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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Champions Leeds can make solid start to title defence

Warrington looking to avoid another dismal start

Leeds skipper Kallum Watkins
1 of 1

Sky Sports Arena & Main Event 
7.45pm Thursday

The fixtures computer could have handed champions Leeds an easier opener as the Rhinos are 6-4 to kick off their title defence with a win at Warrington.

Leeds have the best opening-round record in Super League having lost only four times in 22 seasons but two of those defeats came in the last two years – 6-4 at Saints in 2017 and 12-10 at home to Warrington the previous year.

The 7-10 Wolves will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s abysmal start when they lost their first game to Catalans and didn’t win a Super League match until their eighth attempt.

There’s always a certain amount of guesswork involved when punting on opening fixtures and particularly so with Warrington who have new boss Steve Price at the helm.

Sitaleki Akauola, Dom Crosby and Toby King are all injured and half-backs Dec Patton and Tyrone Roberts are slight doubts.

New boy Roberts is likely to be a key player and is 6-1 favourite to be named man of the match.

Leeds are missing Stevie Ward and Brett Ferres after post-season operations and Keith Galloway is also sidelined.

With a chilly night forecast and neither team’s attack likely to be at full throttle, the total-points markets will be interesting when they are priced up by bookmakers.

Going under a tally in the mid-40s would certainly make considerable appeal but in the meantime a small bet on the visitors at evens receiving a four-point handicap start is advised.

Elsewhere, highly-fancied Hull are 4-11 to get off to a winning start at home to Huddersfield.

The Giants astonishingly won 46-18 on their last visit to Hull in August and are boosted by the news that ace winger Jermaine McGillvary has shaken off a knee injury.

Rick Stone’s side receive an eight-point buffer and that looks a fair reflection of the likely outcome.

Leeds +4
1pt Evs Betfred, Hills

Leeds have the best opening-round record in Super League having lost only four times in 22 seasons
E.W. Terms
Sky bet