Darts Betting 3
Darts isn't a sport where trends or pointers are obviously helpful for punters. Apart, of course, from the obvious trend that Taylor usually wins everything he enters.
Talent and bottle are the two ingredients that separate the best from the rest, while Taylor's obsessiveness and work ethic is what has given him that little bit more.
But there are one or two rules, some set in stone, others more contentious, that punters might like to think about before a tournament. Stage V floor The majority of the season is spent playing Open competitions, which carry fewer ranking points, less prize money and have monstrous fields. Also, these events are played on the 'floor', ie not on a stage, or at least not until the latter stages. Without the pressure of TV cameras, burning stage lights, dry ice and a live audience of many hundreds, decent league players can prosper. But that doesn't necessarily mean they will do well come the big events.
Backing outsiders over short distances The Grand Prix is the classic tournament where upsets tend to happen early over a shorter format. In 2001 three of the then top four in the world - Taylor, Peter Manley and Ronnie Baxter - were toppled in rapid-fire three-set matches. The better players prefer longer matches and there are upsets to be had in early skirmishes over a short course. Natural actions When Marko Pusa was blitzing his way through the 2001 Embassy field, fellow pro Wayne Mardle predicted an almighty fall, suggesting the Finn's manufactured action wouldn't hold up under pressure. Come quarter-final night against John Walton, Pusa was on first, lost a couple of legs and completely lost his rhythm. He was thrashed 5-0.
Ill health Seedings and protected ranking points mean some players are guaranteed places in competitions even when they aren't feeling quite right. Hence, Cliff Lazarenko met Richie Burnett in round one of the World Matchplay in 2003 and would normally have fancied his chances against the out-of-sorts Welshman. Lazarenko having just undergone shoulder surgery, however, Burnett was a shoo-in. The bookies won't always be privy to that sort of information in a sport that gets virtually no national newspaper coverage, so the informed punter can get an edge.
TYPES OF BET
Unrestricted singles have changed the face of football betting, but arrers fans like nothing more than an acca to keep them interested during a session. The big tournaments can have anything from three to eight matches billed for any one session, numbers that lend themselves to multiple bets.
A few firms have added set betting to their portfolios - the firms represented at darts venues do it as a matter of routine though their margins aren't always the best - and those same companies tend to provide other opportunities such as over-under betting on high checkout, winning checkout, total maximums and so on.
Another popular bet is quarter betting, especially in events run by the PDC which are so dominated by Taylor and, to a lesser extent, John Part. Those two are rarely out of the last four so rather than feel compelled to oppose the two tungsten titans, punters can concentrate on the identity of the remaining two semi-finalists.
More and more fixed-odds firms also offer specials and novelty markets, especially bookmakers in tournaments that they sponsor.
Specials being specials, the value is rarely great, but if you want to bet on the possibility of a nine-dart finish, nationality of the winner, best-placed qualifier and more, the opportunities do arise.