Nigeria has emerged as one of the biggest sports betting markets in Africa. This article looks at the most popular sports at free betting sites in Nigeria.
When it comes to sports, Nigerians have a culture of excellence. As the seventh most populous nation globally, the West African giant has produced several sportsmen and women. However, an often overlooked aspect of Nigerian sports is its betting industry. According to a 2019 report, over 60 million Nigerians have active sports betting accounts. This is attributed to the huge number of smartphones in the country. The report evaluates the Nigerian sports betting industry at $2 billion, making it one of Africa’s biggest markets.
While sports originally began as a means of entertainment, the Nigerian population is actively exploring another vital function: the opportunity to make money. Countless Nigerians have become millionaires via sports betting and lottery, with several more seeing it as a means of escaping economic hardship. This is evident in the prevalence of betting shops in the country, with one betting company or the other sighted on every street. Whether via mobile phones, laptops, or betting shops, Nigerians are steadily trying to profit from their love for sports.
The passion and affinity for sports aren’t so hard to notice as kids actively play football on fields, empty streets, and compounds. Many Nigerian kids get soccer balls as their first toys, particularly if they are male. While their counterparts in other countries may play with action figures, legos, and game boys, Nigerian boys are showered with soccer balls that they use to socialize.
In this article we look at some of Nigeria’s most popular sports betting markets.
As with most territories globally, soccer is the most popular sporting activity in Africa’s largest country. Makeshift soccer fields and balls are widespread, with youths using it as a pastime, entertainment source, and sometimes a breakthrough. Soccer found its way into the Nigerian hemisphere through the colonial masters and has become part of the Nigerian culture. The country has produced several soccer players revered at home and abroad, including NwankwoKanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, who starred for Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain. The Super Eagles, as the national team is called, has featured in several World Cup editions. The Nigerian youth team also won the 1996 Olympics soccer event. Some popular soccer betting options include goal overs, correct scores, corner kicks, win-draw-win, and cards.
Another top sport in Nigeria is basketball. While it’s uncertain via what path basketball entered the country, the Nigerian D’Tigers team was formed in 1964 and has gone on to feature in numerous basketball competitions across the globe. Some researchers attribute the country’s love for basketball to the emergence of Hakeem Olajuwon in the NBA. Being a Hall of Famer in America’s most recognized sport, Hakeem Olajuwon became a rallying figure for his countrymen back home. Nowadays, secondary schools in Nigeria participate in organized basketball competitions sponsored by Milo and other brands. With basketball, the popular markets are points overs. Thus, you can bet on the total number of points to be scored by each team, both teams, or an individual player.
Fist fighting has always been part of the Nigerian sports culture. Historical analysis suggests that Dambe Boxing, wrestling, and other forms of hand-to-hand combat were mainstays in Nigerian culture even before the Europeans came in. As a result, professional boxing was well received into the country back in 1947. Many Nigerians are boxing fans and recall crowding around a television to watch the likes of Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson, and Joe Frazier. The country has had its fair share of boxing champions, including Bash Ali and Samuel Peter, who once held the WBC heavyweight title. Presently, the GOtv boxing championship is the only recognizable national boxing competition. Punters who specialize in boxing games have it harder as they have to pick outright winners or the round in which the bout ends.
Coming fourth on the list of huge sports betting markets in Nigeria is Tennis. Although very few Nigerians play tennis professionally, punters are always on the lookout for the next ATP and WTA tournaments lookout. Popular tennis competitions such as the US Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon receive huge attention as fans long to see Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal’s faces. Perhaps another reason why tennis is popular among Nigerian punters is due to its relative ease. Unlike soccer, where there is a likelihood of the game ending in a draw, tennis games always have a winner. Also, you can bet on the number of sets to occur in a match.
These are the top four sports that feature on bet tickets in Nigeria. Other sports that are beginning to feature include athletics, rugby, and UFC, thanks to KamaruUsman and Anthony Njokuani. Whatever sports you choose, you’re likely to find a Nigerian punter who knows one thing or the other about it. A cursory look through social media shows that Nigerian sports bettors have created communities on Twitter and Telegram to share betting tips, ideas, and selections.
Consequently, the love for sports betting has made the country a hotspot for sports betting companies who are in a constant battle to win Nigerian punters’ hearts. As of the writing time, there are over 30 sports betting operators in Nigeria, with many others springing up daily. Some bookmakers offer free bets to entice punters and cement their place at the top of the betting game. With free betting sites, punters can wager bets without having to make deposits. Basically, you’re able to stake and win money without making any payments whatsoever. Free betting sites come with certain terms which you should read before accepting.