England vs Nigeria Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Alex Greenwood.
England vs Nigeria Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-106 / -118)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+150 / -200)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
England entered the tournament as the second-favorite to win the Women's World Cup and began the knockout stage as the betting favorite. The English won all three matches in their group stage by a combined score of 8-1, finishing with a 6-1 thrashing of China on the final day of play. The path has opened up a bit for them in terms of opponents, with England placed in the weakest of the four remaining quadrants of the bracket.
The Lionesses cannot overlook Nigeria though, who advanced from a difficult group that included Canada and Australia and showed in both of those matches that they will not be an easy out. These two nations will meet on Sunday to determine the fifth of the eight spots in the quarterfinals that begin on Friday.
England are a solid 1.5-goal favorite on the spread and close to -300 on the three-way moneyline, but given how well Nigeria have profiled as an underdog in this tournament, the Super Falcons are live to give England a very difficult battle.
England Facing Questions Ahead of Tough Knockout Stage Opener
The biggest question mark for England entering this World Cup was how they would deal with all of their injuries. The loss of midfielder Fran Kirby, top defender Leah Williamson and striker Beth Mead before the tournament forced Sarina Weigman to go deeper into her bench to find production. The English then lost Kiera Walsh to a knee injury during the group stage. Although she avoided major injury, her status remains in doubt for the match against Nigeria.
Rachel Daly and Alessia Russo were expected to score the goals for England in place of Mead, but Lauren James has been one of the big surprises of the entire tournament with three goals. She now has a real chance in the Golden Boot race too if England go as far as the betting markets suggest they may.
Despite three victories and a clean group stage, the English attack hardly dazzled in two of its three matches. They created less than 2 non-penalty xG against Haiti and finished the group stage with just the ninth-most xG created of 32 teams in the field. Given the overall strength of the group was pretty weak and England struggled to separate from Denmark in their most difficult match, you can see how some see Spain and Japan as the in-form teams to potentially win the entire tournament.
England's form since Weigman became manager is stellar, and it's clear that their tactical plan and organization gives them an advantage over most international sides. However, it's also true that England won the Euros at home despite being outplayed in the underlying box score sheet in multiple knockout stage games — including the final against Germany.
Nigeria an Exciting Team Following Group Stage
Nigeria were one of the first upset teams to book their spot in the round of 16, but unlike Jamaica, Morocco and South Africa, their advancement was fully backed up by the underlying data. Nigeria played a good stretch of the group stage without their best player and striker, Asisat Oshoala, and yet they still played two very even contests with Canada and Australia. The Super Falcons managed a draw with Canada after Christine Sinclair missed a penalty kick in the first match, but the underlying box score was basically dead even.
Canada created 0.7 xG compared to 0.5 for Nigeria, total shots were 15-11 Canada and the Canadians had just eight more touches in the attacking penalty area. Nigeria were comfortable in their low defensive block without possession in that match, and they repeated the tactical showing against Australia in the second match.
This time, Nigeria scored twice in transition in the second half, outplayed Australia in the underlying box score until the game was 3-1, and then held onto the lead to secure all three points. The historic 3-2 victory meant that Nigeria needed just a draw on the final day, and they held just 41% possession but comfortably drew Ireland 0-0.
Looking back, Group B was the most difficult from top to bottom given the quality of Ireland and Nigeria, with Canada and Australia also both in the top eight for betting odds this tournament.
England vs Nigeria Pick
Nigeria closed +1.25 against Canada and then closed +1 on the road at Australia (without Sam Kerr or Oshoala) in the second match of the group stage. The Super Falcons outperformed expectations in both matches and are now priced as an even bigger underdog against England in the round of 16.
I understand that England re the tournament favorite now and have earned a high market rating due to winning the Euros, but Nigeria's comfort in defending without the ball and their dangerous transition attacks should help them remain competitive with England.
The English will control most of the possession and create more of the chances, but Nigeria are still being disrespected by the market and should be closer to +1 on the spread here. They've been competitive with other top nations in both this tournament and friendlies, and I think they will be close enough to at least cover the +1.5 and maybe pull the large upset in a tournament that has been excellent for underdogs thus far.
The Picks: Nigeria +1.5 (-110) | Nigeria to advance (+600 or better)