Leicester Tigers have endured a slow start to the season and will need to improve on their error-strewn display against Harlequins when Northampton Saints visit on Saturday.
The Tigers have won just once this term, Jamie Shillcock kicking a late penalty to see them to a one-point victory at Bath, and despite enjoying plenty of the ball against Quins, handling errors cost them in a 29-25 defeat last Saturday.
Saints, meanwhile, have won their last three, most recently beating Exeter 34-19 and could well repeat last season’s 19-18 victory at Welford Road.
Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs will make history by making his 28th appearance in the East Midlands derby, the most of any player for either club, while centre Guy Porter steps out for his 50th Premiership appearance for the Tigers.
Ollie Hassell-Collins starts on the left wing, while props James Cronin and Joe Heyes are rotated into the side.
For Northampton, club captain Lewis Ludlam returns to lead the team from number eight, while James Ramm returns from illness to feature on the left wing, allowing Tommy Freeman to continue at outside centre.
Centre Rory Hutchinson is on the bench and will make his 100th Premiership appearance if called upon, while back-rower Henry Pollock is in line for his league debut.
Despite their recent record, Leicester are just 8/15 to grab a first home victory of the season, with Saints 9/5 in the Match Winner market and the tie 22/1.
Leicester back-rower Hanro Liebenberg and Northampton back Tommy Freeman have both scored three tries this season and are worth watching in the tryscorer markets.
Northampton to win @ 9/5
Northampton edged this fixture 19-18 last season and will be confident of grabbing another derby victory on Saturday.
The Saints have steadily grown in confidence, winning their last three games, and have notably improved following the recent returns of their World Cup stars.
Phil Dowson will have highlighted Leicester’s handling errors last weekend and his back-line can expose a Tigers’ side yet to settle under new coach Dan McKellar.
By contrast, the visitors have found some shape under new defensive coach Lee Radford and, with them also excelling with ball-in-hand, have the potential to grab a repeat victory.
Under 50.5 points @ 10/11
Northampton might be throwing the ball about but their two away games have not produced the points some of their play has deserved.
A 20-15 defeat at Sale and a 16-14 win at Newcastle leaves their away games averaging 32.5 points.
With last season’s meeting only producing 37, there could be merit in backing a relatively low-scoring affair and Under 50.5 points feels viable.
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