Darts Handicap Betting Explained

If you want to learn about darts handicap betting and take advantage of the great value odds these bets can offer, keep reading for our explanation of handicap bets.

Alex Matless
Alex Matless

Last Updated: 2024-03-12

Wade McElwain

5 minutes read

two darts on a bullseye
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To new punters, handicap bets can be quite confusing, and many new sportsbook bettors won’t place them simply because they don’t know how they work.

If you want to learn about darts handicap betting and take advantage of the great value odds these bets can offer, then continue reading for our comprehensive look at handicap bets.

What is a Handicap Bet?

A handicap bet is a bet that adds a points/sets/legs advantage, usually to the underdog in the match, or subtracts points/sets/legs from a favourite’s score. 

You’ll see the handicap written as a + or – number next to the player’s name, and more often than not this will be a half number.

Here’s an example of a darts handicap bet: 

Luke Humphries –1.5 = Evens

Gerwyn Price +1.5 = 8/11

With the above bet, you’d be either backing Luke Humphries to win by a margin of at least 2 legs, or you’d be backing Gerwyn Price to win the match, or only lose by 1 leg.

Why Do We Have Handicap Bets on Darts?

Handicap bets are a way for sportsbook providers to level the playing field in a match when there’s a clear favourite.

In darts, there can be quite a discrepancy in skill and ranking between two players in some early tournament matches, so handicap darts betting offers more value to betting on these matches.

Handicap Betting on Darts

In darts, handicap bets are usually reserved for the Match Winner bet, with the handicap being applied as a positive or negative to legs or sets total of the player’s final score.

The easiest way to think of a darts handicap bet is that the score isn’t starting at 0 – 0, but rather with one player being 1.5 legs ahead.

How To Place a Darts Handicap Bet

Placing a handicap bet on a darts match is a simple process:

Log in
Go to your favourite sportsbook site and log in (or sign up for an account).
Pick a match
Decide which darts match to bet on, such as a Premier League Darts match or PDC World Championship match.
Choose a market
Check the odds markets to find a handicap bet.
Place a handicap bet
Place your darts handicap bet by selecting either the favourite with a negative legs penalty, or the underdog with a positive legs advantage.
Hope for a winner
Watch the match and await the outcome.

For more free darts betting tips, check out resources at

Remember, for your handicap darts bet to win, the player you backed must win the match after the scores have been adjusted according to the handicap you backed. 

For example, if you backed Michael van Gerwen at –1.5, he’d have to beat Rob Cross by 2 legs or more for your bet to pay out.

Handicap Bet Types

What makes handicap betting so confusing for new players is the number of different types of handicap bets there are. We’ve explained the types of handicap bets you’re most likely to make when placing a darts handicap bet.

2-Way Handicap Bets

As the name suggests, this darts handicap bet is covering 2 outcomes (or 2 ways a bet can fall). The most common 2-Way darts handicap bet is Match Winner, where the favourite is given a negative sets or legs handicap, and the underdog is given a positive sets or legs handicap. 

Alternative Handicap Bets

Some bookies will offer alternative darts handicap bets, which lets you choose from a wider range of handicapped scores with differing odds. Alternative handicap bets give you more control of how you think the darts match will pan out. You can find decent value in the odds for alternative handicap darts bets.

Why Do Darts Handicap Bets Have Half Numbers?

The half number in a handicap bet (for example +1.5) ensures a draw is not possible after the handicap is applied. This means your handicap bet will either win or lose – there is no possibility for a draw (and a push bet) with half number handicap bets.

Looking for the best sports betting sites? Check out more resouces at

Alex Matless
Alex MatlessSenior Betting Writer

Alex is a copywriter and creative writer with nearly 6 years of experience writing in the online gambling industry. He has worked for sportsbook giants bet365, as well as online casino brands under the Mansion umbrella, helping to launch the SlotsHeaven and MansionBet brands. After studying for a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism at Staffordshire University, he moved to Gibraltar to work in the sunny capital of online gambling. His passion for creative storytelling, no matter the topic, makes his articles exceptionally readable and wonderfully engaging.