Cap generates 3 checks, temple 1, pretender 2, prophet 1. So if he rolled really well with an awake pretender, or had high dominion (thus likely to roll well) it's like ~5 vs 2 average. Negligible actual difference, significant percentage difference.

That sounds too low, so there's probably more checks in the first few turns to get you started. To the Wiki?!

Also remember that intel reports are off by up to 50% for most nations at the moment. If you see 10 troops in the next province it could be 20! Or if you see 300 it could be 150. Stealthy troops, certain dominions, scouts and spies all have effects on this in one way or another.