Stuart Jones takes a look over the live games on the opening round of this year's Super League competition and gives us his best bets for the weekend.
"We all know Leeds tend to save their best form for later in the season, and with the World Club Challenge again an early-season distraction, Hull look a good bet to beat the 8.5 point handicap".
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC
The reigning champions take on just about the most hyped up side in the competition first up on Friday at Headingley, and it's a great opportunity for Peter Gentle's side to lay down an early season marker. Hull have recruited well in the off season and finally look to have the right balance across the side that makes them genuine top four contenders. Daniel Holdsworth, Joe Arundel and Gareth Ellis all look set to make their eagerly anticipated debuts.
We all know Leeds tend to save their best form for later in the season, and with the World Club Challenge again an early-season distraction, Hull look a good bet to beat the 8.5 point handicap.
St Helens vs Huddersfield Giants
My idea of the regular season winners should get their season off to the ideal start against a Huddersfield side that still have questions to answer. We know the Giants have a big pack, but beyond that and Danny Brough I don't see too many more positives. Paul Anderson was part of a Bulls side that bullied their way to numerous titles, but you have to have a lot more than that to win trophies in this era, and I suspect Anderson may find out the hard way.
Saints have a big enough set of forwards to ensure they won't be steamrollered by the Giants on home turf and their superior backs should prove too much of a threat for the Giants. I expect them to cover the -12.5 handicap and get Nathan Brown's reign off to the ideal start.
Bradford Bulls vs Wakefield Wildcats
There may have been very little between the two sides last year, but Bradford have lost several first-teamers in the off season, and appear to have been overrated by the layers this season. John Bateman and Luke Gale miss this one out through injury, and Jamie Langley is a doubt having missed the pre-season friendly with Leeds with a knock.
Richard Agar has managed to keep hold of most of last season's squad, which crucially means that Tim Smith will be available to pull the strings in the halves. Smith is expected to recover in time to make Sunday's game and Wakefield can cover the handicap if he does so.
3 pts on Hull FC +8.5 points @1.9110/11
1 pt on St Helens -12.5 points @ 1.9110/11
1 pt on Wakefield +6.5 points @ 1.9110/11