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Dutch Darts Masters preview: PDC's best head to Den Bosch for World Series event number two

The second World Series event of the season gets underway in Den Bosch on Friday and there is £60,000 up for grabs in the Dutch Darts Masters.

It’s an interesting competition and the home challenge is the strongest of any of the World Series events.

There are eight of the PDC’s top stars ready to mix it with eight Benelux representatives in Den Bosch and there is no shortage of title contenders.

Luke Littler proving a World Series big-hitter 

Luke Littler became the youngest player to ever land a televised nine-darter when completing a perfect leg at the Bahrain Darts Masters earlier this month and the Nuke went onto lift the title in Sakhir. 

The Warrington arrowsmith was sent off a 6/1 chance in Bahrain and is just 7/2 to take down the Dutch Darts Masters crown. 

Littler reached the final of the PDC World Championship at the turn of the year and it’s incredible that the Nuke is now considered a more likely title winner of the Dutch Darts Masters than Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith. 

He defeated Price, Nathan Apsinall and Van Gerwen on his way to a first PDC senior title in Bahrain and Littler is well-fancied to take down back-to-back World Series crowns in Den Bosch.

Luke Humphries holding on to favouritism   

Luke Humphries was the only arrowsmith that could stop Littler at the PDC World Championship as Cool Hand Luke claimed the first world title of his career at Alexandra Palace. 

The trophy was added to victories in last season’s World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Grand Slam and it was a remarkable tournament-winning run. 

The Newbury thrower was beaten 6-4 by Price in the Bahrain World Series event, but it’s fair to say that Humphries has been otherwise engaged on his trophy parade and the preparation for the first event of the new campaign may not have been at its peak. 

Better is expected in Den Bosch and Humphries is the pre-draw 3/1 market leader. 

Green Machine no longer an efficient runner 

At his peak, World Series events were easy pickings for Van Gerwen, but the Green Machine is not mopping up titles like he once was. 

MVG was beaten in the Bahrain final by Littler, and although there is no shame in defeat to the destructive Nuke, Mighty Mike could only average 87.8 in that final. 

Van Gerwen’s World Championship challenge was ended by Scott Williams at the quarter-final stage and the Dutchman failed to get his hands on any of the major trophies last season. 

MVG is the 4/1 third-favourite in Den Bosch and the Dutchman will at least have a home crowd on side. 

Home challenge looks strong 

The draw is going to be key in the Dutch Darts Masters with the eight Benelux representatives all high-level operators. 

Danny Noppert, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Raymond van Barneveld, 

Jermaine Wattimena, Gian van Veen, Vincent van der Voort and Kevin Doets make up the local challenge and all of those eight arrowsmith’s would be well capable of troubling the PDC select in Den Bosch.

The betting suggests that Noppert is the most likely winner from the Benelux arrowsmith’s and the Iceman is rated a 20/1 shot for Dutch Darts Masters glory. 

The draw may cause some shift in the betting and it will be interesting to see how many of the PDC’s chosen eight depart in the first round. 

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