Premier League Betting

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The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) was formed as a splinter group of sixteen top professional players who left the British Darts Organisation (BDO) in 1992. The players believed a greater effort had to be made to improve the image of darts and bring about higher levels of sponsorship. Professional tournaments and a list of world rankings based upon players’ performances were some of the immediate actions taken. One of the PDC’s more recent solutions to these needs was the establishment of the Premier League in 2005.

Initially backed by 888.com, and then by Holsten Brewery and White & Mackay, the Premier League darts tournament has grown to become one of the world’s largest indoor sports event. In 2011, the role of title sponsor has again been taken up by online gaming specialists 888.com, and the prize pool has grown to £410,000.

The Premier League gets under way in February each year, with matches played on Thursday evenings through May. That’s when the finals are held at Wembley Arena before a live crowd of some 12,500 fans, plus a television audience of millions worldwide. Sky Sports has seen to the league’s broadcasts since its inception.

The competition uses a double round-robin format, with matches held throughout the U.K. at different venues. It begins with the PDC’s top four ranked players and four wild-card selections pitted against one another in a series of head-to-head meetings. Each player takes on every other player twice, with matches billed home and away to indicate who throws first.

The matches are played over 14 legs of 501 during the league section of the event. The first player who wins eight legs is deemed to be the winner of the match, with no further legs played after that point.

Points are awarded as follows: two points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss or withdrawal. After the completion of the 14 league nights, the top four players in the league table gain berths in the play-offs. To the ultimate winner goes £125,000, while the runner-up receives £65,000 and third place gets £50,000. The other five places are paid a pro-rated amount from £25,000 to £40,000.

In the first six seasons, Phil Taylor has virtually owned the Premier League, winning five championships and missing out only in 2009, when James Wade took the title. Taylor’s dominance has been so complete that he ran up an unbeaten run of 44 matches in 2005-2008. He also won by margins of 11-1 twice and managed to whitewash Wade Mardle 8-0 in 2008. He is the only player to have participated in every tournament since its inception.

Ante post betting on the outright winner of the Premier League is quite heavy. It starts as much as a year in advance of the next edition, albeit the odds are somewhat skewed by Taylor’s continuing presence. In fact, one of the most popular ante post wagers is “Taylor vs. The Field.” Others are To Top The League, To Finish Bottom, To Reach Semi Final, To Reach Final, and Not To Qualify.

Once the round robin begins, bookmakers feature match betting on every televised pairing, of which four are scheduled for each leg. Accumulator bets are a favourite during this stage, selecting two to four players to win their matches as a single bet, rather like a perfecta or trifecta wager in horse racing. Such bets offer an attractive alternative to picking individual winners at short odds.

Other Premier League markets include Most 180s, Total 180s, Total 170, First Nine Dart Finish, Nine Dart Finish, Check-Outs, Any Double 8 Finish, Any Match to Finish 8-0, Highest Checkout, Tied Match, Total Draws, and Enhanced Odds Double. There is certainly no lack of opportunity to wager and win when the Premier League is in session.

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