Argentina and international star Lionel Messi head home from the 2018 World Cup with a draw or loss against Nigeria in a critical Group D matchup that gets underway Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. Argentina is the heavy favorite, going off at -195 in the latest 2018 World Cup odds, meaning you would need to bet $195 on an outright victory to return $100. Nigeria is at +500 (risk $100 to win $500), while a draw would return +340. Sportsbooks have set the over-under for total goals at 2.5.
Before you enter your 2018 World Cup picks, you have to see what European soccer expert David Sumpter has to say. Sumpter is an applied mathematician who wrote "Soccermatics," a book that explains how math works inside the sport. Together with other experienced analysts, Sumpter developed the powerful Soccerbot model.
The Soccerbot reads current odds and all team performance data, calculates key metrics and predicts upcoming matches. In nearly three seasons since its inception, the Soccerbot is up an incredible 1,800 percent on bookmakers' closing odds.
It already has nailed plenty of 2018 World Cup picks already, including a draw between Australia and Denmark (+265), Senegal (+220) knocking off Poland, and Iran defeating Morocco at +275, just to name a few. Anyone who has followed it is way up.
Now, the Soccerbot has digested the film, crunched the numbers and broken down every single player on Argentina and Nigeria's rosters. The model has released a very strong money-line pick, which it's sharing over at SportsLine.
The model has taken Nigeria's strong showing in the 2018 World Cup into account. Nigeria beat Iceland 2-0 on Friday — controlling the possession for almost 60 percent of the game and winning the shooting margin by six. That helped negate a frustrating 2-0 loss for Nigeria in its opener against Croatia. Nigeria controlled the tempo for much of that matchup, but failed to find the net.
Now Nigeria controls its own destiny heading into this huge showdown. A win guarantees advancement to the Knockout Stages, while a draw would likely send Nigeria forward as well. A loss, however, ends its run.
Messi, the 31-year old phenom for Argentina, must come up huge to avoid a massive letdown for his home nation. The 14-year Barcelona star has tallied five career World Cup goals and an incredible 64 in international competition. He must lead the offensive charge if Argentina expects to advance.