Who would have thought even 10 years ago that darts would be one of the most popular televised sports in the UK with a legacy spreading around the world?
But the phenomenon that has joyous fans packing into vast arenas and millions glued to their screens shows no signs of slowing down, and for the betting public that is most definitely good news.
Little can match the tension of a tightly-fought tussle of the tungsten, with missed doubles and huge checkouts giving each game a cut and thrust it’s hard to believe is created by two blokes throwing sharp objects at a cork circle.
Many see darts as an old man’s game, a pub pastime more bothered about beers than cheers.
But these people are wrong and anyone who gives it try is instantly converted to the cult of the arrows.
And what a time to get involved!
Dutch master Michael van Gerwen rules the darting world, picking up titles for fun and a being heavy favourite to win his third PDC crown at London Alexandra Palace in early January.
But darts aficionados will be desperate for the legendary Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor to end his extraordinary career on a high by claiming glory for an incredible 16th time.
Taylor changed the face of the sport, reaching a level of excellence yet to be matched never mind surpassed.
His old sparring partner Raymond van Barneveld is still on the scene, while the younger breed including Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, Gary Anderson and Steve ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ Beaton who are also keen to grab a slice of the action.
Darts Free Bets
It’s a very simple game, really.
Each player throws three darts in turn, with the aim to accumulate points which are taken off a starting total of 501.
The board contains the numbers one to 20 in a random order, with each also having a ‘bed’ to either double or treble your score.
You have to finish, or ‘checkout’, with the exact number you have left. And just to make it more exciting, that final dart has to be a double.
The player who gets to zero first wins the leg, with a specific number claiming a set and consequently the match.
Tournaments are springing up all the time, in surprising locations such as Dubai and Australia, with big prize money on offer for the victors.
The main event is the PDC World Championship which runs over Christmas on New Year, followed by the Premier League of Darts, which plays to packed houses in venues around the UK.
Other big draws include the UK Open and World Matchplay.
Rival organisation the BDO also has a world championships, which follows hot on the heels of the PDC event in early January.
How to bet on darts
Bookmakers have a good relationship with darts, with many of the tournaments being sponsored by some of the household names.
That means they are keen to offer decent odds and a range of betting options to the punter interested in the drama on the oche.
It’s more a question of what not to bet on, such are the choices you will be faced with.
The number of 180s, doubles, trebles or any individual number thrown by a player can be predicted, while winning margins and highest checkout also often register interest.
Antepost tournament betting remains popular, too, and it is well worth running the numbers to find out any trends that can point you in the direction of a successful wager.
That’s where FindBets can hit the bullseye for you with our in-depth analysis of the darts scene and tips to make your arrows experience a great one.