Home » Nigeria vs Ivory Coast predictions: Africa Cup of Nations final betting tips, odds and free bets

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast predictions: Africa Cup of Nations final betting tips, odds and free bets

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast predictions


The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations draws to a close on Sunday evening and for the first time in 18 years, the hosts have reached the final with the Ivory Coast aiming to delight the majority of those in attendance by beating Nigeria (8pm, Sky Sports Main Event & BBC Three).

The Elephants’ run to the final on home soil wouldn’t look out of place as a piece of sporting fiction, comprising a record home defeat, the sacking of a head coach mid-competition, a remarkable victory over the tournament favourites and a last-gasp quarter-final success.

Their 1-0 semi-final win over DR Congo was easily their most routine game since the tournament’s opening contest and leaves them just 90 minutes from a fairytale finish to their Afcon 2023 journey. 

Five of the last six host nations to reach the final have gone on to lift the trophy, but football betting sites make the Ivory Coast underdogs to pick up their third Afcon crown.

Opponents Nigeria have already beaten the Ivory Coast once at this tournament, edging them out 1-0 in the group stages, and are odds-on to take home the title for the fourth time.

The Super Eagles defied pre-tournament expectations that they might struggle to reach their first Afcon final since 2013 and look well-equipped to spoil the Ivorians’ party plans.

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Nigeria to ruin Elephants’ big night

Nigeria’s run to the final started with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea before four wins to nil on the spin, setting up a semi-final showdown with South Africa.

Jose Peseiro’s side had looked on course for another win and clean sheet before Teboho Mokoena’s 90th-minute penalty for Bafana Bafana sent the game to extra-time and, ultimately, penalties.

The Super Eagles held their nerve from 12 yards to win their sixth Afcon shootout, a record that could stand them in good stead ahead of what could be a tight final. 

There wasn’t a great deal between Nigeria and Ivory Coast when they met in the group stages with William Troost-Ekong’s penalty enough to settle the game in the Super Eagles’ favour.

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They probably just about deserved the win having registered 1.72 expected goals to Ivory Coasty’s 0.57, but it was another tense encounter between two teams with a history of close games – six of the last eight meetings having been decided by one goal.

Given the history between the sides, the pressure on Ivory Coast from an expectant nation and Nigeria looking a little nervy in their semi-final when generating a tournament-low 0.65 expected goals, it shapes up to be a nail-biting encounter.

At the prices, Nigeria are a tempting option on betting apps to win in 90 minutes. However, the more conversative and safer bet may be to just back them to lift the trophy, meaning you are covered whether the Super Eagles win in regulation time, extra time or penalties.

Ivory Coast have been a basket case of a team at Afcon and while they looked more organised in their semi-final win over DR Congo, keeping only their second clean sheet of the tournament, they weren’t truly tested by a nervous Leopards team.

The Elephants have some match winners in this squad, most notably Sebastian Haller, who has scored three times at Afcon, and the in-form Max Gradel. 

But Nigeria also have players who can snatch this final away from the Ivory Coast with a moment of individual brilliance in Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze and Ademola Lookman. 

The difference between the two is that Nigeria have shown themselves to be far more organised than the Ivorians, conceding just two goals at Afcon, and that defensive solidity, coupled with their match-winners, can make all the difference in tournament football, particularly in a final.

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast Tip 1: Nigeria to lift the trophy – 10/11 with Betfred

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History points to cagey decider

Amazingly, given they’ve won two of their four previous Afcon finals, Ivory Coast have never scored a goal in the title decider. 

All four of the Elephants’ previous finals finished goalless and went to penalties, which remains a distinct possibility for the 2023 showpiece game. Afcon finals have a history of being extremely cagey with 15 of the last 19 finals producing fewer than three goals. 

Betting sites are expecting another low-scoring decider with under 2.5 goals a best price of 4/9, which won’t come as a surprise given that bet has landed in a combined 11 out of 12 matches for the finalists at this tournament. 

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Those odds don’t hold much appeal, but of more interest is for this game to feature exactly one goal at 5/2 with bet365.

The Afcon final has been decided by a single goal eight times, including four of the last eight title-deciders.

One goal has been enough for Nigeria to win three of their six Afcon matches and given we have some good finishers on show in the final in the likes of Haller and Osimhen, there’s a chance someone converts one of the few opportunities that are created.

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast Tip 2: Total goals exactly: One – 5/2 with bet365

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Look out for Lookman

No one has had more shots on goal at Afcon than Osimhen, yet from his 24 efforts, the Napoli striker has just one goal to show for his efforts.

He’s also only hit the target with a little over 20 per cent of his efforts and even though he’s likely to keep on trying his luck, there’s little value on the 4/9 on offer with bookmakers for him to have a shot on target.

Far more interesting is Lookman’s price of 11/8 to hit the target after an excellent string of displays in the Afcon knockout stage.

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The Atalanta man has scored three times across Nigeria’s last three games and has registered a shot on target in each of their knockout matches. 

He’s hit the target with 50 per cent of his shots on goal at Afcon, having linked up with the squad following a productive season in front of goal for Atalanta.

Lookman poses a big threat to an Ivory Coast team with the third-highest expected goals against figure (6.6) at Afcon.

Nigeria vs Ivory Coast Tip 3: Ademola Lookman over 0.5 shots on target – 11/8 with bet365

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Get a free bet on the Africa Cup of Nations final

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Chris is an experienced sports betting writer who has worked with most major bookmakers and national media outlets, such as Racing Post and ITN. He covers a wide range of sports with his favourites being NFL, rugby, football and Formula 1.