From its origins in British pubs to a modern-day professional sport played before an international audience of millions, today darts is one of the most popular sports in the world.
Darts has two professional bodies that govern over its two professional tours: The British Darts Organisation (BDO) and The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). By far the biggest and wealthiest of these two bodies is the PDC which is where any darter you have ever heard of is likely to play. Read on for the top darts betting sites!
Table of Contents
- Best Betting Sites we Recommend for Darts Betting
- The Top 10 Darts Betting Sites
- Best Darts Betting Sites UK – Ranked and Reviewed
- Darts Betting Tips and Strategies
- Most Popular Darts Betting Markets
- Major Professional Darts Tournaments
- How is Darts Played?
- History of Darts
- Darts FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
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The Top 10 Darts Betting Sites
#01 William Hill
#07 Paddy Power
Best Darts Betting Sites UK – Ranked and Reviewed
#1 William Hill
William Hill put their name on the biggest event in darts – the mighty World Championships – which starts in mid-December and culminates in a final on New Year’s Day. It has become essential festive viewing for many Brits. As you might expect, the darts offering is fantastic at William Hill. Not only do they run promos surrounding their marquee event, but in-play betting and live streaming are also a speciality.
Betfred are another key PDC partner and sponsor many major events. So in love with a game of arrows are Betfred that they are one of the few betting sites that host virtual darts which features real players and has to be seen to be believed. As for their actual darts coverage, Betfred offer a ton of specials and bonuses suitable for the Bonus King.
Darts bettors looking to take a punt on Ladbrokes will not be leaving disappointed. The coverage here is comprehensive, to say the least. With a host of darts specials and live in-play betting options, this is one bookmaker that has you covered when it comes to betting on darts. Plus, Ladbrokes are well known to give out free bets on a regular basis, so they really are a great option for many punters.
Coral love the darts as much as their customers do – and it really shows. For starters, at the time of writing, punters at Coral can earn a free £5 in-play bet just for placing an initial three £5 in play bets on the darts, or any sport for that matter. Every tournament of the year is covered here and they each get the Coral treatment of extensive bonuses as well as boosted odds and accas.
BetVictor go all in with their darts betting offering, leaving nothing to chance. They are also another bookmaker to put their name to major events, in this case the World Cup of Darts. As well as having one of the best welcome bonuses around, BetVictor offer price boosts on what are already strong odds on the darts. As they themselves say, “if it’s darts’ betting you’re after, you’ve hit the bullseye with BetVictor”.
bet365 didn’t become the biggest online bookmaker by accident; they did so because their betting product is one of the very best online and the original. There is nothing you can’t bet on at bet365, and you can do it all pre-match or in-play. Bettors can also live stream thousands of events, including darts. The darts betting market at bet365 is as extensive as it gets, and applies to every tourney of the year.
#7 Paddy Power
Bettors will be pleased to learn that Paddy Power’s famous and much loved Acca Insurance applies to darts, meaning that if just one leg of their darts acca lets them down, they will get a free bet up to £10 a day in its place. As for the darts markets themselves, Paddy have everything you need to have extra fun and make a profit when betting on darts.
Premier League of Darts sponsors Unibet, who are one of the best darts betting sites online especially when it comes to live streaming, which they do better than many of their betting competitors. The markets offered on darts here are huge and all-inclusive and their app is easy to use, especially if you’re in a hurry and need to get your in-play bet on in a hurry.
Betfair’s sportsbook is one of the strongest online, and happily that excellence extends to darts. Here, bettors can enjoy the latest odds boosts, darts betting tips, live streaming and cash out options. Betfair also make a point of covering every professional darts tournament – so there is always something bet on.
Irish bookmaker BoyleSports sponsor two of darts major events: the World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam. They cover every major event of the season, for the PDC at least, and each one is given the attention it deserves. At BoyleSports, bettors are able to bet in-play on darts and get the very best in online odds.
Darts Betting Tips and Strategies
In truth, other than form and in particular head-to-head history, there aren’t too many variables in darts to concern ourselves with when researching our darts bets. Form is obviously important, and over the years we have seen plenty of very good players struggle when going through a dip in confidence. But such is the nature of darts – out of nowhere, a sudden win or victory against a big name can bring their form back.
The thing with darts is that the same few pros meet up pretty much each week and play each other regularly, so form is our only indicator of how things might go. But as is the way with sport, there are no guarantees. In darts, anyone can win on their day.
The crowd can have a say too. If they take a dislike to someone, darts fans are not shy to show it. Some players don’t like the crowd on their back, others revel in it. Local crowds are also known to back their own too, so if your bet in any way involves a Welshman in Cardiff or a Scotsman in Aberdeen, for example, bear in mind the hostility of the otherwise good-natured crowd may show to the opponent, which could put them off their game.
Most Popular Darts Betting Markets
There are many ways to bet on darts; some tournament-based, and others centred on the finer details of a darts match. Below, we have highlighted a small selection of simple darts bets by way of a taster for those of you who are new to darts betting.
Outright Tournament Winner Bet
Outright tournament bets are the ones in which the bettor predicts which player will win any given tournament.
Match Win Bet
Match win bets are concerned with which player will win a match of darts, which, unless it’s the Darts World Cup, is between two players.
Set Win Bet
As we now know, darts matches are broken down into legs which win sets. Bettors can wager on who will win the next set, how many sets in total, above/under a certain amount of sets and so on.
The famous nine-darter is the highest possible checkout from 501, the starting figure of darts. Think of it as the equivalent of a 147 break in snooker.
This is an easy bet where you are backing a player to score the most 180’s (the highest possible score in one turn) in a nominated game, leg or set.
Handicap betting in darts, and indeed all sports, works by applying falsified additional points, either plus or minor, to players; this is done in order to level the playing field between two competitors. The bigger the skill difference between players, the bigger the handicap applied by the bookmakers, and punters must see their pick win by the combined range of their actual score plus the handicap figure to form a winning bet.
Major Professional Darts Tournaments
Darts is played all year round with only a few breaks during the year. As such, there is a professional darts tournament almost every week of the year. Below are some of the most popular events taking place in the yearly darts calendar.
World Darts Championships
The World Darts Championships has become a Christmas institution over the past quarter of a century or so. Beginning in the middle of December and culminating in the final on New Year’s Day, this is by far the biggest event in Darts. Since 2008, the World Championships have been held in North London at the Alexandra Palace, known lovingly in Darts’ circles as the Ally Pally.
World Darts Matchplay
Darts’ “other event”, the World Darts Matchplay takes place in July each year and is held at the Empress Ballrooms at Blackpool’s famous Winter Gardens. This event features a field of 32 and is much loved by the players because the fans are so close to the action. This proximity between spectator and performer creates one of the most unique atmospheres in UK sport.
Darts Premier League
The Darts Premier League first began in 2005 and works by pitting the top nine players in PDC Darts against each other, one match per week, each Thursday between February and the second May bank holiday. Each week players collect points which are used to create a table from which some will be relegated, and others make it to the playoffs in London’s docklands. In the early rounds, the nine regulars are joined by a local hero each week to make up the numbers.
Grand Slam of Darts
The Grand Slam of Darts is the first major event of the PDC season and features the top 16 darts players according to the PDC Order of Merit. The event has been held at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall since it began in 2007 and takes place annually in November.
World Grand Prix
Held each October at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland, the World Grand Prix is a PDC darts tournament in which players must begin each leg by throwing a double as well as – as is always the case – finishing each leg on a double.
UK Open Darts
Known as the FA Cup of darts, the UK Open usually takes place in early March, and is an unseeded, knock-out event where fixtures are determined by an open draw rather than a fixed route. 160 players, amateur and pro, compete over eight stages before the PDC's top 32 enter the tournament in the fourth round. As with its football equivalent, anyone can draw and beat anyone.
How is Darts Played?
Darts is played by two opposing players stepping up to the oche and taking it in turns to throw three darts each. The player’s aim is to score as high as possible in order to lower their starting total of 501. You will notice a lot of the pros aiming their darts at the narrow middle red-coloured ring in the centre of the 20 section. This inner ring rewards triple the score of whichever section you land your dart. There is also an outer ring on the board which awards double. 20 is the highest scoring section on the board, and a triple 20 is worth 60 points. Three darts each landing in the triple 20 make 180, the highest possible three dart score.
Either side of the 20 are the 1 and the 5, which are obviously low-scoring and a potential hazard when shooting for the 20. When players get within a finish or a “checkout”, they must finish on a double. So, if a player has left 38 on the board, on their next go they can win by hitting a double 19. If they hit higher, they will bust, and their turn is over – and if they hit lower, they must work out another route to checkout. The maximum checkout from 501 can be done in 9 darts and is known as a nine-darter. The maximum possible checkout of 170 is known as a Big Fish.
Scoring in Darts
As above, points are awarded according to the value of each section. The outer ring doubles this value and the inner ring trebles it. There is also the bull’s eye in the centre which is worth 50 and the ring that surrounds the bull’s eye, the semi, which is worth 25.
History of Darts
Darts has developed over time, beginning in British pubs, and was originally used in friendly matches between rival inns and their patrons. In 1908, in a court in Leeds, Yorkshire, darts was ruled legal (previous money wagering had threatened this status) and consequently, in the early half of the 20th century, brewery leagues began shooting up. This led to an interest developing in the wider public and by the 1930’s, it had become a popular national recreation in England and parts of Wales.
The game was later banned in some areas through its relationship with pubs and general drunken behaviour. The National Darts Association was formed in 1925 to bring some control and discipline to the game, and governed thusly until the 1970s when it was replaced by the British Darts Organisation (BDO) which had been established in 1973.
The BDO, which is still alive today, saw its power diminished significantly when the World Darts Council formed in the early 90’s, before being rebranded as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). The PDC formed a breakaway movement and took all of the game’s biggest stars with them, moving onto satellite TV. From 1994, Sky Television covered the new organisation’s World Championship and World Matchplay events, and nowadays have almost all exclusive broadcast rights for PDC darts.
🤠 Is it easy to bet on darts?
Oh yes, very much so. Darts is a straightforward sport to understand, which also makes betting on it very easy to achieve.
💰 Which is bigger, the BDO or PDC?
The BDO predates the PDC,which broke away from the former in the early 90s and launched a repackaged version of darts that grew massively in popularity. Today, as the BDO clings to life, the PDC is by far the most popular, with big TV deals and large prize pools.
🤔 Do the BDO and PDC ever merge?
Yes, they do - the Grand Slam of Darts being the biggest example of this.
✋ What is a nine-darter?
A nine-darter, also known as a nine-dart finish, is the throwing of a perfect leg, which requires only nine darts, the fewest possible, to check out from 501.
🙋 What is a 'big fish'?
The big fish is the scoring of 170 to check out a leg.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
For many years, darts was purely a British pub game and its professional stars of the 70’s and 80’s, such as Jocky Wilson and dart’s first superstar Eric Bristow, revelled in the smoking, beer guzzling nature of the game, even on TV. The PDC breakaway that came in the 90's was a revolution for the game, and one that took the game to new corners of the globe.
Critically, what the PDC did right was to make sure that, while the game was re-professionalised and packaged for TV, it didn’t take itself too seriously and, consequently, the sport gathered a fun and sometimes silly following that has only benefited this excellent game still further. After all, darts is an exhilarating sport to watch and bet on because the odds often have great value and absolutely any darter can beat another. It is, in many ways, perfect.