Leicester Tigers' season starts, in earnest, on Saturday as their Rugby World Cup stars return for the visit of Harlequins.
The Tigers have won just one of their four outings so far in the 2023/24 Premiership campaign and face a Quins side who are aiming for a fourth victory in a row.
The visitors also hand a first start of the season to Marcus Smith. However, Welford Road will be rocking at the sight of Handre Pollard, Ben Youngs and Freddie Steward, among others, and a first home win of the season could be on the cards for the East Midlands outfit.
Leicester Tigers vs Harlequins Prediction
- Leicester -5 Handicap @ 4/5
- Under -50.5 points @ 10/11
Leicester welcome back World Cup winners Pollard and Jasper Wiese, while England stars Steward, Youngs, Dan Cole and Ollie Chessum also return. Tongan Solomone Kata also makes his first start for the club after a cameo last weekend.
Quins name Smith in their run-on XV for the first time this season, while England colleagues Jack Walker and Danny Care return to the bench. Their own World Cup winner, Andre Esterhuizen, also returns and features as part of the replacements.
Leicester are 8/15 to grab the victory on Saturday, with Quins 9/5 to win at Welford Road for the second straight season, while a tie is 22/1.
Eight of their last nine meetings have been settled by eight or fewer points, so perusing the winning margin markets could interest punters, with Leicester 15/8 for 1-12 Inclusive and Quins 11/4 in the same market.
Leicester -5 Handicap @ 4/5
Leicester were off the pace in last Saturday's 32-17 defeat at Saracens but their returning players should elicit a significant improvement in their performance, especially as they are all match-sharp.
Quins will not be cowed by the prospect of travelling to Welford Road and they were excellent in last weekend's 40-12 victory over Newcastle Falcons, their third win in four outings.
Only a TMO call cost them in their only defeat at Gloucester and after a rollercoaster 2022/23 season, there is real hope for a more consistent campaign this time around.
Smith and co will present a real threat to the Tigers but there is likely to be a feel-good factor around the hosts on Saturday and they should grab their first home success of the campaign.
Under -50.5 points @ 10/11
A look at the two XVs shows that these sides are well-matched and there is always a chance they could cancel each other out.
Of the last eight meetings, nine have been separated by eight or fewer points, while the last four have produced 46 points or less.
Considering the pair's recent history, it could be worth following that thread, with under 50.5 points a real possibility.
Check out the rest of our Rugby Union Betting Tips here.