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Belgian Open preview: Michael Van Gerwen looking to defend title

The first European Tour event of the 2024 PDC season starts on Friday and a host of star names will be in attendance at the Oktoberhallen for the Belgian Darts Open.

Michael van Gerwen won the last edition of this tournament, defeating Luke Humphries 8-6 in last year's final, and both men are back in Wieze this weekend.

European Tour events feature 48 players, made up of PDC Tour card holders, associate member qualifiers and host nation qualifiers.

Gerwyn Price won the first tournament in Belgium – the 2020 Belgian Darts Championship – then Dave Chisnall won the first Belgian Open in 2022.

Luke Littler is 11/2 for Belgian Darts Open glory, heading the betting, while Van Gerwen is 6/1 to successfully defend his title.

Van Gerwen hoping for repeat victory

Van Gerwen is having a strong 2024, making the final of the Masters before an excellent start to his Premier League campaign, winning three of the first four Thursday-night events.

MVG triumphed in Berlin, Glasgow and Newcastle to break the back of qualification for the Premier League play-offs. The Dutch darting dynamo was looking back to his best, but a shoulder problem developed in the UK Open and he lost in the fourth round to Mensur Suljovic.

Punters backing Van Gerwen at 6/1 for the Belgian Open will be hoping he comes through Thursday's Premier League mission in Brighton without any further shoulder niggles.

There is a £175,000 prize fund for the Belgian Open, with £30,000 going to the winner. Van Gerwen will be eager to bolster his already bulging bank balance. Peter Wright could be his opening opponent in Belgium.

Van den Bergh can build on UK Open joy

The UK Open was a joyous one for Dimitri Van den Bergh, who landed his second major title, defeating Luke Humphries in the final.

Van den Bergh has recently started working with a sport psychologist and the results were there for all to see in Minehead. The Belgian has also changed his playing style, slowing down considerably, which saw him abused by the UK Open crowd in the final.

There certainly won't be any criticism coming Van den Bergh's way in Belgium, no matter how long he takes to throw his darts, and the home hero can expect a warm welcome in Wieze.

Van den Bergh can be backed at 22/1 to follow up his Minehead glory with a home victory in the Belgian Darts Open. He plays Stephen Bunting in his opening match.

World champion eager to kickstart season

Luke Humphries has had a difficult start to life as world champion. For starters, he had to deal with the World Championship runner-up getting more attention than him in the aftermath, and Cool Hand Luke has been short of form in 2024.

Humphries has been competing in the Premier League for the first time this year – and he has not had a great relationship with the crowds. A defeat to Luke Littler in Cardiff started a disappointing Premier League campaign.

The Players Championships have not been going well for Humphries, either. He was whitewashed 6-0 by Ian White in one of them, then the world champion attempted to snap his darts after another embarrassing loss to Jurgen van der Velde.

Humphries will be keen to start winning trophies again and he can be backed at 6/1 to get that process started in Belgium. He faces James Wade or Raymond van Barneveld first up.

Improving Heta can go deep yet again

Damon Heta is one of the most improved players on the PDC circuit and there will be plenty of punters eyeing up the Australian at 20/1 for the Belgian Open.

Heta won a Players Championship title last month, then got to the semi-finals of the UK Open, defeating Luke Littler along the way in one of the highest-quality matches ever seen in the competition.

The Heat, as Heta is known, is growing in confidence and fitness. He has started eating better and exercising more, meaning he has more stamina for the many long days on the PDC circuit. With the third round, quarter-finals, semis and final of the Belgian Open all scheduled for Sunday, Heta's health could be crucial.

Heta could go deep from the top half of the draw and an each-way bet at 20/1 (half the odds if he reaches the final) will tempt many.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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