Darts has increased in popularity in recent years and so have the betting markets involved. As Sky are keen advocates of Darts I would suggest using SkyBet for your wagers – they also televise all of the major events so their market coverage is pretty unrivalled.

I do find, though, that Darts can be unpredictable at times and trying to find success from your bets in the regular match winner markets can be difficult. The players form can be erratic and the odds on the top players will offer no value at all. But the Handicap markets and lines do offer an alternative.

Match Handicap Betting

The betting markets are very similar to Tennis as there is no draw to worry (unless it’s in the Premier League darts), and the matches are made up of sets (unless it’s Match Play). But on the whole the betting markets are very similar.

Here the underdog is given an advantage on the handicap to make it a more even contest.

With this in mind, I approach this market in very much the same way as I do tennis. I look towards backing the underdog with a big set advantage.

Below is an example from the 2015 World Championships. James Wade is clear favourite to beat his opponent but the odds on offer of 1.07 do not represent good value – meanwhile, Wade is not the force he once was and Lewis is more than capable of taking at least a set here.


Backing the underdog with a 2.5 set advantage meant he needed just once set to make it a winning bet, which at 1.75 is decent value in a contest that offered very little.

Total 180’s

I like the Total 180’s markets as it means you’re not reliant on one player winning the match, or covering a specific handicap of sets. Here the target is to see as many 180’s as possible, which can make for entertaining viewing when watching the match.

However, I only tend to look when the big four 180 specialists are in action. Michael Van Gerwin, Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis are capable of hitting the maximum on a regular basis, so it’s always worth a look at this market when these guys are on top form.

Over and Under Sets/Games Handicap Betting

Another market I use on a regular is the over and unders on the game and set betting. You can draw comparisons again with Tennis Handicap Betting as you’re looking for a match to have a specific amount of games.

The Handicap line is set at the point where the bookmaker believes it will be a 50/50 chance, so I search for patterns that suggest the game will go the distance, or likewise, if I fancy backing unders then I look for match that will be over quickly.

Below is an example of the recent Sydney Masters match between Adrian Lewis and Raymond Van Barneveld.

This matchup should already have drawn attention for being “overs” on the game handicap and a quick look at the form (of Adrian Lewis in particular) would confirm this.

Darts handicap

His recent matches were all high-scoring close encounter’s so the chances of another against a top player would be high.

The handicap over/under line was set at 16.5 games, meaning 17 games (a minimum 10-7 score) were required for a winning overs bet. The match ended 10-9 to Lewis and it would have represented a good overs bet in match that was tight to call on the winner market.

Without Favourite Market

Generally speaking, this market was excellent when Phil Taylor was at his peak and winning every tournament left, right and centre. But the big Darts tournaments are much more competitive these days with three or fours right at the head of the markets.

There is, however, some great value to be had when backing the outsiders in this market at big prices.

I often look for trends on some of the lesser known players and how they performed at a specific event. You can pick up big prices on players who will have a good run in a tournament and this market offers good insurance if your selection reaches the final but is beaten by the favourite.