For the Rugby Football League to be truly able to claim that their restructuring of the competition has been a success, the Super 8s stage will have to be something exceptional. Having elongated the play-off process and combined several divisions with excitement specifically in mind, this first season has to really win the fans over from day one to stand a chance of surviving longer term.
The season so far though, as a yardstick, indicated that there'll be no such issues, with the rugby played at every ground of an increased quality. The pathway to both the Super League championship and promotion to league itself has never been harder, so finding out which sides are up for the task will be fantastic voyage of discovery.
1 - Wigan Warriors to beat Huddersfield Giants by a margin of 1-10pts @ 15/8
Live on Sky Sports 1
These two sides have an extremely contrasting style, which normally throws up a great game. Huddersfield are a very solid, professional outfit, and defend just as strongly as they attack. Wigan though are much more of a wildcard, and tend to lean on their attacking flair to win the big matches, with their best players in the backs.
This one might not trouble the scoreboard all that often, and although we've seen Huddersfield take advantage of low scoring encounters all season through the boot of Danny Brough, this Wigan side won't allow that to happen on their own patch. With more play-off experience and the knowledge of how to work your way to a Grandfinal, this is a Wigan side to back, but not by a large margin.
2 - Leeds Rhinos to beat Warrington Wolves by 11-20pts @ 23/10
Live on Sky Sports 3
So far this year, Warrington have been the only side to consistently get the measure of Leeds, and they'll be disappointed that they couldn't win their cup semi-final to play the Rhinos for silverware. Having been beaten by this Wire side twice already though, Leeds aren't going to show up for this one at anything less than their best, with the determination they've shown this year likely to translate in the closest match these two have had all season.
With home advantage, and a better set of results in the form book, the Rhinos should be able to put those previous losses behind them and give Warrington a better account of themselves. While the Wolves might be desperate for another crack at their first Super League crown, their performances haven't shown that to be a possibility, so expect Leeds to come out of this one on top.
3 - Catalan Dragons to beat St Helens @ 5/4
Live on Sky Sports 3
We haven't done this for a while, but Catalan have been put at odds against a big name at home, and that's never a good idea. This is the smartest bet of the week, because as I've repeatedly said across the season, Catalans don't usually lose at home. This new Super8s format is all about winning the games you have the best advantage in, and for Catalan, that doesn't come truer than when they're in France, so anyone backing Saints should be wary.
Reigning champions that they are, Saints haven't played to their best of late, and have relied on their point scorers to dig them out of trouble on occasions that their performance may not have deserved it. Whether or not this one is a close call or one sided, Catalan are the team to back - the value in the bet is just too good to turn down.