Croatia’s and Nigeria’s soccer teams must position themselves to survive the the so-called “group of death.”
The teams will meet at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D opening game. Plenty of space separates 20th-ranked Croatia from 48th-ranked Nigeria on paper, but the game likely will be closer than FIFA’s latest pecking order suggests. After all, the teams reached round 16 at the 2014 World Cup, and many of the players have returned to the sport’s biggest stage for more.
Let’s look at the Croatia vs. Nigeria betting lines.
Current betting line (via OddsShark.com):
Croatia win: -140
Nigeria win: +425
Total goals: 2.5
NESN.com’s picks: Draw, under
Victory is a worthwhile pursuit, but avoiding defeat at all costs might be more important to Nigeria and Croatia than claiming three points, given the presence of Argentina in Group D. Expect a “feeling-out” period, which might last 45 minutes or more due to the respect Nigeria and Croatia will show to the attacking threat the other team poses. We recommend you bet on a draw.
The expected doubly cautious approach likely will put a damper on attacking play and goal scoring. Three goals is a lot to ask from this matchup. Bet the under.
Many predict Croatia will make a deep run at World Cup 2018.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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