Home favourite Michael van Gerwen is yet to throw a dart but remains top pick to win this tournament for a fifth time at 11/4. If you fancy backing an outsider, the player he beat in the final of the Nordic Darts Masters last month, Fallon Sherlock, is available at 150/1.
Hurricane Kim is back
Kim Huybrechts, who had a couple of good runs at the recent Super Series in Barnsley, even beating Michael van Gerwen on the final day, comfortably saw off Michael Smith in the opening match of this weekend’s tournament.
It’s only the second time he’s beaten Bully Boy on television, further proof that The Hurricane is getting back to his best after a few difficult years.
I remember speaking to Kim at the World Championship two years ago and he talked about not being the type of person who can put his personal life to one side and use darts as a release or escapism as some other players do.
His troubles seep into his practice and his game and they both suffer as a result.
The Belgian is now fully focused on rising back up the PDC rankings and competing at the business end of tournaments again.
Peter Wright awaits him on Saturday evening. Huybrechts will need to be more clinical on doubles against Snakebite but he’ll certainly fancy his chances against an opponent who hasn’t been showing his Matchplay winning form over recent weeks. I think Huybrechts is a very appealing price to win the match at 11/5.
Iceman starts his title defence
One of the ties of the opening round saw two of the Dutch representatives, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Jeffrey de Zwaan face each other for an 11th time. Despite de Zwaan showing glimpses of what he’s capable of with a 170 finish, van Duijvenbode came through 6-2 and has set up a second round match with World Champion Gerwyn Price.
Reigning World Series of Darts champion Price decided to skip the latest Super Series, quite possibly to rest the elbow that has caused him a number of issues over recent weeks and it’ll be interesting to see how he performs in Amsterdam.
The Iceman has come out on top in 10 of his 11 encounters with The Aubergenius and I’m expecting him to upset the crowd by breezing past one of the Dutch representatives in Amsterdam. I think he will do so with a -1.5 handicap at 4/9.