Can Argentina Flip the Switch Against Nigeria?
Argentina vs. Nigeria, 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, Fox
- Argentina -181
- Nigeria +565
- Draw +338
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Argentina have been a polarizing team this World Cup, even for their biggest supporters and backers (like me). They were downright embarrassing in a 3-0 loss to Croatia and were unable to keep their composure when things got the slightest bit difficult.
The disarray has ranged from top to bottom. There have been issues with their head coach, Jorge Sampaoli, as well as backup goalkeeping blunders, defensive mishaps, slow midfield play and a lack of creativity in attack. For a team as talented as Argentina, these things shouldn’t be happening, especially with Lionel Messi in the mix. You could visibly see the pressure and nerves getting to them as things became worse throughout the match.
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This was certainly not the start that Argentina was hoping for at the World Cup, but for as bad as things have been, they can turn it all around with a win over Nigeria. The African squad is the youngest in the tournament and also looked unimpressive against Croatia, although it did look much better in the second half of their 2-0 victory over Iceland.
The betting market has been fascinating to watch for this match. Public bettors have lost faith in the South Americans as they’re receiving fewer than 40% of moneyline tickets despite being -181 favorites. Nigeria are very trendy underdogs (+581), attracting nearly 50% of support, but the line has shifted toward Argentina since Sunday.
This is a rare spot to take a contrarian favorite while also following a bit of sharp money, and odds will likely rise by game time. Argentina can put the last two games behind them and flip the switch against Nigeria, but it will obviously take a better effort than they’ve shown.
This will be the fifth meeting between Argentina and Nigeria in a World Cup. Argentina have been victorious in the previous four, all by one-goal margins, including the match in 1994 at Foxboro Stadium, which I was fortunate to witness with my own young eyes.