BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - Tahiti face an uphill battle as they make their Confederations Cup bow against African champions Nigeria. The mostly part-time squad qualified for the competition by finishing top of the pile at the 2012 Oceania Nations Cup.
Nigeria, meanwhile, lifted the African Cup of Nations with a 1-0 final victory over Burkina Faso, and in the process, securing their entry to the 2013 Confederations Cup. This Group B opener is heavily weighted in favour of the African side and the odds reflect this.
Coral and Ladbrokes offer a top price of 1.08 on a Nigeria win. Tahiti, who are ranked 138th in the world (below Sudan, Belize and Vietnam to name a few), are chalked up at a massive 34.00 with Paddy Power to take all three points. The draw is available at 12.00 with BetVictor.
The Super Eagle's preparation's for the Confederation's Cup has been far from smooth as a row over unpaid bonuses left the players on a verge of a strike. However, the squad has arrived in Brazil and should prove far too powerful for a Tahiti side used to mixing it with the likes of New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
Nigeria have a youthful look about them these days and have built their recent rise to prominence on pace and power. Ahmed Musa and Brown Ideye have pace to burn and will pose a threat from wide areas with Sunday Mba the central creative talent.
Alongside Mba in the centre of the park is usually the Chelsea duo of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses - but Moses will miss the tournament through injury giving Ogenyi Onazi a chance to deputise. Finally, Bundesliga striker Josepha Akpala looks set to play the lone striker role.
The 24 year-old Nigerian midfielder Sunday Mba catches my eye in the goal scorer markets. Mba has netted five goals in 13 appearances for the Super Eagles and scored the decisive goal in the AFCON win - you can back Mba at 2.10 with Ladbrokes to score anytime (short as 1.40 elsewhere).
Tahiti are made up of part time players although Marama Vahirua, who plys his trade in France for Nancy, will be a key player for the 2012 Oceania Nations Cup holders. Nevertheless, Tahiti look way out of their depth here.
Nigeria to win the game to nil looks a solid bet and I was surprised to see Paddy Power offering an industry best price of 1.57. Tahiti will look to play damage limitation and it would be a shock to see them score a goal, let alone snatch any kind of result.
Nigeria to win 5-0 is priced up at 10.50 with BetVictor and looks good value. An early goal should see the floodgates open although stakes should be kept minimal as correct score markets are a minefield at the best of times.
If Nigeria harbour any ambitions of finishing above Spain or Uruguay in Group B they will need to lay down a marker in their opening game. Tahiti, meanwhile, will just be happy to be competing against such illustrious company.
The game kicks off at 8p.m. BST on Monday 17th June 2013 and is live on BBC Three.
Mark Smith's bet on this game: 4pts on Nigeria to win to nil at 1.57 with Paddy Power
Mark Smith's bet on this game: 2pts on Sunday Mba to score anytime at 2.10 with Ladbrokes
Mark Smith's bet on this game: 1pt on Nigeria to win 5-0 at 10.50 with BetVictor