It’s a sport that is often ridiculed for its lack of sporting physiques, but darts places many of the same demands on its ‘athletes' as other more physical sports. Indeed, stamina is even one of them; longevity of concentration is paramount in this game, as is technique, consistency, and above all, mental strength.
Since its split from the British Darts Organisation (BDO), the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has taken darts to a whole new level in terms of both money and popularity, while also adding an extra dimension to take into account for your darts betting strategy. Now, instead of there just being BDO World Darts Championship tournaments dotted throughout the year, the advent of the PDC's Premier League means there’s a set of fixtures each week between February and May, allowing for form and consistency to come into play when betting on darts matches.
For many bookmakers and punters alike, darts is one of the purest sports around. While this may seem strange to some at first, consider the following;
The simplicity created through the combination of these four factors means that darts betting is about as streamlined as sports betting can get. Add to them the fact that, at the top of the sport, there are a very select few group of players who regularly compete against each other and you have an opportunity like no other to come to understand the markets offered by most bookmakers like Bet365 and 888.
However, there is a reason why darts betting is so popular and continues to intrigue even the most seasoned followers of the sport – and it rests in one of the fundamentals of the game. Because each player has himself – and only himself – to rely on, the psychological impact of the sport becomes the sole variable that impinges most heavily on outcomes. This is the crucial point about darts betting odds; they are as dependant on the varying psychological mindsets of different players at different times as they are on recent form and perceived skill set. In other words, know the players and you will come to understand – and hopefully beat – the darts betting odds. For example, Phil Taylor seems to have a psychological edge over rival Raymond van Barneveld, who, despite claiming he wasn’t scared of the 16-time World Champion before their match at the 2013 World Championship, capitulated early on before losing comfortably. One-on-one sports are invariably battles of mind as well as body, but in darts, where the physical battle is less, the psychological battle becomes more important. This means it’s well worth looking out for these types of head-to-head records when betting on darts in outright match markets.
With the sport’s popularity exploding so dramatically over the last decade or so, there are now countless tournaments throughout the year, including both World Championships (around the turn of the year), the Premier League, the UK Open (in June), and the Grand Slam of Darts (November), with bookmakers offering loads of betting markets to choose from for each.
While predicting match results can either be too tricky or not rewarding enough with strong favourites, a market like ‘Most 180s' (in a tournament) is a good one to try to call, as it can be profitable if you know who the big scorers are. Dutch sensation Michael van Gerwen is a maximum-machine when in form, and even though he will normally be favourite to record the most maximums, his odds are still generous enough to make a decent return on.
You can also look out for ‘Total Match 180s', where you’re given an over/under marker - this market is again about picking the sport’s big scorers, (or low scorers, depending on how you play it) for some potentially rewarding prices. Meanwhile, with many bookmakers pricing up a 'Highest One-Match Average' market throughout the course of a tournament, you can earn some pretty good returns if you do a little research on consistently high-scoring players - it may be hard to look beyond Phil Taylor here though, with 'The Power' responsible for eight out of the ten highest one-match averages in the PDC World Championship.
With so many darts events and matches to bet on, there's plenty of opportunity to make some money if you know what to look out for. Paddy Power offers a wide selection of the markets covered above, while exchanges like Betfair can offer even more competitive odds for betting on your favourite darts competitions.