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2022 Africa Cup of Nations Odds & Preview: Senegal & Algeria Top Favorites

Gary Gowers

by Gary Gowers in Soccer News

Jan 8, 2022 · 6:18 AM PST

Algeria fans
Algeria fans celebrate after their team winning the Arab Cup final soccer match against Tunisia at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. Algeria won 2-0. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • 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

Nation Odds
Senegal +400
Algeria +500
Ivory Coast +700
Egypt +800
Cameroon +900
Morocco +900
Nigeria +1100
Ghana +1400
Tunisia +1600
Mali +2300
Burkina Faso +4000
Guinea +4000
Gabon +5000
Cape Verde Islands +7000
Gambia +7000
Zimbabwe +10000
Guinea-Bissau +15000
Ethiopia +25000
Mauritania +25000
Equatorial Guinea +30000
Malawi +30000
Comoros +35000
Sierra Leone +35000
Sudan +35000

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.

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.

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.

Most Recent Winners of AFCON

Year Nation
2012 Zambia
2013 Nigeria
2015 Ivory Coast
2017 Cameroon
2019 Algeria

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.

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.

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.

AFCON Predictions

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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