unlike some sports, there can be no draws in darts; a player can either win or lose. The simplest – and most popular – type of bet is a straightforward punt on who will win a match. For this, you simply need to put money on one player to win a match and hope your hunch is correct.
As an example, let's look at the odds offered by bet355 for Anderson against Lewis in the Premier League of Darts. As you can see from the screenshot below, Lewis is the odds-on favourite here: you would need to bet £11 to win £8 back. Alternatively, a bet on Anderson at evens would double your money if he won.
A Note About Match Winner Bets
Before you put money on a winner, be sure to check the bookmaker's rules on what happens is a match is abandoned. While a player retiring through injury is very rare, it can happen. In some cases, a bookie will void all bets on a match, though in other cases, they may insist that all bets stand until a replay can take place. Either way, be sure you know the rules of the bookmaker you intend to bet with before you part with any money.
2) Tournament Winner
Before the action even begins, you can bet on which player you think will win a tournament, as well as who will make it through to the final, semi-final. As with horseracing and some other sports, you may be given the option of placing an 'each-way' bet. This means you can bet on a player to win or to finish as a runner-up, though the odds are generally half what they would be for a bet on a specific finish.
So, let's look at some Tournament Winner odds. Here we have the odds offered by bet365 for the PDC World Championships, with Michael van Gerwen the favourite. You can also see that the bookmaker is offering the chance to place each-way bets on the outcome
3) 'Number of Legs'
As well as betting on an overall winner, bets on the number of legs a match will last are also very common. Before you put any money down, you should be sure to read up on the format of the specific tournament you are betting on. Above all, you need to know how long the matches last. It's also a good idea to read up on the form of the players involved. Do they tend to be involved in long, drawn-out matches, or do they usually win or lose by a large margin? It's also worth considering that, just as with tennis and snooker, the longer the game, the less chance there is of an upset. So, to enjoy the best chance of winning with long odds, look out for matches where it's best of nine legs.
As with most sports, you can either bet on there being a specific number of legs, or you can put money on there being over or under a set number of legs.
Here we can see the odds offered on there being more or less than 11.5 legs in the Anderson versus Lewis match. As you can see, the bookmaker thinks it's more likely that this will be a close contest and will see lots of legs played.
Number of legs is also a good bet to place in-play. This way you can see how the action is unfolding before you commit any money, improving your chances of winning. Plus, most bookmakers will allow you to combine this type of bet with another, lengthening the odds and potentially boosting your winnings. For example, you could bet on Anderson losing the first few legs but winning the match.
4) '180 Markets'
Bets on how many 180s one or both players will score in a single match are also popular, especially during big tournaments. Generally speaking, this type of bet is best viewed as the chance to make a game that little bit more interesting. That is, it's a fun flutter for the casual fan rather than a serious bet for the specialist sports gambler.
As with bets on the total number of legs, you will be given the choice to put money on whether there will be above or below a certain number of 180s. Alternatively, you could just put money on which player you think with achieve the most maximum scores.
5) Other Markets
If you're betting online and in-play, then you could be given any number of betting choices for a single match, especially during major tournaments. Indeed, if you can think of a scenario to bet on, chances are there will be a bookie happy to give you the odds on this happening. Just some of the more random bets offered during big matches can include:
- Colour of final double: Will a player check-out on a red or a green double?
- Highest checkout: Which player will finish a leg with the highest checkout?
- First three darts: Simply bet on the total score of the first three darts of a match
If you're betting in-play, then an online bookmaker will often given you the chance of 'cash out' on your bet. This simply means that they will make you an offer to cancel your bet and walk away with at least a little money.
This can be a good way of cutting your losses. For example, if you have placed £10 on Phil Taylor to win at evens but he loses the first six legs, then the bookmaker could offer you £4.00 to cash out. If you take this offer, then you at least get some of your initial stake back. However, you also risk losing out if Taylor comes back from behind and wins.
Alternatively, you may want to cash out when you're ahead. Using the same example, if Taylor was well ahead in a match, you could be offered £16 to cash out. This is less than the £20 you stand to win, but then you wouldn't have to worry about things going wrong. So, here you just need to decide whether to take the offer or hold your nerve and trust your original instinct.
Making a Good Decision
If you're serious about betting on darts, then you will need to do at least a little research. In sports betting, knowledge is power, so take the time to find out about different players' form, including how the fare at different tournaments, whether or not they tend to start off slowly, and whether they regularly hit 180s.
A good way of checking on a player's form in the run-up to a major tournament is to visit the online home of the PDC. Here you'll find recent results, the latest news from the professional circuit and other little bits of information that could help you come out on top against the bookies.
Similarly, Sky Sports is also good at keeping fans up-to-speed on the latest darts news, so check out its website before you place any bets.
Be aware that betting on sports can become addictive. A savvy gambler always approaches a bet expecting to lose, and so you should certainly never bet what you can't afford to lose. Also, if you go along to watch a tournament live, be wary of betting under the influence of alcohol as this can impair your judgement.
Important Information on Gambling
You must be 18+ to gamble and use the offers and betting odds featured
Every new gambling account offer has "Terms & Conditions" that will apply - make sure you read these before opening an account.
See www.gambleaware.org for help and advice on problem gambling.
Please gamble responsibly.
Following the Action
If you fancy having a bet or two on darts, chances are you'll like to watch the action as it unfolds!
The good news is that, thanks to the emergence of massive tournaments, as well as the recent launch of several new sports TV channels, it's never been easier to watch darts, whether that's live and in person or from the comfort of your own home.
For example, the World Series of Darts is broadcast live on ITV4, while, from 2016, Sky Sports will be showing all the action from the PDC World Darts Championships live on a special channel dedicated to the sport. Alternatively, a number of sports betting sites may also stream the action, giving customers the chance to watch the drama unfold live on their laptop, tablet or phone.
To find out more about professional darts, including some of its biggest tournaments, follow the PDC
Fancy a flutter on the snooker as well? Read this comprehensive guide to betting on snooker before you put any money down
Do you or someone you know have a problem with gambling? Get in touch with Gamblers Anonymous for free, confidential help.