Nigeria vs. Iceland, 11 a.m. ET, FOX

  • Nigeria +181
  • Iceland +185
  • Draw +219

Bet To Watch: 

Nigeria +181

Thursday’s match against Nigeria is a prime opportunity for Iceland to stay in second in Group D and better their chances of advancing to the Round of 16. After the Europeans earned a solid point against Argentina in the opening game, a win or draw against Nigeria would put destiny in their own hands in the final group match vs. Croatia.

Iceland were mostly stifling against Argentina despite having to save a Lionel Messi penalty kick in the second half. They also looked threatening on long balls and set pieces, but weren’t really able to create sustained possession for a big portion of the match.

Nigeria are the youngest team in the tournament and looked that way at times in a 2-0 loss to Croatia. They weren’t able to connect in the final third and conceded both goals off Croatian corner kicks: one directly and one from a foul leading to a penalty kick. Set pieces could bite them again against Iceland, but after seeing the Croatians dismantle Argentina on Thursday, the overall result may not feel that bad.

I figured the first group matches would create some public perception for both squads, and we’ve got the data to back it up. Nearly 60% of bets have come in on Iceland (+188), while Nigeria (+181) have received just 20% of the bets. The remaining 20% are obviously on the draw (+213). Public bettors like the fact that Iceland drew the first match and Nigeria lost.

It’s rare to see such lopsided action on one side when two teams essentially have the same odds to win, but I’m looking to take advantage of it. I was high on Nigeria entering the tournament, and this is a great buy-low, contrarian spot to bet them. There’s no question they need to be better on corner kicks, but I think they can figure things out offensively. I wouldn’t be counting out Nigeria yet, so look for them to get a much-needed result.

Follow Dan McGuire on Twitter
@ArsenalDMC