oops, actually, 2n+1. holiday tiredness.
mathematically, it should do the same thing
2n+1= 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15... (n->0)
I am thing the hover is NOT the problem ( as long as you have an anchor inside the LI!), so this would be an easier way to target those specific element using a shortcut ('odd') that may not be supported by some UA.
if you are trying to do: li:nth-child(odd):hover , (no A) , well i am not sure that would work in Safari. Saf seems to act oddly about things like this.