2022 Africa Cup of Nations Odds & Preview: Senegal & Algeria Top Favorites
- The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Cameroon on Sunday, January 9
- Senegal start the tournament as favorites, ahead of Algeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Cameroon
- We list the odds, preview the tournament and offer some picks
The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Sunday, January 9 at 11:00 am ET when hosts Cameroon, take on Burkina Faso in Olembé.
AFCON, as it is known, is a biennial soccer tournament played on the continent of Africa; their equivalent to the Copa América and the UEFA European Championships. It was scheduled to take place in early 2021 but, for obvious reasons, was pushed back a year to 2022.
We preview the tournament, look at the favorites and any potential outsiders, and offer some picks for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
African Cup of Nations 2022 Odds
|Cape Verde Islands||+7000|
Odds as of January 7 at BarStool.
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Senegal Kicks Off as Favorite
Senegal start as +400 favorites to win the AFCON and, on paper, have the strongest squad in the tournament; one led by Liverpool striker Sadio Mane but which also includes Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace) and Ismaila Sarr (Watford). In fact, their squad is packed with talent from across all five of the top leagues in Europe.
CAN 2021 : 20 joueurs présents à la séance d’entrainement des Lions de ce jeudi pic.twitter.com/3RJ736kI0I
— Football (@FootballSenegal) January 7, 2022
The Lions of Teranga, as they are known, undoubtedly have the tools to win this competition but their preparation has not been without its problems, including a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp, and, statistically, this is a notoriously difficult tournament for the bookies’ favorites.
Mahrez Leading the Algerian Charge
Algeria, current holders of the crown, are pitched by BarStool as +500 second favorites, and look well equipped to defend their trophy. The Desert Foxes, whose squad includes Man City winger Riyad Mahrez, have the added advantage of having retained the core of the squad that won in 2019 and, in Djamel Belmadi, have a coach with the tactical awareness needed to win games of tournament soccer.
𝘐𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘴 ☺️ 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘱 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘯
منتخبنا الوطني يواصل التحضيرات قبل التنقل
الى الكاميرون🇨🇲#LesVerts #teamdz 🇩🇿👊🏼 #LesFennecs #TotalEnergiesAFCON pic.twitter.com/yq3RSq9arx
— FAF-Fédération Algérienne de Football (@LesVerts) January 6, 2022
Nigeria cannot be ignored either and are regular big-hitters in any AFCON tournament. With the Leicester pairing of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho leading their charge, they have high-level experience and quality in their squad but have been hit by the late withdrawals of Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. As direct neighbors of Cameroon, they will be well supported.
How much it means for Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi.
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) May 15, 2021
Most Recent Winners of AFCON
Home Comforts for Cameroon?
Cameroon, as hosts, are also in the mix and as five-time winners – most recently in 2017- they have the know-how to win this tournament, not to mention the backing of a noisy, boisterous home crowd. Their hopes rest mainly on the shoulders of striker Vincent Aboubakar.
The AFCON starts on Sunday afternoon in Cameroon 🇨🇲🔥
Who will be crowned the African Champions? 🙏🏆🤩 pic.twitter.com/TFYpf5m0yZ
— 90min (@90min_Football) January 6, 2022
Ivory Coast and Egypt, both bolstered by EPL players, are in the reckoning too and with Mo Salah arguably the best player in the world right now, the Egyptians have that invaluable touch of genius in their ranks.
Mali’s Succession Plan
For those who love an outsider, Mali is definitely worthy of consideration – especially at +2300. They have a squad that almost entirely plies its trade in Europe’s top leagues and, crucially, has been together for several years; winning the Under-17 African Cup, coming runners-up at the Under-17 World Cup and third in the Under-20 World Cups in 2015 and 2017. Those same players are now seniors and ready to compete at the highest level.
🇲🇱 Mali Football Federation has paid all bonuses to players ahead of the team's departure for pre-AFCON camping. The team is currently base in Saudi Arabia on training camp. They are in Group F with 🇬🇲 Gambia, 🇲🇷 Mauritania & 🇹🇳 Tunisia.#AfricaPredict #TipsForYou #AFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/3hGFgTDmWM
— AfricaPredict.com (@AfricaPredict) December 30, 2021
Also worth watching are Gabon, neighbors of Cameroon, who while considered minnows are led by Pierre Emerick-Aubamayang. While the Arsenal striker has had an unhappy season so far at the Emirates, he may thrive in the change of scenery and the fresh challenge before him.
Home advantage has proved considerable in this tournament over the years, which immediately brings Cameroon into the equation, but the strength and tactical know-how of the Algerians are impossible to overlook. For an each-way bet, Mali is well worth a shot and they certainly look capable of beating Tunisia to the top of Group F.
Picks: Algeria to win (+500) / Mali to win Group F (+155)
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