By the end of the weekend, the field for the 2013 African Cup of Nations will be set. 15 teams are currently playing a home-and-away series head to head to produce 15 qualifiers in addition to host nation South Africa. Over time, I have felt that home field advantage seems to be the strongest in Africa. Home teams always perform far better than their road counterparts. There are 3 teams Saturday which I feel provide strong value. Thought their odds are a little on the high side, I will be parlaying all 3 together to produce a better than even return.
Nigeria – The Super Eagles of Nigeria went on the road in Liberia and emerged with a 2-2 draw. While they did surrender a late goal, earning a draw on the road is something to be proud of. The last time Nigeria lost a home game to an African nation was 1981!! There is no worry of a loss here, only a draw. While FIFA ranking has Nigeria 35 spots ahead of Liberia, I have them 68 spots apart. Nigeria should win this game and qualify for African Cup of Nations 2013.
Tunisia – Like Nigeria, Tunisia was able to escape Sierra Leone with a draw. A win will put them through to the finals. Tunisia is another team that absolutely thrives on home advantage. For the past year, Tunisia has been beating African opponents by an average of 3 goals per game at home. While Sierra Leone has looked better recently, they really haven’t been challenged away from home. A loss at Sao Tome earlier this year is pretty bad. While FIFA believes these teams are only 22 spots apart in the rankings, I have them almost 65 spots apart. Tunisia should win this one as well.
Morocco – The one advantage Morocco will have Saturday is their result from the first leg. They lost by 2 goals on the road, which means they need to win by 2 goals to force extra time, or win by 3 to qualify directly. This fact makes it far more likely that they will win the game outright. Mozambique was able to score in the 93rd minute to give them a 2 goal lead, so Morocco knows it needs goals, and needs a lot of them. Mozambique knows that even if they lose 3-1, they will still qualify. Regardless of who qualifies, Morocco is a very strong bet to finish ahead Saturday in the final score.
Parlaying these 3 teams together will return you better than even money. I give each of these teams around an 85%+ chance for victory, which creates good value parlaying them together. This one has a very good chance of success.