1983 World Darts Champion Keith Deller MBE delivers his five best bets as Den Bosch plays host to the second World Series of Darts event of the year, the Dutch Darts Masters.
Outright Winner & Match Markets
Gerwyn Price to win the Dutch Darts Masters @ 13/2
Yes, I know I'm a brave man to be backing somebody other than Luke Humphries or Luke Littler, but I just have a sneaky feeling that this weekend could be the time it all comes together once again for Gerwyn Price. 'Gezzy' was one of the best players last year, make no mistake about it. He wasn't winning the titles to back that claim up but he was hitting astronomical averages for fun. For whatever reason he just couldn't find that same level of performance when it really mattered.
He's due a big win on the TV and I like the look of his quarter, which should see him through to the last four. If he gets to that point then he will be as confident as anybody else. He's a serial winner, and he will want that first win of the year as soon as possible. This would be the ideal time to do just that.
Kevin Doets to beat Peter Wright @ 7/4
Kevin Doets may be a relative unknown to many casual darts fans, but he's the player who gave Michael Smith that almighty scare a couple of weeks back at the World Darts Championship. Michael, of course, came from 2-1 behind to edge a tense and dramatic five set thriller, but Kevin showed that he's a capable performer against the then world champion.
He hasn't had a great deal of television time which could be a little bit of an issue for him, but he got to the fifth round of the UK Open last year and will be playing on home soil, which will give him that extra two or three percent. This is a game that could go one of two ways... Peter Wright could come out flying with his new darts and win at a canter or, as I feel will happen, he will take a while to adjust, lose a little bit of trust in them and be sent packing in the first round. I love Peter, but Kevin could be playing him at the perfect time.
Gian van Veen to beat Michael Smith @ 7/4
Another game where I feel that one of the PDC representatives has a real chance of falling victim to an upset. There's no doubt that the Dutch Darts Masters is the trickiest of all of the World Series of Darts events given the abundance of quality amongst the 16 competitors, and nobody, especially Michael Smith, will need reminding of the talents of World Youth Finalist Gian van Veen.
He enjoyed a remarkable run to the semi-finals of his first televised major last year at the Players Championship Finals, and whilst he came a cropper against Man Lok Leung in that incredible match at Alexandra Palace a few weeks later, he will be desperate to get the New Year off to a bang against Michael Smith. The one and only time these two players have met - in September 2023 - van Veen came out on top 6-3, and I think history could repeat itself in Den Bosch on Friday night.
Luke Littler to beat Dirk van Duijvenbode, Most 180s & Highest Checkout @ 6/5
Luke Littler is the man of the moment; there's no doubt about that. In fact, of the last 200 legs, no player on the planet boasts a higher three-dart average than the World Finalist. He will be riding the crest of a wave after triumphing in Bahrain a few weeks back, and whilst I don't see him backing that up with another win in the Netherlands, I will be backing him to fly out of the traps in his last 16 showdown with Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Dirk is a top player, but his form has been awful as of late, largely down to injury problems. In fact, he's only won seven of his last 20 matches and one of his last nine! He's on the road to recovery now, but this is not a match he will be relishing against a fearless opponent. I like the look of Littler to win this match, notch the most 180s and score the highest checkout too.
Luke Humphries Over 3.5 180s v Jermaine Wattimena @ 10/11
I don't envisage Luke Humphries having too many problems coming through his opening fixture against a good player in Jermaine Wattimena, but there's absolutely no value in backing him to just win the match. For me, where I feel the value does lie is with the 180s. Now Luke is arguably the most prolific maximum scorer in the game at this moment in time - he landed the most in the World Darts Championship and he will be backing himself to pound that treble 20 bed this weekend too.
The opening round will see players compete in a best-of-11 leg format, and even if Humphries was to win this to zip, he'd still have six legs to score four maximums. He's more than capable of doing that. If we get eight or nine legs, then at 10/11 it looks like the best bet of my five chosen selections. All that said, it's now over to the World Champion to deliver. No pressure, Luke...
All odds displayed were correct and available at the time of writing and are are subject to withdrawal or fluctuation at any time.