AFCON final tips

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast AFCON final 2023 tips, odds and best bets

  • Jake (@JAKEOZZ) is +18.2pts in profit across AFCON 2023 so far

Football betting tips: AFCON 2023

1.5pts Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) to commit 1+ foul at 11/10 (Sky Bet)

1pt Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) 1+ shot on target at 2/1 (Betway)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast

Kick-off time: 20:00 GMT, Sunday

TV channel: BBC Three, Sky Sports Main Event

Home 17/10 | Draw 19/10 | Away 19/10

Given the way the tournament shook up, with a far from star-studded quarter-final line-up, this final between three-time AFCON champions Nigeria and tournament hosts Ivory Coast (two-time champions) is the best possible outcome for the event organisers, the fans both in Ivory Coast and the neutrals.

The Ivory Coast are looking to become the first host nation since 2006 (eight tournaments ago) to lift the trophy, and are also looking to be the first country win a major international tournament having sacked their manager midway through.

Ivory Coast's fans will be out in force once again
Ivory Coast's fans will be out in force once again

That's right, if you've missed any of AFCON, the host nation sacked their manager after their third group game - a record home defeat by Equatorial Guinea - and still advanced as the fourth best third-place team. They haven't looked back since under interim coach Emerse Fae, though every knockout round has featured some level of drama.

Nigeria had avoided drama until the semi-finals, cruising past Cameroon and Angola, though they needed penalties to beat South Africa. These two sides have played already this tournament in the second group game, with Nigeria winning 1-0 thanks to a penalty, but a heck of a lot has changed since.

What are the best bets?

The match odds tell the story here. We are likely to see an incredibly tight game between two sides who have shown defensive capabilities in the knockout rounds in particular.

Nigeria have allowed an average of 0.62 non-pen xGA per 90 in their three elimination games, with the Ivory Coast shipping a slightly higher 0.65. Though, it is worth noting that the host's have had the much tougher run to the final.

Alex Iwobi is heavily involved for Nigeria
Alex Iwobi is heavily involved for Nigeria

But, for our bets we are heading to different markets and focusing on one player - Nigeria's ALEX IWOBI.

He has been excellent for the Super Eagles throughout AFCON, playing on the left of a midfield two in a 3-4-3 formation. He's been asked to do a lot, and he has so far delivered.

This is going to be his toughest game of the tournament though, and the price of 11/10 available for him to COMMIT just 1+ FOUL looks overpriced, with the same bet 4/7 in places.

On the face of it this bet should be longer in price, with Iwobi having committed just one foul in six outings at AFCON, but that one foul did coming in their group game against Ivory Coast, and I think that's due to who he was up against and the close nature of the game.

Franck Kessie (on the ball) has exceptional close control
Franck Kessie (on the ball) has exceptional close control

He was, and will again, be up against Franck Kessie, who is excellent at drawing fouls due to his excellent close control and ability to drive with the ball. Kessie has been fouled 2.39 times per 90 minutes at AFCON, but in the three games since the managerial change where his role has changed slightly, he's won 3.86 per 90.

The match-up between Iwobi and Kessie could be key in deciding the game, with both looking to drive their team up the pitch, so chancing the Fulham midfielder to pick up at least one foul appeals.

Sticking with IWOBI, he is again too big in my book at 2/1 for a SHOT ON TARGET, the selection 11/10 in places.

Iwobi has taken seven shots at AFCON with two on target, but I think the game dynamics could lend itself to more pot-shots than big chances, which brings this selection into play.

Alex Iwobi is isn't scared to fire from distance
Alex Iwobi is isn't scared to fire from distance

All of his shots have so far come from beyond 18-yards, testing the keeper twice, and if this game does become one where when both teams attack the opponents sit fairly deep, then we could see him pull the trigger with few options on against a deep-ish block.

In their knockout games, Ivory Coast have conceded 31 shots with 15 of them (48%) coming from outside the box.

BuildABet @ 35/1

  • Ivory Coast to win the tie
  • Alex Iwobi 1+ shot on target
  • Alex Iwobi 1+ foul committed
  • Max Gradel 2+ fouls committed
  • Sebastien Haller 2+ fouls committed

CLICK HERE to back with Sky Bet

Travel, combined with a long and draining semi-final is one reason to look to oppose Nigeria. The other being Ivory Coast have faced a tougher schedule to get here, and have battled all kinds of adversity, plus they have an incredible home support to cheer them on.

Max Gradel has been keeping the referees busy
Max Gradel has been keeping the referees busy

Max Gradel has been among the fouls since being brought back into the team, committing 2, 2 and 3 in the host's knockout games. Sebastien Haller is also drawing plenty of whistles, committing an average of 1.7 fouls per 90 since being introduced after the group stage.

Team news

Tiredness could be an issue for Nigeria, who had a four hour coach journey to their semi-final game in Bouaké, played 120 minutes and penalties before a four hour journey back to Abidjan. Ivory Coast however played their semi-final in the same location as Sunday's showpiece and had no extra time or penalties.

Victor Osimhen overcame abdominal discomfort to play in the semi-final and should be fit to start here, and will likely be supported by Ademola Lookman and Moses Simon up top.

Victor Osimhen

Wing-back Zaidu Sanusi was dropped in the semis, with Bright Osayi-Samuel coming in, and he could keep his place on the right with Ola Aina filling in on the other flank.

Ivory Coast should continue with their 4-3-3, with Nottingham Forest's Ibrahim Sangare dropped in the knockouts for Hull's Jean-Michael Seri alongside stalwarts Franck Kessie and Seko Fofana.

Semi-final match-winner Sebastien Haller is likely to keep his spot up front, with elder-statesman Max Gradel and young Brighton winger Simon Adingra expected to again support him. All three of them have only started featuring more prominantly since the managerial change.

The hosts do get to welcome back their captain, Serge Aurier, for this game after he missed the semi-final due to suspension for accumulating yellow cards.

Predicted line-ups

Nigeria: Nwabali; Ajayi, Troost-Ekong, Bassey; Osayi-Samuel, Onyeka, Iwobi, Aina; Simon, Lookman; Osimhen

Ivory Coast: Fofana; Aurier, Boly, Ndicka, Konan; Kessie, Seri, Fofana; Gradel, Haller, Adingra

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