Newcastle 2.942/1 v Southampton 2.767/4; The Draw 3.3512/5
Mike Ashley has done as much as he can to prove that his final day-pledge not to sell the club until they win something wasn't bluster.
He has hired an actual football manager in Steve McClaren and following that with three signings for eight-figure sums: Chancel Mbemba, Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
There will be concern about how quickly they adapt, having arrived from Anderlecht and PSV, but all three are young enough to have plenty of time to justify their fees. Joe Dyer is fairly optimistic for the McClaren era on Tyneside in his season preview, and this writer shares that sentiment.
Once again, Southampton were forced to contend with plenty of interest in their players. This time, the outgoings were limited to three first-teamers: on-loan centre back Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), right back Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United).
They were excellent at replacing those who left last summer and appear to have done well again in bringing in internationally-capped trio Steven Caulker, Cedric Soares and Jordy Clasie. Maarten Stekelenburg has been loaned to cover for the injured Fraser Forster in goal. To find out what Joe Dyer made of all the transactions, check out his season preview.
This will also be the first chance to see how Europa League football affects their Premier League progress. Even with a 3-0 lead in the tie, they picked a very strong side away to Vitesse, winning 2-0. Clasie sat that trip home out, yet is expected to be available.
Southampton are judged slight favourites in an extremely close betting market, but this writer isn't so sure.
The Saints are usually awful at first impressions, collecting just 18 points from their most recent 23 opening fixtures - a figure which is even worse when you consider that seven of those games took place at Championship or League One level. Despite winning eight of their initial 11 last term, they still flopped on week one in this exact Sunday lunchtime slot.
As backing Newcastle outright could be judged a bit too bold given their poor end to 2014/15, heavy transition this summer and unremarkable head-to-head record against Southampton, the draw no bet option at 2.0811/10 is our preference.
Both Teams to Score
All three St James' Park showdowns between the Magpies and Saints since the latter were readmitted to the Premier League in 2012 have been devoid of clean sheets, with both goalkeepers breached within 33 minutes on two of those occasions.
There are a couple of Opta statistics which make both teams to score seem like even more of a certainty. The statistical experts note that Newcastle have netted in 14 of their past 15 Premier League home matches against Southampton, with the exception coming back in 1997, while the north-east club have kept one top-flight clean sheet in 16 against them.
Stekelenburg shut out Vitesse twice in the Europa League, but Opta make the interesting observation that the Saints locked out their opponents in 13 of the sidelined Forster's 30 league outings last season, compared to a mere one in eight when he was absent.
Back Newcastle to win (draw no bet) @ 2.0811/10
Back both teams to score @ 1.9210/11