Football lovers all over Nigeria were ecstatic when the presidential task force on Covid-19 authorised the resumption of contact sports. After last season was interrupted and eventually cancelled, everyone is hoping that the new season can be completed without any similar problems.
The NPFL Season so far
With the current season now nine matches old, positions in the league table are starting to stablilise and it is possible to predict which teams are likely to fare well, and which will struggle.
At the time of last season’s cancellation, the top three teams in the league standings after points were recalculated in relation to games played, were Plateau United, Enyimba and Rivers United. Of those three, Plateau United are struggling and currently sit in 13th place in the table, whilst the other two teams have continued their good form and sit in the top two positions.
Towards the bottom of the table, another season of struggle seems likely for Adamawa Utd as they again find themselves filling the bottom position. Possibly the biggest surprise to date this season has been Kwara, improving from a second bottom finish last season to currently sitting in third spot, just three points off the leaders.
The next round of fixtures in the NPFL takes place on Sunday 14th February. Here are the predictions and tips for some selected matches taking place.
NPFL Predictions and Tips
Kano Pillars vs MFM
MFM started the season well with two wins in their opening three league games. However, since then they have only been consistent in their averageness. Their six matches since have resulted in four draws and two defeats; hardly the sort of performance one expects from a team with aspirations of climbing the table. MFM lost their previous match at home to Heartland 2-1 last weekend.
The Kano Pillars have continued their good form of last season and currently sit in fourth place. They have won four of their last six matches, and kept clean sheets in five of their nine league matches to date. Given their recent form and league standings, they are likely to win this battle.
TIP: Kano Pillars to win.
Abia Warriors vs Enugu Rangers
The Enugu Rangers have started the season well, winning five of their nine games and only conceding six goals in the process. Their recent match against Dakkada FC ended in victory by three goals to nil, in their most impressive performance of the season to date.
Abia, on the other hand, have certainly seen better days. This season has been rather disappointing with only one win, which came at the start of this month. In that match they faced the Sunshine Stars and pulled off a resounding win by four goals to one, but that has been the one bright spot in their gloomy season. The Warriors have drawn three matches and lost their remaining five this season. As a result, it would be a major surprise if they can win the Valentines Day match against Enugu.
TIP: Enugu to Win.
Adamawa United vs Ifeanyi Ubah United
On the subject of losing teams, Adamawa tops the lot; quite the only thing they are likely to top this season! With a total of seven losses and no wins (along with two draws), the club is showing no improvement from last season’s bottom place finish. Regardless of how poor their opponent’s play may be, it is advisable to bet on anyone but this club winning.
Despite their opponents also struggling this season, our prediction favours Ifeanyi Ubah United. They have two wins, five losses and two draws so far. They lost their last match 1-0 to the high-flying Kano Pillars and previously drew 1-1 against Heartland. Whilst this is not encouraging, there is hope yet for the club and they will not find a better opportunity to get another win.
TIP: Ifeanyi Ubah United to win.
Heartland vs Lobi Stars
This match should prove entertaining. Heartland have had a tough to the season with just three wins to date, however they were victorious in their most recent game, defeating MFM 2-1.
The Lobi Stars have made an average start to this season and sit just three points above this week’s opponents. They are proving hard-to-beat, only losing two matches, but have drawn four of their nine games. This durability makes them likely to defeat Heartland in the upcoming match.
TIP: Lobi Stars to win.
Katsina United vs Jigawa Golden Stars
Katsina United find themselves in the lower reaches of the table, winning just one of their last five games. Last Sunday they were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Akwa United, and their season tally of 13 goals conceded is the second highest.
Jigawa have fared slightly better and currently sit in mid-table. Of their opening nine games they have won four and lost four, with just one match ending in a draw. Through our careful analysis, we predict that the Jigawa Golden Stars will come out on top in the forthcoming match.
TIP: Jigawa Golden Stars to win.
Wikki Tourist vs Sunshine Stars
This features two teams currently sitting in mid-table, just separated by a single point. This follows a similar pattern to last season where these teams also finished close to each other in the final standings for the curtailed season.
This season, Wikki Tourist have so far won three, drawn three and lost three, but their matches have been low scoring affairs. They have scored just seven goals and conceded five in those games. Two of those losses came in their opening three games, so recently their form has improved.
On the other hand, the Sunshine Stars have been more entertaining, scoring eleven and conceding twelve goals in their opening games.
The Sunshine Stars have won this meeting on the last four occasions and for this reason, together with their greater firepower, we believe they have a better chance of winning this match than their opponents and our advice is for an away win.
TIP: Sunshine Stars to Win.
NPFL Match Postponements
The NPFL league matches featuring Plateau United and Enyimba have both been postponed this week as they are competing in the CAF Confederations Cup play-off round.
Ironically, they are playing in other in a two-legged play off decider to decide which of them will represent Nigerian interest in the group stage of this competition. The play-off legs take place over the next two weekends, with the group stage commencing in March.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
Marathonbet wishes you the best of luck as you bet this weekend.
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