Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes tells us where the smart money is going for the opening weekend of the season.
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @JordanFiddes85
Last Updated: 01/02/13 12:01pm
The wait is over as Super League XVIII kicks off this weekend and we have some tasty fixtures to get our money on straight from the off.
In Friday's televised game, champions Leeds take on big spenders Hull FC at Headingley and the Rhinos start the game as strong favourites.
The bookies have given Hull an eight point start over the men from West Yorkshire, which seems a bit big for an opening game.
As I mentioned, Hull have worked hard to make improvements in the off-season and they will be looking to make the most of their cash in this first game at Leeds.
In their two meetings last season it finished with one win apiece, however the game at the KC Stadium was much more one-sided in the Airlie Birds' favour than the scoreline suggested.
They finished that game 14 points better off than Leeds and for Hull to win the game on Friday by 11-20 points is a huge 8/1.
The biggest name returning to Super League this season is England second-row Gareth Ellis, who will start the game for the Black and Whites against his former club.
He scored 24 tries in his three years at Leeds and is 7/2 to score anytime on Friday.
Leeds have not been shy in the transfer market either, acquiring the services of Joel Moon from Salford and Joe Vickery and Mitch Achurch from Australia.
Moon was signed as a belated replacement for Keith Senior and has an excellent off-load record, something winger Ryan Hall will be relishing.
The ex-Salford centre made 50 offloads last year and created eight tries in just 17 appearances.
He will be playing just inside England winger Hall on Friday, which makes him favourite to open the scoring.
He's 7/1 to score the first try which is still worth a bet and, if you are feeling cautious, it's worth an each-way punt at a quarter of the odds.
Leeds have won their last six home games against Hull, a record which stems back to September 2007.
If you want a banker this weekend, then Hull on the handicap of +8 at 10/11 is just that.
If Leeds do win it will be a close affair with both teams having something to prove which means you will still be holding a winning bet.
In Friday's other game, it's an all Lancashire affair as Wigan travel to Salford.
It's a tough one to call this with Salford's takeover finally confirmed this week, however their squad still looks a bit light coming into the opening fixture.
The Warriors, however, certainly have the form heading to Salford, having won the last 13 meetings between the two clubs, six of them in Salford's back yard.
Much has been said about Wigan's squad this year and the lack of recruitment in the forwards, but they are huge favourites coming into this.
Wigan start at -20 but you can get the Warriors at -24.5 in the alternative handicap at 11/8 which is what I will be going for.
With Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins, who scored a combined 59 tries in 2012, out wide and Matty Smith returning to his old stomping ground, Wigan have points in abundance heading to the Salford City Stadium.
Finally, I'm looking at Saturday's live game as Huddersfield travel St.Helens, looking for their first win over the Saints in the league since 1978.
I can't see the Giants' poor record going on Saturday either as I'm tipping St. Helens as the team to beat this season.
They have made some shrewd signings, including Jordan Turner and Willie Manu from Hull FC.
It's Manu who I am focusing on in this week's bet too, as he is 15/8 to score anytime.
Manu was the top try scoring forward in the Super League last season and he now has Jonny Lomax and Lance Hohaia inside him who created 33 tries between them in 2012.
To summarise, the treble this week of Hull FC +10, Wigan -24.5 on the alternative handicaps and Willie Manu to score anytime works out at around 13/1 and a good start to your Super League betting for 2013.
View from the Sky Bet trading room
"Hull have been the big movers in the ante-post markets, coming in from 5/2 to 2/1, but having met 15 times at Headingley during the Super League era, Hull have only registered three victories during that time.
"The handicap has also come in from +10 to +8, which would have only won four times in the last 15 meetings, so we're happy to take Leeds to cover the -8 line at odds of 10/11.
"St. Helens have 13 victories from 13 games in this Super League fixture against Huddersfield and, with both teams will be fired up for the season opener, we're expecting plenty of points.
"Saints usually build up decent leads then ease up, so a punt on them covering the first-half handicap of -6 at 10/11 looks interesting."