The semi-final stage is here and after eliminating the tournament favourite, Nigeria now has the momentum and odds going its way when it faces Mali on Wednesday.This match features the winners of the 2011 (Nigeria) and the 2012 (Mali) third place matches at the African Cup of Nations, and both teams finished as runners-up in their respective groups in this year's competition. This match should be a game separated by only a goal if both teams continue their tournament trends.
Not many considered the Nigerians as serious contenders for this year's African Cup of Nations, but they have gradually played better as the tournament has rolled along and their big 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast on Sunday showed that they can beat the best on any given day.
The Super Eagles were 4.50 underdogs to win the match and anybody who wagered on them for the outright win along with an over 2.5 total goals were well rewarded. We also mentioned last week that Nigeria were a solid bet in the soccer futures at the quarter-final stage at 10.00, and I expect Nigeria to win here. With odds of 2.18 available it appears to be a decent pick, though value bettors will surely like the improved pricing of both the Nigerian first half lead at 2.78 and the away/away bet at 3.50.
The draw result after the end of 90 minutes is currently available at odds of 3.20 and 1.89 at halftime.
The Nigerians will face a rejuvenated Mali side who edged out hosts South Africa with a win in penalties on Saturday. Up until last year, Mali was not on the radar of many pundits but that changed after it secured third place in last year's competition. The team's performance is widely being followed by fans back home who are dealing with a military conflict, and the team will certainly utilize that as motivation for venturing into the final for the first time in 41 years.
The northwestern nation is currently slated at 3.90 to win this game in the outright market and 2.59 in the draw no bet offering. To win the entire tournament - something Mali has never accomplished - it can be taken at 5.50.
Mali has only generated three goals in all four of its matches, and no match with the team has gone over two goals, so don't expect any of the over bets to land here.
If you fancy a dream final with Nigeria and Ghana to progress then consider dropping $10 down for both teams to win, where you could land yourself just over $35 for the double-parlay.
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