Scotland momentum undeterred by Nigeria friendly match-fixing threat
Scotland are unbeaten in five international matches, winning four, but lost their only previous meeting with Nigeria. Gordon Strachan’s side are 12/5 outsiders to upset the Super Eagles in friendly action, amid rumours of a match-fixing plot.
It is sad that such allegations have to be given the oxygen of publicity, but the game goes ahead nonetheless, and Coral make the Super Eagles 6/5 favourites for a win in this World Cup warm-up encounter. A draw is priced at 11/5.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has a number of British-based names on his preliminary roster for the Brazil finals, and they will all want to impress him in different areas of the pitch, so they nail down starting spots for Group F.
In defence, the likes of Celtic’s Efe Ambrose, Norwich loanee Joseph Yobo and young Kenneth Omeuro, who is owned by Chelsea, will be targeting a clean sheet against Scotland. They are 7/5 to do just that at Craven Cottage.
Midfield pair John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, also on the Stamford Bridge books, are freed up from more defensive duties at club level, and could both chip in with goals. The former has as many in 51 caps for his country, as he had during his entire club career at the Blues – both four.
Odds of 8/1 make Mikel an outside shout to net anytime, while Moses is 2/1 off the back of a respectable one in three scoring ratio for the Super Eagles in the same market. Stoke’s Peter Odemwingie will also want to make the most of his recall, and is 13/2 to get the first goal.
If it’s Scottish scorers you fancy, then be wary of parting with money on Leigh Griffiths, who may not be fit to start. Derby trio Craig Bryson, Craig Forsyth and Chris Martin have a bitter play-off final disappointment to work out of their systems, and this seems the perfect stage for that.
Striker Martin is set to make his international debut here, and is 2/1 to cap it with a goal anytime. Box-to-box midfielder Bryson, meanwhile, is even better value a 4/1. Between them, this pair scored 41 times for their club.
Leading Championship marksman Ross McCormack will surely be involved too. He was one shy of the 30-goal barrier in all competitions for Leeds this term, so being a 6/1 shot to score first, or last, is massively tempting.
Punters cannot rule Scotland skipper Scott Brown out either. He has developed a nice habit of netting for his country, with two in as many matches. Odds of 13/2 for the Celtic midfielder to add to that purple international patch are tempting.
Right-sided player Ikechi Anya faces the country of his father here, and that is real motivation for the Watford wideman to make an impression. He is 10/3 to give the Tartan Army a second international to celebrate after breaking his duck against Macedonia last September.
A third 1-0 win on the spin for Strachan is a 15/2, while a repeat of Nigeria’s famous Pittodrie victory (2-1) from 2002 is a 9/1 chance, but Scottish momentum can continue here.