Ireland vs Nigeria Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview

Ireland vs Nigeria Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview article feature image

Stephen McCarthy/Getty. Pictured: Kyra Carusa.

Ireland vs Nigeria Odds

Monday, July 31
6 a.m. ET
Ireland Odds+225
Nigeria Odds+115
Over/Under2.5 (-120 / -120)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-150/ +110)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

Oddsmakers had Nigeria as the favorite to finish in dead last in Group B entering the competition, but Nigeria are now the favorite win the group entering the final day of group play.

Nigeria win the group with a win and can also win the group with a draw and a draw in the other match between Canada and Australia. They can also be eliminated from the tournament entirely if they lose and the other game goes against them too, which adds a ton of intrigue to this matchup.

Ireland were highly competitive with two superior teams in their first two matches but came empty in two tight one-goal losses. The Irish are eliminated from the tournament but still have a chance to play for pride and play spoiler on Monday.

If oddsmakers had Nigeria as the slightly worse team entering this group, have the two matches done enough to change course on that to make Nigeria a favorite in this one?

Ireland Competing Well Despite Results

Even with Katie McCabe scoring the goal of the tournament on an Olimpico straight from a corner kick, Ireland weren't able to hold off the Canadian second half surge as Canada flipped the match and won 2-1. Ireland had other chances at times in the match and really were the better side for the opening 30 minutes, but the Irish couldn't cope with the improved quality the Canadians showed once they made second half subs.

Ireland also really showed their attacking limitations once they trailed 2-1. They totaled five shots for the remainder of the match once trailing —  four came from outside the penalty area and one from a set piece. McCabe had a few slaloming runs and dribbles to try to create for teammates, but only on set pieces did they really appear to be threatening Canada late on in the match.

The Irish had shown solid defense and physicality in the pre-tournament matchups with more talented outfits, but they clearly had the least attacking talent of the four teams in this group coming in and it has cost them in the fine marginal moments.

Nigeria Maintaining Defensive Solidity

Nigeria did a really effective job in the match against Australia of conceding low quality shots. The Aussies took 28 shots and still only managed to get 2.2 xG despite half of that coming in the time when Australia trailed 3-1. They totaled 12 shots in the first half for example, but that only totaled 0.72 xG in total, which is 0.06 xG per shot.

Even after Nigeria came out tied in the second half, Australia had lots of possession in the Nigeria half but could not easily progress the ball into the penalty area or create a high quality chance. Part of that was Australia playing without Sam Kerr and Mary Fowler, but the Super Falcons' defensive organization and ball winning numbers in their defensive half really stand out when you dig into the advanced box scores of both matches of the group stage.

The calculus changes a bit for Nigeria now against a team where possession will be expected to be more even. Neither Nigeria nor Ireland have proven a consistent ability to progress the ball through high quality short passing in this tournament. They both rank in the bottom seven in percentage of short passes completed.

Nigeria are expected to have Asisat Oshoala back in the lineup for this match after she came off the bench against Australia, and that's a major boost to their overall attacking outlook and quality. She's taken five shots thus far and is a dominant player for Barcelona at the club level.

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Ireland vs Nigeria Pick

Both teams are in the bottom third in passes completed into the penalty area and carries into the box. I wouldn't expect to see a very adventurous or aggressive approach from Nigeria given the circumstances of the scenarios, but the defense is difficult to break down and Ireland have mostly lacked great shot production all tournament.

Although Ireland have nothing to lose and could play more open as a result of this, the game should play out relatively tight. There's not much to separate these two sides overall except attacking firepower that tips Nigeria as a slight favorite.

Given the low event nature of the matchup and Nigeria's likely content with a draw to advance, I'll bet draw at +240 or better without a real preference on the side in this matchup. Lower event matches increase the frequency of the draw as an end result.

The Pick: Draw (+240 or better)

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