Nigeria Can Contend In Competitive Group

Nigeria Can Contend In Competitive Group article feature image

Nigeria National Team

The Odds

  • To win the World Cup: +22500
  • To win Group D: +1000
  • To advance to Round of 16: +250

Bet To Watch

Nigeria to score over 2.5 goals -135 

Nigeria qualified for the World Cup for the fifth time in their last six attempts, making the Super Eagles the most regular entrant from Africa since USA ’94. And Gernot Rohr’s side will be hoping to make their way out of the group stages for the second time running. They were the first team from the continent to book a place in Russia despite being drawn in the fabled ‘group of death’ alongside reigning AFCON champions Cameroon and a talented Algeria squad. Nigeria made light work of their opposition in some cases but had their record blemished by a 3-0 defeat awarded against them for fielding an ineligible player in what had been a 1-1 draw against Algeria.

Their qualification was assured regardless, and while some will deem their draw this summer as unfavorable, a competitive group could yet see one of the underdogs progress. Argentina are certainly far from infallible, and Nigeria will take great confidence from a 4-2 win over the South Americans in a friendly late last year. While Iceland may prove party poopers in the sense that they will look to keep matches very tight, Croatia are another side with an attack that is stronger than their defense.

That’s certainly true of this Nigeria side, too, who showed their best and worst sides in a recent warmup match with England. In the first half, Rohr’s charges were totally outplayed and out-maneuvered, with midfield runners cutting through their defense with ease. However, when the Super Eagles matched up to England’s 3-5-2 formation, they looked far more organized and indeed the better side, eventually clawing one goal back in a 2-1 defeat.

It’s unlikely that the coach will line up his side in the same fashion at the tournament, but Nigeria’s ability to adapt will have been encouraging and should ensure that their impressive attacking players get the opportunity to flourish regardless. As such Nigeria aren’t likely to sit back like many of those hoping to upset the odds this summer, so the goal-line market in a group of somewhat questionable defenses could be one to exploit.

Odds of – 135 on the Africans to score a total of three or more goals (over 2.5) across their three group matches represents value to me and would be my angle on the Super Eagles ahead of the tournament, who scored in all six of their games to make it this far.

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