Anyone who has seen a world-class match on TV will know that darts is a massive deal and with the biggest event of the year coming up, Before You Bet are happy to welcome a new writer on our team who is offering up his 2016 World Darts Championship Betting Preview.
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Once upon a time, summer in Australia revolved around one sport and one sport only - cricket. Whether it’s the kids dragging the grown-ups out of the house after Christmas lunch for a backyard game, or watching the Boxing Day Test, there’s a competitive aspect during the festive season that was once only sustained by wielding the willow in your Nan’s driveway or cheering on the Aussies with your family around the telly.
These days, there’s plenty more sport on offer, especially if you’ve got cable TV. From the NBA, NHL, NFL and College Bowls, to the English Premier League, the FA Cup and the A-League - let’s face it, we’re spoiled for choice. That said, there’s one major event that the team at Before You Bet is really excited for, but for most, will seem right out of left field - the 2016 World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace in London.
From December 17 to January 3, 72 of the world’s best darts players will converge upon the “Ally Pally” for a shot at the Sid Waddell Trophy and a share of £1.5 million in prize money.
For the uninitiated, it seems insane that a game that is largely played in pubs between beers in Australia has such a cult following. And you’re right, it is insane that somehow, we Aussies have dropped the ball when it comes to such an amazing sporting spectacle that has been embraced so passionately by the Poms!
The international television broadcast to millions worldwide, the 7,000-strong crowd in full voice (and three sheets to the wind) cheering and singing for their favourite players as they enter into the arena to their custom theme song WWE-style, surrounded by security guards and gorgeous models, plus the opportunity for punters to make a few quid on the side in the betting market. Really, what’s not to like?
Actually, the question you should be asking is, “Who do you like?”
Well, we have done the research to give you an insight into the players you should be backing for this year’s World Darts Championship.
The action begins with a mix of Preliminary (qualifying) and First Round matches leading up to Christmas Eve. The Preliminary matches are the best of three sets and the First Round matches the best of five sets, with each set made up of a best-of-five “legs” (games) of 501.
From what history tells us, the skill level and betting markets in the preliminary matches leave a lot to be desired, but if you’re keen on starting early, Denmark’s Per Lausen offers great value at $2.75, despite his English opponent, Andy Boulton, being backed in at $1.40 at Sportsbet. You might also be able to squeeze a few bob from the match between New Zealand’s Rob Szabo ($1.50), who’s favoured over Austria’s Michael Rasztovits ($2.50), but it’s the First Round matches where the betting markets begin to open up, offering a venerable cornucopia for the wagering connoisseur.
This is where you’re going to start seeing very thin odds head-to-head with the big names on show who have all drawn Preliminary qualifiers for their First Round matches. Betting on the actual result (or “correct score”) of match will make you the most money here. Our pick is for defending champion Gary Anderson winning 3 sets to 1 at $3.50 at Sportsbet against the winner of the Boulton/Lausen prelim.
As for the other matches in the First Round proper, we can’t go past “The Wizard”, Simon Whitlock. Sure, he’s Australia’s greatest darts export and he looks a helluva lot like a hippie version of cricketer Brett Lee, but the market for his match-up against Ricky Evans is expected to reap big returns. You could go either way for a 3-0 ($3.50) or 3-1 ($3.30) victory, but the statistical wagers are a goldmine if you know where to look. At $3.50 at Sportsbet, the Hat-Trick of Most 180s, Highest Check-out and Win Match for Whitlock is the best of the bunch.
Finally, you’ll find lots of great options in the Futures market, where 16-time World Champion Phil “The Power” Taylor and World #1 Michael van Gerwen headline.
You can’t go wrong betting on any combination of Taylor and van Gerwen - whether it be them both making the final or if either one of them win it outright. Van Gerwen is in tremendous form after winning the Players Championship (and his fourth successive televised title) however his price of $2.10 at Sportsbet is relatively short considering that the pressure of the event can create a few surprising results.
Defending champion Gary Anderson is tempting at $8.00 while former runner-up Peter Wright is at $26. If you’d like to throw a few darts of your own then you could consider a cheeky bet on Jelle Klaasen ($67), Stephen Bunting ($126) or Vincent van der Voort ($201). All prices are available at the time of publishing at Sportsbet.
At the end of the day, if you’ve never watched professional darts before, prepare yourself for an experience like no other. You don’t even need to be betting to appreciate the prowess of these players. Before you know it, you’ll be on the edge of your seat for every throw at the oche, especially if they’re on the verge of a big check-out total or a “nine-darter”.
The World Darts Championship is, quite simply, the Christmas gift that just keeps on giving!
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Plenty of the best Australian sports betting sites offer markets to bet on the 2016 World Darts Championship, but sportsbet arguably has the most betting options. So if you want to get involved, but don't have an account, click to sign-up, and make sure to take advanatge of a $501 bonus! To learn more, read our Sportsbet review.
Before You Bet will bring you more on the 2016 World Darts Championship as it plays out over Christmas and the New Year. All odds courtesy of sportsbet.com.au and are correct at the time of publication (subject to change). Gamble responsibly.
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