The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues Saturday as Group D takes center stage with Croatia and Nigeria matching up in what’s expected to be one of the more competitive matchups of the first weekend.
Let’s take a closer look at where the value’s at in this match.
What to Watch For
Youth: Nigeria is a team on the rise with a roster filled with young talent — including Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho. Keep an eye on their ever-so-reliable counter attack to make an impact in this match.
Nigeria’s Secret Weapon: Fans should keep an eye on Wilfred Ndidi. Premier league fans may be familiar with his time at Leicester City, but at just 20 years of age, he’s got a chance to make an impact on the global level.
Struggles on National Stage: Croatia, despite its talent, has been largely inconsistent historically. They have never advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup in 20 years.
Last Hurrah: More likely than not, this will be midfielder Luka Modric’s last World Cup appearance, entering the tournament at 32 years old. He’ll lead a midfield of Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic.
Simeon Nwankwo and Alex Iwobi are projected to lead the way for Nigeria in their opening match. They each have approximately a 10-to-11 percent chance of netting the ball, with both of them — along with Joel Chukwuma Obi — averaging 0.11 goals per simulated match.
For Croatia, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic are projected to lead the way. Kramaric has a 28 percent chance of scoring as he averages over 2 shots overall per sim, 1.06 shots on goal per, and 0.33 goals per sim. Perisic averages more shots overall than Karamaric with 3-plus per sim, but he has fewer shots on goal per sim (0.27 vs 0.33).
Odds — at 3.70 — indicate there’s a 27 percent chance of a draw. AccuScore sims, however, have a draw in 33 percent of matches, suggesting some added value on the draw.
The average score in sims is 1.11 – 0.55, in favor of Croatia.