This Thursday sees the start of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace and given the ever increasing amount of interest in the sport we have a special 5 step guide to betting on Darts to share with you today.
It has been penned exclusively for the Smart Betting Club by Rich of the OnTheOche Darts tipping service, which has been monitored, proofed and reviewed by ourselves for several years now.
Rich has 5 very straightforward and logical tips for those of you interested in having a punt on the Darts, which could very well help you to find a few winners over the course of the next month’s feast of arrows action!
The annual Christmas feast of darts is almost upon us again! The biggest tournament of the year, the PDC World Championship, starts up on Thursday 17th December and runs through until the New Year. Straight after that event has finished the BDO World Championship starts up in early January for a couple of weeks (yes, darts has 2 World Championships – long story!).
Over the last 10 to 15 years, darts, and specifically the PDC “brand” of darts, has become hugely popular. They sell out huge arenas in a matter of hours, they have sponsors bidding huge amounts to be involved, and last year’s World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson produced Sky Sports highest non-football viewing figures of the year. Not a bad achievement in an Ashes and Ryder Cup year.
From a betting point of view this has meant darts has become a great niche for betting as the markets are large enough to have good liquidity and to be able to get a decent bet on, but not quite large enough for the bookies to have a full handle on things outside the top 30 or so players. This often leaves some good opportunities, especially in games featuring lesser known lower ranked or overseas players where we can exploit our darts expert Rich’s in depth knowledge of the lesser known players.
1. Beware “dozers” that can cost you your handicap bet
As you would expect when you are attempting to accurately throw an object into a very small target, concentration is a big part of darts. To have maximum accuracy you need to have 100% concentration. It is harder than it sounds to keep your concentration at 100% for the whole game, especially in a long game that can last an hour plus.There are certain players who can “doze off” at points in their matches, especially when in a comfortable position in a match against an opponent they know they are better than. The more naturally talented players – the likes of Michael Van Gerwen (MVG), Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson etc. are usually the biggest culprits for this.
For example, let’s say Adrian Lewis is 9-3 up in a first to 16 legs match vs a player ranked 30 to 40 places lower than him. Realistically he knows he has won the game at 9-3 so his concentration wanes a little and thus his scoring drops. This lets his opponent get back 4 of the next 5 legs and we end up with a scoreline of 10-7. At that point with the game back to being somewhat close, Lewis will wake up again and sharpen up his focus and probably end up winning the match comfortably 16-10 / 16-11. Not a problem for Lewis, he has done his job and won the match, but if you have backed Lewis on a -6.5 leg handicap you will be less than thrilled!
The likes of MVG, Lewis and Anderson have done this their whole career and no doubt will continue to in the future! Far fewer top players cover the handicap than you would imagine – often for the above reason. There’s nothing wrong with backing favourites on the handicap overall, some players can keep their concentration for a whole game (Phil Taylor in his heyday was superb at it) but you have to know your players and the 3 named players in particular are ones to avoid in the handicap market.
2. There’s very few no-hopers nowadays
A few years back there were 20 to 30 high quality players and they would beat the rest virtually every time they played them. Nowadays there’s much, much more strength in depth in the PDC (not so much in the BDO) and even the players that the average person has never heard of are quality players that on their day can beat anyone outside of the elite top 5 or 6.
Unless you are 100% sure that a player isn’t of a high standard, it is very dangerous to assume a player is not a capable opponent nowadays. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen people on forums or social media (or even sometimes the pundits on TV!) dismiss a player as having no chance when I know they are decent players that are just yet to show it in a major event.
You may have seen a player on TV a couple of times before and they have been poor, but often that can be explained away by being nervous in their first couple of times on the big stage. In my opinion, the default position nowadays should be if a player has managed to qualify for a major PDC event then he must have something about him as he will have beaten at the very least 2 or 3 decent players to qualify.
There are exceptions to that rule and every now and again the odd no-hoper will manage to find their way in by a quirk of the qualifying system but I’m afraid I have to keep those for OnTheOche members only! 😉
Overall though, be very careful. Outside of backing Taylor and MVG at 1.01, darts isn’t a sport where there are many “safe” short price bets anymore. If you have no real in-depth knowledge of the opponent stay clear. Chances are the guy you think is a no-hoper probably isn’t.
3. Speed matters
The speed a player throws at and the speed his opponent throws at should always be considered before having a bet on darts.
Rhythm is an important thing to most darts players. You will often notice when 2 fast players meet it is often a high quality game as the rhythm of the game suits both players. If the same fast player next round plays a very slow player the quality of his game will often drop as the slow play can really disrupt their game and sometimes throw them off all together.
It can also work the other way where a slow player will often feel almost pressured to subconsciously speed up when playing a fast player and that throws them off their natural game.
You have to know your players and how they react when in these situations. Some players don’t care either way and will just play their natural game no matter what. For others it can make or break their game (and your bet!)
4. Unders over Overs
It is well known that in football markets more money is backed on things to happen (going overs on goals, cards, corners etc.) than things to not happen (going unders for example). This is a huge, huge generalisation but the darts markets are similar and there’s more money backed on overs markets (180’s, highest checkouts etc.) than unders.
At OnTheOche we usually focus more on the match winner markets for their higher liquidity, but if you are betting in over/under markets a decent place to start would be focusing on backing under 180s in matches between well-known high scorers.
It is hard for the general betting public to envisage a match between 2 big 180 hitters – say Michael Van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis – not having loads of 180’s. You are virtually guaranteed to get a tiny bit of value in the unders just because the line will be set artificially a little higher than it should be to take into account the likely weight of money.
5. Avoid players under big pressure
Unlike some sports, adrenaline/nerves/being “up for it” etc. are not helpful emotions for a darts player. Players need to keep as calm as possible in order for their throw to remain steady. A good betting tactic is to try and identify games and/or occasions where a player will be under more pressure and/or be more nervous than usual.
Money can often be the primary reason why a player can be over emotional. While the top 5 or 6 players in the PDC are earning between 500k and £1m+ per year comfortably, and the rest of the top 20 are earning low six figures, life isn’t so comfortable for the players lower down the rankings.
Most of the players outside the top 40 are playing to put food on the table each week. I know of at least 3 players who haven’t had the best of times in the past couple of years, and for whom this upcoming World Championship is their “last chance saloon” to earn some decent money. Fail to do so and they are probably looking at having to give up darts as a full time profession and going back to the real world. These are guys who have been pro’s for 10+ years grinding out a living on the pro tour and have no idea what they are going to do away from darts to put food on their families table. As you can imagine it is a very stressful time for them. The pressure that puts on their game is obviously huge. Trying to keep a steady hand, stop your heart racing and keep composed when throwing a dart at a double that can decide you, and your families, future is very, very difficult.
An easier to spot example would be a player who doesn’t have much experience of playing on the big stage. It can’t be overstated how nerve-wracking it can be. The week-to-week pro tour is played behind closed doors with no crowd or cameras. So it can be a huge shock to the system to a player suddenly going from that to playing in front of thousands of noisy fans and having 20 TV cameras in your face for the first time. The vast majority of players take time to adapt, even the very top players. When Peter Wright first joined the PDC he was superb on the tour but crumbled every time he got to the big stage for at least 2 years. Gradually he got used to it and now he revels in the attention. Gary Anderson was the best player in the BDO by a mile a few years back but lost in the 1st round every year in their World Championships because he wasn’t used to playing under that pressure. Once he started doing it all the time when he moved to the PDC he gradually became used to it. It is a big ask to expect new players to just start playing well straightaway on the big stage.
From a betting point of view, it is important to know as much as possible a players’ individual circumstances. While every player is under some sort of pressure in a big event like the World Champs that has big prize money, some are under huge pressure and I’m not sure I’d want to be backing someone who is playing under the strain of this 1 match deciding his future livelihood.
Rich – On The Oche
So there you have it – 5 simple tips to make the most of your darts betting over the course of the next month or so and both the PDC and BDO World Championships.
This article was penned by Rich from the OnTheOche darts tipping service. Since launch 9 years ago, they have returned a 186pts live profit, including a 26.67pts profit (12.2% ROI) over the past 18 months and currently a 14.16pts profit (11.6% ROI) so far in 2015.
If interested in the OnTheOche service you can enjoy a £5 discount as an SBC member for their advice in both the PDC and BDO world championships.