The betting markets on Darts are far more simple than the average Joe might think. After all, the nature of the game makes it so that it’s a very straightforward bet. There are only two opponents, which narrows down the odds, and there are almost no external environmental factors, such as bad weather, recent managerial or club problems that you might find in football. There are also usually know injury based problems, so at the end of the day, the only real concern is the psychology and form of opponents when they stand up and get ready to throw down. It’s also a market that hasn’t reached any kind of maturity, and is still rapidly gaining in global popularity in terms of betting. This combined with the purity of the sport and almost singular factors to consider make it a good place to watch close and become an authority.
There are a tonne of competitions to get behind each year, around the globe from the PDC world champions, to the UK opens, to lower level competitions. However in terms of markets themselves, outright victory on certain favourites, for example Phil Taylor, can be void of value due to the supremacy of the individual. With that said, this has changed as the game has proliferated in recent years, so now there is more value in doing research on underrated up and comers against seeded competition, whose own form in smaller events might show them as more likely to upset than formally given. There are however, various other markets. Some common ones are ‘outright winner’ of a tournament, as well as ‘finalist’, ‘semi-finalist’, and some bookies offer ‘each way’ on these bets too. In addition to this you can usually bet on ‘number of legs’ per match and ‘most 180’s’, as well as some unusual prop bets.
Form and psychology is everything
Darts is interesting because when it comes down to it, it’s just two opponents and the only real factor is their mental performance on the day. Important factors to consider are the ability to concentrate, to have stamina throughout a long game and also to keep the pressure on your opponent. Phil Taylor has said that he primarily focuses on trying to push the action when an opponent makes a mistake so that there is more mental pressure on them to make further mistakes and fall on out; in this respect then darts is largely a game of mental pressure, so if you can identify any reasons that a given player will be mentally ‘out of loop’ on the day, it can be worth taking into consideration. One such example is when a newer opponent who hasn’t reached finals in a major organization before is pitted against someone like Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor. This alone can be enough to drastically reduce the overall performance of a given player. Recent form can also help as a determinant here, as in most sports, underdogs coming off of a streak of wins are liable to be feeling more confidence than favourites battling running losses.
Use handicaps and Short games for value
Fortunately darts comes in longer games and shorter games, and shorter formats can give rise to bigger upsets. For this reason, if you want to staple against a favourite, or even someone like Phil Taylor, god forbid, the short format is the place to do it. Like many sports betting markets, many bookies in darts offer handicaps on certain odds that can make favourites more lucrative and underdogs less of a throw away.
Hidden Value in ‘most 180’s
There is a negative correlation between a candidate going for the most 180’s and that candidate winning. It’s commonly understood in darts competition itself, though not necessarily in the 180 markets, that the best strategy for winning matches isn’t always to go for the absolute highest score each turn. Because of this it can be lucrative to back against the favourite for ‘most 180’s in a given match, and capitalize on mismatch of strategy.
The world of darts is an unusual market for betting at first site, but in many ways it serves as an example of a sport where so many variable can be condensed down that developing a keen interest and specialization in recognising player form, mental fortitude, concentration and nerve; as well as the factors that can influence this leading up to, as well as during a competition, can be the only edge that the prudent bettor needs in order to make good on his betting. Gamble responsibly and