down cross

Expect a nip-and-tuck battle between Rhinos and Saints

Not much between league's superpowers

Matty Smith of St Helens unleashes one of his trademark kicks
1 of 1

Betfred Super League
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Thursday

Meetings between traditional superpowers Leeds and St Helens are usually top-of-the-table battles but such is the changing of the guard in the Betfred Super League that this match at Headingley pits fourth against sixth on the league ladder.

Both sides still harbour hopes of Grand Final glory via the end of season playoffs. The Rhinos are 8-1 for a record breaking Old Trafford victory while Saints can be backed at 10-1.

St Helens have shown signs of improvement under new coach Justin Holbrook. They've won four of the Australian's six games in charge and suffered two narrow defeats.

Saints are 11-8 to complete a league double this evening having ground out a 6-4 victory on the season's opening night in February.

A Mark Percival conversion proved to be the difference between the teams in a dour struggle but the England centre misses tonight's match through suspension.

The 8-11 Rhinos have their disciplinary problems too with captain Danny McGuire and Jamie Jones Buchanan banned.

Coach Brian McDermott also has injury issues with Rob Burrow and Brett Ferres sidelined for several weeks as the first phase of the season reaches its conclusion.

The Rhinos have recalled scrum-half Jordan Lilley from his loan spell at Bradford to help plug the gap.

Bookmakers ask Leeds to concede a two-point handicap but the best bet could be to back a low-scoring contest.

Five of Justin Holbrook's six games in charge of the visitors have featured fewer than tonight's line of 46.5 points. Last Friday's 25-24 win over Salford in which Saints incredibly scored 17 points in the final eight minutes was the only match to go over.

Four of Leeds's last six games have produced 46 points or fewer with the two games to exceed the line making up at 47 and 48.

With a string of creative players missing and showers forecast, a free-flowing, high-scoring contest between these two great rivals seems unlikely.

It would come as no surprise if the match was settled by a drop goal especially with Super League's leading one-point exponent Matty Smith on show.

Paddy Power dangle a 50-1 carrot that Saints get home by a solitary point and offer 45-1 that Leeds win by that margin.

Under 46.5 points
4pts 10-11 Betfair
Leeds to win by one point
0.5pt 45-1 Paddy Power
St Helens to win by one point 
0.5pt 50-1 Paddy Power

It would come as no great surprise if the match was settled by a drop goal
E.W. Terms
Sky bet