Darts, a pub pursuit for centuries, is a fiercely competitive and entertaining sport – and increasingly popular with sports betting enthusiasts. Read our guide to understand the origin of darts and be able to bet on it with confidence.
What’s the origin of darts?
Darts, a staple pastime in British pubs for longer than anyone can remember, and centuries before, was probably invented by archers during the reign of King Henry VIII.
The theory goes that in an effort to distract themselves from energy-sapping longbow training they simply started hurling their arrows at targets.
Darts rapidly evolved into a game of skill, and although the evidence is scant, darts betting can almost certainly be traced back to Tudor times, given how fond Henry’s courtiers were of gambling on pretty much everything. Hefty wagers were frequently placed on jousting, cards, tennis and croquet, for example.
The game continued to develop as a drinking man’s distraction until the dartboard numbering layout of today was invented in 1896 by a man called Brian Gamlin. His design penalised inaccuracy by putting the lowest-scoring segments adjacent to the high-scoring ones.
How did darts get to where it is today?
The National Darts Association was founded in 1924, introducing standard rules and regulations, and soon a highly successful annual championship with prizes sponsored by the News of the World was established.
There was royal approval too. The Queen Mother played a game of darts in a social centre in Buckinghamshire in 1937. This proved gold dust from a marketing perspective: a year later more than a quarter of a million people entered the NDA championship.
The next burst of popularity coincided with the explosion in growth of televised sport at large. Given that only two cameras were required to capture all the action close-up, darts had an inherent advantage similar to snooker.
With a multitude of sponsors and television companies on board, the late 1970s and 1980s saw the first wave of darts celebrities: players such as John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Bobby George and Keith Deller.
In more recent times, we have seen the extraordinary domination of Phil Taylor, the prowess of Michael van Gerwen and the emergence of Fallon Sherrick, all whipping excitable crowds into a frenzy. The appeal of darts shows no sign of slowing down.
How does darts betting work?
At BetConnect, Bet Requests can be on any of three match markets: match result, game handicap, total 180s. For first-round matches of the major tournaments these are often drawn up a couple of days in advance depending on bookmaker price availability.
As soon as the make-up of any second-round matches is known, traders then quickly move to price these up so you won’t necessarily have to wait until the day of the match to start betting.
What bets can I place on the darts?
- Match Result
These are the most popular markets at BetConnect. Ensure you get your bets on before the first darts are thrown because there are no in-running markets available.
While most of these are win-only markets, the Premier League is an exception, In this event, players compete over 12 legs and if the score ends 6-6 it’s a draw.
Most other tournaments are played over a stipulated number of legs, though the PDC World Championship features sets. A player needs to win three legs before capturing a set.
- Game Handicap
As in a number of other sports, darts sets up well for handicap markets. Whether a match is decided with a total number of legs or sets, the winner of a handicap market does not necessarily have to win the match.
For example, let’s say Peter Wright is given a 1.5-sets handicap (written as +1.5 sets on the Bet Request dropdown) against Michael van Gerwen. The match is played out and Wright loses 6-5. But we add 1.5 sets to his score he becomes the “winner” of the game handicap market.
So why are handicap markets usually 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 etc? The half point eliminates the draw and darts bettors prefer this.
- Total 180s
We all love a maximum. Even if it’s just to hear the announcer pause for effect and bellow: ‘One Hundred and EIGH-TY!!’ But how many do you think there will be in a game?
First of all, it helps to set parameters in your mind as to how many legs are likely to be played. Then look at the player’s recent individual statistics and try to establish an expectation in your mind over the total number of 180s.
If your estimate differs substantially from the Total 180s ‘line’ put up by the bookies, then go ahead and back it.
For example, if you reckon a match should feature around 10-12 maximums by your personal analysis but the line is at 5.5 then bet on the ‘overs’. But if your estimate is more 6-8 then wait for another opportunity.
Darts betting explained: Now try it out
As with most sports betting, planning is essential. In order to be successful, you’ll need to adopt a cold, calculating approach and not be guided by emotion.
There are one or two pro gamblers who specialise in darts betting by using their own models to unlock profitable angles. Unlike with football and horse racing, little of this information has been widely shared online.
With that said, the two sections in this article called ‘Winning strategies in darts’ and ‘How to find the best value bets’ could give you some insight. Whatever you decide on, start off with low stakes and see how you go.
Interested? Why not sign up for a BetConnect account now and bet on the darts!