Last Friday saw the start of the Professional Darts Corporations (PDC) new venture amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. “The PDC Home Tour” will see the 120 tour card holders from the PDC compete across an initial 32 nights, with group winners advancing to a second phase of the competition. The tournament is being streamed free of charge on PDCTV.
ModusDarts.tv, who manage several professional players, are currently running an “Icons of Darts League”. Last Thursday night saw Raymond Van Barneveld take on Martin Adams. A friend of mine and many others on Twitter spotted Van Barneveld’s odds moving significantly from an opening of 8/13 to a closing price of 11/8 with rumours circulating that somewhere in the region of £65’000 was put on Adams an hour before the game.
Adams ran out a 5-0 winner over Van Barneveld whose play was extremely out of sorts averaging 65.86, lower than his lowest recorded average of his professional career. It’s worth noting that there were no big market swings on any other of Van Barneveld’s games, with only £500 t £1000 traded on them.
Of course, there are many reasons why this could have happen. However, given the environment in which games are played, the opportunity for manipulation is surely much higher than it would be under normal conditions. Like almost all sports, darts is no stranger to this. In 2006 Gary Anderson and Gary Robson were cleared of match fixing after irregular betting patterns were spotted ahead of their first round match at the BDO World Championships.
The PDC’s version is likely to gain significantly more attention with more bookmakers offering markets on the tournament and it’s will become less likely we will see occurrences like this incurring more frequently.
Ronan Fahy is a Final Year Student at University College Cork. He is set to commence an MSc by Research (in Sports Economics) during the 2020/21 academic year.