The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues Friday as Iceland and Nigeria go head-to-head in Group D action following surprising results on both sides in the opening matches. Iceland’s 1-1 draw vs Lionel Messi and Argentina shocked fans and media alike, while Nigeria’s 0-2 loss to Croatia was certainly surprising given the lack of opportunities Nigeria had to score.
Let’s take a closer look at where the value’s at in this match.
What to Watch For
Betting on the Draw: Odds — at 3.13 — indicate there’s a 32 percent chance of a draw. AccuScore sims have a draw in 41 percent of matches, suggesting some noticeable added value on the draw.
The average score in sims is 0.7 – 0.6, in favor of Iceland.
Making History: Alfred Finnbogason made history by becoming the first player to score a World Cup goal for Iceland. The striker helped his side earn a surprising 1-1 draw vs Argentina. Finnabogason tied things up just four minutes after Sergio Aguero put Argentina up 1-0
Eagles Must Soar: Nigeria’s opening performance vs Croatia is so far one of the more disappointing results. They were listed as underdogs, sure, but the Super Eagles struggled to create any sort of opportunity. With the loss, Nigeria almost needs a win to ensure they still have a chance to make it to the Round of 16; a draw is not a result they’re looking for in this one.
Make It Count: Iceland only had possession of the ball 22 percent of the time vs Argentina, but still found a way to get on the board and keep Argentina to just one goal themselves. Iceland reportedly made 500 fewer passes than Argentina, but still created plenty of scoring opportunities. Their game plan is to sit back and wait for the right chances to initiate their counter attack; watch for a similar strategy vs Nigeria.
Finnabogason has close to a 30 percent chance to net the ball as he averages 2-plus shots overall per AccuScore sim, 0.76 shots on goal per, and 0.34 goals per sim.
Nigeria is projected to be led by Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo. Iwobi has a 15 percent chance to score, compared to Ighalo’s 14.5 percent chance. Iwobi averages 1.69 shots overall per sim, 0.89 shots on goal per, and 0.16 goals per sim; Ighalo averages 1.97 shots overall, 0.80 shots on goal per, and 0.16 goals per sim.
The odds — at 1.58 — indicate there’s about a 63 percent chance the total combined score stays below 2.5 goals. That’s exactly the percentage of AccuScore simulations that hit the UNDER on 2.5 goals. There’s no ‘added’ value on the pick, but the high probability confirms the confidence most books have on this pick.