The latest technology advancements have significantly influenced the sudden rise of several online industries in the African countries, South Africa and Nigeria namely. These two countries have been the fastest to react to the global changes and they are currently considered as highly opportunistic territories for investments in the bountiful range of niches.
Sports betting, especially its online form, is by no means an exception. We have witnessed a massive rise in its popularity over the last several years. Since the Internet is now widespread and available across most of the Nigerian territory, the world's leading sports betting operators got plenty of room to react. They have embraced the chance and decided to extend their business lines to an unexplored region. Nigeria are now home to a great portion of the most popular sports betting companies in the world, including most of the UK giants.
We have explored the market looking to find out what are the sports that attract the most attention of the local bettors.
Football is King
With all due respect to other sports, football (soccer) is No 1 in the world. It is almost impossible to find a kid who does not love football in Nigeria, and we can fully say football is by far the most popular sport in this country. We can all remember several iconic magicians who wore the "Super Eagles" shirt over the course of history. Rashidi Yekini, Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Tiyani Babangida, and Obafemi Martins have all left a strong impact in their respective clubs. Nigeria hosted the African Cup of Nations on two occasions (in 1980 and 2000 respectively), while they welcomed the best U17 teams of the planet at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2009.
Based on such a reputation, it is not hard to conclude that football is by far the No 1 sport for betting in Nigeria. Thanks to the aforementioned rise of the online betting industry, the locals are in for a tremendous array of betting markets. With most of the industry-giants present on their soil, the Nigerians can fully explore their offers.
Knowing the specific competition is one of the top 5 online sports betting tips. This is where the range of leagues and competitions comes in quite handy. The local punters can test their football knowledge by predicting the outcomes of matches in the local football league or choose one of the top five European leagues (among others). Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, FIFA World Cup, African Cup of Nations, etc. are all up for grabs. The list goes on and on and involves most European, South American, Asian, and African leagues.
As for the markets, Nigerians mainly go for the simplest, full-time winner, option. However, we have to mention the wide variety of options here, going from Over/Under and Asian Handicap to the Number of Corners and Shots on Goal bets.
Basketball Coming Second
Although they have never been competitive on a global level in this sport, basketball has a special place in the hearts of Nigerians. After all, the country gave birth to the NBA Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. The former Houston Rockets star has been one of the biggest names in the sport at his prime.
Basketball is much faster sports than football and as such offers a much broader range of betting options in terms of the lines. Nowadays, the bookmakers come up with anything from 180,5 to 240,5 in the Over/Under market. The odds depend on the line, but you can back a certain match to offer more points than expected and get better odds at a less favorable line.
The player performance market has also been significantly popular lately, especially for NBA matches. The Nigerians usually have their favorites and back certain players to put in a strong performance on the evening. For example, they have frequently backed Giannis Antetokounmpo to score more than 30 points in his matches for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Boxing – Massive Impact of Dambe Boxing
The earliest days of the Nigerian sports culture are usually associated with Dambe Boxing. It was a way for people to demonstrate masculinity and build a personal honor and prestige in local villages. The activity quickly became an inevitable part of all local festivals and this is where the Nigerians' passion for boxing derives from.
Boxing is certainly not among the most popular sports for betting in the world, but it takes a high place in Nigeria. We live in times where you can easily find any boxer’s fights on the Internet. You can study their techniques and get a better look at their chances against a particular opponent.
Besides the match winner market, you can bet on the total number of rounds and the way in which the fight will be finished.
Although its popularity is nowhere near the one of football and basketball, rugby has been one of the favorite sports to bet on for the Nigerians. The local sportsbooks have received a huge number of bets during the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Track and Field
In reality, no other sport is relevant when it comes to this list. The majority of bets go on football, while some portion belongs to the three above-mentioned sports. Nevertheless, we feel track and field is the way to finish the list because Nigerians are usually pumped up during the major tournaments in athletics. This is, however, the only period when bookmakers can expect the Nigerian betting action on this specific sport.