From the lively atmosphere of top darts matches today back to the classic drinking sketch from Not The Nine O’Clock News, darts has always had a fun and friendly feeling that some other sports can lack. Mix that with the thrill of betting, and things can get even better. Indeed, the popularity of darts with gamblers has seen betting firms pour sponsorship cash into the sport, helping to fuel its rapid rise in popularity over recent years.
I’ll be the first to admit this doesn’t happen often, but sometimes breaking news can give you great opportunities. Look at tournament betting. At the time of writing, Michael van Gerwen is a very short favourite (1.72, less than evens, with Ladbrokes) to win the World Grand Prix. The next players are all 10 (that’s 9/1 in old money). If you hear on Twitter or the radio that the favourite’s pulled out due to injury, you’ll have perhaps 5-15 minutes before the bookies manage to update the market and you’ll be able to back those just behind him at great odds. It’s a very nice feeling when that happens, but, as I said, pretty rare. So keep your ear to the ground (this can also be worthwhile for markets you don’t normally touch, whether a political leadership contest or when a pole-sitter in F1 gets disqualified).
All sports have a live or in-play betting option. This means betting during the game itself. But you’ve got to be quick because the odds change rapidly. If one player’s ahead but looks to be fading, nipping to the online bookie to back the guy who’s lagging behind (for now) can be a quick way to turn a profit and certainly to get your heart thumping. One thing I’d add, as someone who’s done this in the past, is to avoid chasing a loss. If you back something and the odds lengthen even more, just leave it. If the first bet comes good you’re ahead, if it doesn’t (and you’ve thrown more money down) you’ll feel like a mug.
A large part of the excitement of betting comes from the risk involved and the potential for loss and gain. If you’re keen on the gain bit but less fond of losing, then US players can bet on darts with no deposit, providing the opportunity to finish ahead without risking so much as a cent. Many of these bonuses also include match bonuses which means the casino sites will match your initial deposit up to a percentage. This is an awesome way to play for longer and increase your chances of winning.
There’s more than one bookie out there, and betting exchanges too. The latter have prices that move more rapidly, the odds tend to be a little longer, and you can (if there’s enough interest in a market) bet against specific outcomes as well as for them. Generally speaking odds will be pretty similar but there will be times when odds can be significantly better at one bookie than another, and even seemingly small margins can add up. To use the decimal system, the difference between 2.5 and 3 might look small. But if you have three bets, all at those odds, and one comes off that means you’re evens with the odds of 3, but down half a stake with odds of 2.5. If you can bet on the same outcome but at better odds, why not?
Established names tend to have big followings, and short odds. This can mean that relative unknowns and newcomers can offer good value, perhaps especially if they come from countries not typically associated with top flight players. For example, the USA has countless darts players but doesn’t have a great record of producing professionals. Keep an eye on such things, and when someone makes the break to the big time you might be able to get tasty odds before everyone else realises how good the new boy is.
Bookies are often willing to put up a particular market not already covered by their site, if you just ask them. After all, the more betting happens (all else being equal) the more money they make. If you spot a seemingly unlikely outcome but it isn’t available currently, give your bookie a bell and they might be able to help you out.
Ok, technically this doesn’t make things more exciting, but it is good advice for betting. If you’ve got a favourite player don’t bet based on your emotional allegiance. This sounds crackers, but I’ve spoken with football fans who deliberately bet against their own team.
Given how tribal football fans can be, why would they do this? Through a misguided perspective on betting. The thinking is that either their bet wins, and they’re happy, or their team wins, and they’re happy. This is utterly daft. If you have a favourite darts player, don’t back them or bet against them based on that. The purpose of sports betting is to try to finish ahead, not to soothe heartache.
To take the example above, said football fan is guaranteeing that either their team loses, or their bet loses. If you can’t bet without being led astray by sentiment, I’d advise not betting on that particular game. There’s plenty more to gamble on. And this brings me on to the next point.
Gamblers often back players from the same country as themselves. This happens in various sports, and it matters because the odds bookies offer are a combination of the likelihood (in the bookies’ views) of a thing happening, and the weight of money pressing on the odds. If something’s evens and millions get put on it, those odds shorten dramatically and rapidly. But, like a see-saw, if there’s a two man game (like darts) and one guy’s odds have shortened a lot because he’s got a lot of supporters, by definition the odds on the other player lengthen (probably not by quite as much, given bookies want to make a profit, but still to a noticeable extent). Because of this, players from countries with fewer darts fans or players who have less of a popular following can be better value.
The top countries as far as darts fans go are pretty much Great Britain and Benelux (England, Wales, Scotland, Belgium, and the Netherlands). Could be worth bearing in mind.