Darts betting strategies and tips

Profile Picture: Josh Powell

February 25th, 2020

Darts is simple—one board, two men, three arrows—but it is a sport of psychological giants, nerves of steel, a boisterous crowd, an electric tension, and relentless accuracy.

Who comes out on top? These betting strategies might just help you figure it out.

Super scoring

It sounds obvious, but you must start by looking at the players involved and their scoring. Darts is an intriguing battle of mentality, rather than physical fitness or strength. Being an athlete doesn’t help anywhere near as much as having supreme bottle. That comes into focus when your opponent is consistently banging in high scores.

If one player is struggling to keep up with their opponent on each throw, the next three darts become even more important, and the nerves rack up. And don’t just look for the appealing 180 tally—it’s the player who is consistently hitting 100+ rather than the player who hits a 180 in between a few 60s or 85s that will have the edge.

There’s no point backing a heavy scorer if they can’t finish the job. As the legendary Bobby George says, "Scoring for show, doubles for dough."

Who has double trouble?

There’s no point pinging 180 after 180 if you can’t hit the outer ring to finish off an opponent. Efficiency on the doubles are what separate champions from contenders and winning punts from busted favorites.

A check-out rate of close to 50% or more is where you want to be—meaning if the player you have backed gets down to a two-dart finish (41 to 100) and has two darts at a checkout, they are likely to get the job done. Games are won and lost at this point of the leg, and missing a couple darts at a finish and letting your opponent in is only going to end in tears.  

Form on the floor versus big-stage pressure

As in any sporting clash, form is important, but it’s worth considering all the arrows that are thrown away from the bright lights of TV cameras. While the glitz and the glamor of the Premier League every Thursday night captures the imagination, as a punter it’s worth considering what form the players have been in on the floor tournaments each weekend.

No TV cameras. No crowd. No big prizemoney. But a key indication of who is playing well.

There’s nothing quite like backing a player who is confident on the floor, but only if you know they aren't going to bottle it when the TV cameras are on and 10,000 people drunkenly sing "Sweet Caroline" as they try to hit a double.

Taking both floor form and TV pressure into account—that is when you can find an edge.

What’s the format?

Another key consideration is the style of match. Is it short-format, best-of-12 legs, like the Premier League, or longer-set format? In a short-format match, if you get off to a bad start or have a disastrous few legs, suddenly you’re on the back foot, with no margin for error. In set play a player could go completely off the boil for three or four legs and still win comfortably.

There is more scope for a surprise in the short format. The underdog could hit an unreal streak, and the favorite could dip in quality for a few legs. In the longer format, consistency is king, and a drop in form for a few legs will even out. You don’t get second chances in a best-of-12 leg match.

Mind games and psychology

It would be rude to miss out on the psychology behind the tungsten. Who has the winning head-to-head record, what have players said about each other in the past, and is there any needle between them? Who has the edge mentally when they stand toe-to-toe on the oche?

Is there a crowd favorite, and will that play a part? Is the player a hometown hero or a pantomime villain?

Those might feel like small elements, but they can swing momentum when it comes down to the final double.

Putting it into practice: Price vs. Wright

How do you put all together?

Let’s take the Premier League clash between Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price. Wright leads on the 180 count in the Premier League (13-8) and on the 140+ count (29-18), but their averages aren’t that much different, with Wright’s just 0.24 ahead.

So while Wright might hit more explosive scores, Price’s consistency will keep him with the reigning world champ. It’s the same story on the doubles. Wright has been efficient, with a checkout percentage of 43%, but Price isn’t that far behind (39%).

On the floor over the weekend, both players were electric. Wright won Saturday’s competition, with an average of 106.7 for the day, and defeated Price, 8-6, in the final. Price went one better Sunday, when he defeated world No. 1 Michael van Gerwen in the final, with an average of 100.5 for the day, while Wright crashed out in the quarterfinals.

On TV in the Premier League, both men have three points. Wright has won one, drawn one, and lost one, while Price has drawn all three of his matches. Both men have won 18 legs along the way.

In the head-to-head, Wright leads 15-5, with one draw, but if you look at just the last 12 months, it is three wins apiece. Wright won last weekend and in January’s world championship semifinal, which may give him the psychological edge, but Price won both his Premier League clashes against "Snakebite" last year.

It looks like the match is going to be tighter than a duck’s arse, and the draw stands out a mile at +335.

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