The 2017 Africa Cup Of Nations begins this weekend with hosts Gabon kicking-off the group stage in the capital Libreville against Guinea-Bissau. Here we give a brief preview of the tournament, along with a couple of betting picks for the three week long event, with pricing via our friends at bet365
Champions, Ivory Coast (7/2 outright) are once again favourites to win the trophy, having beaten Ghana in 2015 with “Les Elephants” head and shoulders above the rest in terms of form. Since the Brazil World Cup, they have lost just seven of forty-two games and are undefeated in the last twelve matches played, including a draw away to France and a win in Sweden. They are without question, the side to beat.
Bookmakers feel there are six sides that can challenge the favourites, with a Sadio Mane lead Senegal at 5/1 and Algeria, who feature Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and more, around 7/1 most likely to go close.
Hosts Gabon are too short in my opinion at 8/1, with a poor record of two wins in the last sixteen games, showing how ineffectual they are, even with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront. Elsewhere: Ghana, Egypt and Cameroon (all 9/1) will qualify from their groups, but are likely to fall at the semi-final stage at best.
Of the remaining sides in the tournament, Burkina Faso could surprise and qualify from group A, featuring hosts Gabon and an underperforming Cameroon, with "Les Etalons" worthy of a tickle in the "Quarter-final Elimination” market.
As is customary for the big tournaments, there are top goalscorer markets too, with a surprising favourite in Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at 5/1, who like his nation, look a little short priced to be honest. His record of 16 goals in 29 games is very good, but will he have the opportunity to bag a few in this tournament?.
With that in mind, I like Algeria’s Islam Slimani at 10/1 in an each/way bet for the top goalscorer spot. He leads the front line and has the creative talents of Riyad Mahrez in support. Algeria should at least hit the semi-final stage too, giving the Leicester player ample opportunity to climb the goalscoring chart.
Ivory Coast - Outright @7/2
Islam Slimani - e/w Top Scorer @10/1
Burkina Faso - To Reach QF - @5/2