UK Open Darts 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The latest TV tournament takes place this weekend as the leading darts players head to Minehead to battle it out in the UK Open, commonly known as the FA Cup of Darts with a random draw the appealing feature of the event.

That throws up the possibility for literally anyone to win this competition if the draw is kind to them, as Andrew Gilding showed last year when he took down the tournament and he will be looking to be the first player since Michael van Gerwen in 2016 to make a successful defence of the title.

Recent Winners

2023 – Andrew Gilding

2022 – Danny Noppert

2021 – James Wade

2020 – Michael van Gerwen

2019 – Nathan Aspinall

2018 – Gary Anderson

2017 – Peter Wright

2016 – Michael van Gerwen

2015 – Michael van Gerwen

2014 – Adrian Lewis

The Format

The 128 players who have tour cards all enter the tournament this year. There have been no qualifying series for them. There have however been 16 pub qualifying events for those who are chasing the dream. Challenge Tour and Development Tour stars also get their chance to mix it with the professionals this week.

The non-tour players go into the first round against the pros ranked 97-128 on the order of merit with the winners going into the second round where players ranked 65-96 join the event. The 32 winners of that round are joined by players ranked 33-64. All these matches are the best of 11 legs and the 32 winners are joined by the top 32 in the world for round four which sees the format go up to the best of 19. The format stays the same for the last 16 and quarter finals before going up to the best of 21 for the semi-finals and final. From round four onwards there is a completely random draw like in the football equivalent of the FA Cup.

Market Leaders

Michael van Gerwen has only won this tournament once since 2016 but he is the 6/1 favourite to come out on top this year. He has dominated the Premier League scene since his surprise defeat in the World Championship although he did exit at Exeter in the quarter final on Thursday evening. He is probably the one to beat but often he comes here with few players who can really beat him and if he avoids them until the latter stages he becomes very tough to beat. That pool is much larger now which is a problem.

Luke Littler is the poster boy of the sport right now and having made it to the final of the World Championship, he has won a Players Championship event since then and the World Series event in Bahrain as well as competing strongly in the Premier League. He has tended to fade a little the longer a busy week has gone on though and that would be a concern but his run to the World Championship gets him through to the seeded rounds but even with that the 13/2 is probably only a fair price rather than anything I’m rushing to take.

The world champion Luke Humphries has come slowly out of the blocks since he won at Alexandra Palace. That certainly isn’t nothing new. When you have climbed the mountain it is very hard not to slip a little initially but Humphries will come good at some point. He won the Players Championship Finals in this venue just prior to winning the World Championship and has made the final of this event so we know Minehead suits him. He certainly shouldn’t be dismissed at 8/1.

Gary Anderson has started the new season on fire, winning one Players Championship tournament and reaching the final of another. He has played 17 matches in the four PC events and has averaged over 105 in eight of them and over 100 in another four of them. He is certainly the form horse coming into the tournament but whether he has five wins in him in a little over 48 hours on big stages over long formats remains to be seen. I certainly wouldn’t want to be against him but the value has gone from the price.

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Main Bet

This feels like a very open renewal of this tournament and you have to go back a fair way for the last time a player in the Premier League won this event. That might just be a coincidence but four consecutive days of intense darts can certainly take it out of players so perhaps it isn’t. The thing with the Premier League eight this year is you could only really say three, four at most, are in what we would associate something close to their best form. That is why I think the value lies elsewhere.

In saying that, there is only one player shorter than 66/1 in the betting that I like and that is Chris Dobey, a player who really should have had a crack at Luke Littler in the World Championship semi-final having led Rob Cross 4-0 in the quarter final before falling to defeat. Dobey has won a TV event before though and he has shown decent form in the early stages of 2024. He might well have a point to prove having missed out on another Premier League campaign but in the opening four Players Championship only three players have a better three dart average and only two have won more matches. If he can have a nice draw to get into the business end of the tournament he feels a big price.


I backed Dimitri Van den Bergh to win The Masters last month but he fell one short of landing me a pay out. He did beat Michael Smith in that tournament though so there is nothing wrong with his form. He actually has a fair record in this venue. In his younger days he twice won the World Youth Championship here and since he has had a tour card he has gone R1-R6-QF-R4-R5-SF in this tournament so the format seems to suit him and if he can find a nice draw in the initial period and keep himself to himself out on the back boards we could easily see the Belgian when this tournament gets serious on Sunday.

I’m not convinced that the days of winning TV tournaments are still in situ for Raymond van Barneveld but he has made such a good start to 2024 that I’ll pay to see if he can have a decent enough weekend here. Only four players have won more matches than him in the opening four Players Championship events. He has reached two quarter finals in that time with a couple of 100+ averages and a few more of 95 and more so he is producing a decent standard and if the draw is kind a three-figure price could be rewarded.

The WDF world champion Andy Baetens has a tour card now and makes his TV tournament debut in the PDC this weekend and I see no reason why he can’t go well. It isn’t ideal that he comes in from the second round because those best of 11 leg games can turn into a bit of a lottery but I really like the Belgian and have long since thought he would go well in the PDC. Only 19 players average more than him on the Players Championship scene this season so far and in the four events he has lost to Jose de Sousa, Michael Smith, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen but he has wins over Jelle Klaasen, Rob Cross and Josh Rock so if the draw is kind he could easily go well here.

Mike De Decker has caught my eye in the Players Championship tournaments this year. Only Gary Anderson has a higher average in the four events and across nine matches, the Belgian has only averaged less than 95 once. He has three averages over 100 and has wins over Florian Hempel and Vincent van der Voort among others to his name. His first nine scoring average is a shade under 111 and if he scores like that here and can dodge the bigger names in the initial phase of the event he is another who can outrun his price.

Martin Lukeman has made the semi-final of the second Players Championship tournament this year and has four ton plus averages in his last 10 matches on the floor as well as a 99.06 and 97.96. He took care of Stephen Bunting, Chris Dobey and Callan Rydz en route to that semi-final defeat to Ryan Searle and only 12 players are averaging more than him on the pro tour this season. Lukeman has a PC average of 96.35 and is checking out at 40% on the floor and if those statistics make their way to Minehead with him then he could be difficult to stop for a large part of the weekend.


Back C.Dobey to win UK Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with William Hill (1/4 1-4)

Back R.van Barneveld to win UK Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with William Hill (1/4 1-4)

Back them here:

Back M.De Decker to win UK Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Boylesports (1/4 1-4)

Back him here:

Back D.Van den Bergh to win UK Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Betfred (1/4 1-4)

Back A.Baetens to win UK Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Bet365 (1/4 1-4)

Back M.Lukeman to win UK Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 201.00 with Bet365 (1/4 1-4)