This season of Premiership rugby will be like no other. Thirteen teams are competing for the first time and Saracens are back from the Championship to reclaim their crown. It should be an absolute thriller.

Here are the leading contenders for the 2021/22 crown.

Saracens and Exeter top betting

Saracens are back in the Premiership and it looks like they’ll take all the beating.

Joint at the top of the betting with two-time winners Exeter Chiefs at 9/4, Sarries have to be feared with all their big names raring to go after a season in the second tier.

The likes of Max Malins, Ben Earl, Alex Lozowski and Nick Tompkins, who went out on season-long loans, all return to the side, but there will be a host of absentees for the season-opener against Bristol Bears and they go into that clash as the 2/1 underdogs.

Joining Saracens at the top of the outright market are Exeter Chiefs, who were just pipped to the post by Harlequins in a thriller at Twickenham earlier in the summer.

The Chiefs were heavily fancied to overcome Quins in that final, and they had it all but sealed heading into the dying minutes. But when momentum swings one way in a rugby game it can really tell, and Quins were suddenly very tough to repel on the front foot.

A wounded animal tends to come back with plenty of fight and Exeter will be thirsty for redemption.

Can Harlequins go back-to-back?

Momentum from last season’s title win alone won’t carry Harlequins over the line again and other sides have stronger squads, but they can’t be discounted at 11/1.

Budding fly-half Marcus Smith, who is the 2/1 favourite to top score in the Premiership this season and looks the future of England’s backline, is their star-man and anything is possible when he’s given space.

Bristol Bears looks dangerous

One team that has gone from strength-to-strength in recent seasons is Bristol Bears, and they head into this campaign as 5/1 shots for the title with their strongest ever set of players.

They topped the table last year but, like Exeter, were undone by a majestic Quins performance when crashing out in the semi-finals.

Their squad is incredibly deep, and it should remain that way through the Six Nations months when many other sides become somewhat disarmed.

Check out all the latest rugby union betting odds at William Hill