Darts: betting on a pub game

Mateo Brekalo
Mateo Brekalo
Published: 8.1.2024.

Globally, darts is still somewhat considered a pub game, where a couple of players attempt to reduce their score from 501 or 301 to 0 in one leg. The game can be played in legs, with the player who wins the most legs emerging as the overall winner, or at a higher level, in sets. The set winner is determined in a best-of-5 legs format, meaning the player who wins 3 legs will secure the set.

With the surge in online sports betting, darts has recently become an integral part of sports betting offerings, evolving into a professional sport primarily due to sponsorship from betting companies. These companies have not only sponsored events but have also lent their names to prestigious tournaments, such as the PDC World Darts Championship. In the current edition, it is recognized as the 2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship. In the past, two other big betting companies, William Hill and Ladbrokes sponsored the event for almost two decades.

30 Years of PDC World Darts Championship

The inaugural edition was won by Dennis Priestley, who defeated the formidable Phil Taylor, the most dominant player at the time. Priestley secured a prize money of ?16,000 for his victory. Subsequently, Taylor went on to win an astounding 14 world titles, establishing himself as the most successful player ever in the history of the game.

In the 2003 edition, Ladbrokes assumed sponsorship from a Scottish brewery, recognizing the growing potential of darts as an intriguing market. Since 2003, the prize money has surged from ?200,000 to ?2.5 million British pounds. With the increasing popularity of TV broadcasts and the betting potential, there is no doubt that it will soon become even more substantial. With new superstars like this year's 16-year-old finalist, Luke Littler, we might be ushering in a new era where the younger audience also discovers their dart hero.

Betting on darts

Darts is gaining popularity, and its players, often referred to as athletes, if one considers it a sport, do not conform to the traditional image of athletes in other sports. However, watching their remarkable skill in throwing the dart is truly amazing. The fast-paced sport is gaining popularity among bettors because they don't have to wait long for their bets to be settled. With legs typically played within a 5-minute timeframe, the quick pace adds an extra boost to the betting experience. While there are currently no published statistics regarding the revenue share of darts compared to other sports, it is evident that the sport is experiencing rapid growth, driven by increased marketing and direct sponsorship from major betting companies.

Betting options

As the sport itself continues to gain popularity, the offerings from bookmakers for dart events and fixtures are expanding year after year. Just a decade ago, it was challenging to find more than a couple of markets to bet on in darts. Betting options were primarily limited to Moneyline, Set and Leg winner, with occasional additions. If we look at this year's World Championship finals, we can observe hundreds of pre-match markets being offered.



One of the most common markets is the Outright market, also known as "Who will win the event?" Bookmakers will calculate probabilities for each player based on past events, form, stake distribution, and other factors, then offer odds for each to win the event. A tip from us is to look for value in players with lower ranks but with easier paths to the finals. Sometimes, the reigning champion may have several high-ranked players on his side of the draw, making it more challenging for him to reach the finals. On the other hand, a lower-ranked underdog in excellent form might have a more straightforward path. As each subsequent round progresses, the odds for the underdog may drop, providing cashout opportunities.


The Moneyline, or "Who will win," involves predicting the winner of the match. The highest volume of matched bets typically occurs on the Moneyline. You can place a bet on either player without the possibility of a draw. The Moneyline outcome is determined by sets or legs, depending on the competition format.

Set and Leg betting

In-play, the focus will mostly shift to set or leg betting, as it is more dynamic and your bets will be settled in a matter of minutes. Fast-paced markets are very popular with bettors due to the short settlement time and the ability to place bets more frequently. In the present era of TV broadcasts, these bets become even more appealing to place wagers on. Be aware of the tournament format as some tournaments will be played in sets and some in leg format.

Other markets

As mentioned, nowadays you will find hundreds of markets offered. The more widely darts is followed, the greater the demand for new markets. Some popular markets include "How many 180’s will be scored in the match," "Who will have more 180’s?," and various total and handicap combinations.


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