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Sport Who will win AFCON 2022? Betting favorites, group winners and futures odds

17:36  04 january  2022
17:36  04 january  2022 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations is set to begin January 9, about six months later than initially planned, but the tournament is finally here.

Players have departed their club teams to travel to Africa for the competition, and will begin training with their respective national teams ahead of the start of the tournament. After a pair of games on opening day, the group stage will see three or four games played per matchday.

The top two teams in each of the six groups will advance to the knockout stage, together with the four best third-placed teams based on points. The knockout stage begins on January 23 and it's a quick turnaround for every subsequent round, with the quarterfinals on January 29, the semifinals on February 2, and the championship and third-place games on February 6.

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AFCON 2022 odds: Who will win it all?

The tournament field is wide open. Of the 24 teams that qualified to the tournament, seven of them wrapped up qualification without a loss. And qualifying was tight, with 10 of the 11 qualification groups decided by a mere one- or two-point margin. Teams were battling for AFCON berths until the final day.

Algeria is the defending champion, led by Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, who was at times unplayable in the 2019 edition. They will face stiff competition, however, from Egypt as well as Senegal , both led by Liverpool stars (Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane).

The Ivory Coast squad has a number of recognizable names, and Morocco is captained by Wolves stalwart Romain Saiss. Nigeria romped in qualifying, but it will be without its biggest star in Cameroon: Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is still recovering from a serious facial injury.

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Here are the top 10 teams projected to win it all with odds courtesy of DraftKings and BetMGM:

Nation BetMGM DraftKings
Senegal +550 +450
Algeria +600 +550
Egypt +600 +650
Ivory Coast +750 +800
Morocco +900 +800
Nigeria +800 +1000
Cameroon +800 +1000
Tunisia +1600 +1400
Ghana +1400 +1400
Mali +2200 +1800

BetMGM's futures market also features odds for teams to reach the final. They are essentially the trophy-winning odds cut in half:

Nation BetMGM
Senegal +250
Algeria +275
Egypt +275
Ivory Coast +325
Morocco +400
Nigeria +350
Cameroon +350
Tunisia +800
Ghana +700
Mali +1100

AFCON 2022 Group Winners

Group winner odds are available via DraftKings and BetMGM, with the latter sportsbook's odds showcased below. (The odds are only related to winning the group, not advancing from the group.)

In addition to being the slight favorite to win it all, Senegal is an overwhelming favorite to top Group B (-550). Algeria, Egypt and Morocco have longer odds to win their respective group given the quality of opposition they'll be facing.

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Group A Cameroon (-200) Burkina Faso (+300) Cape Verde (+500) Ethiopia (+2500)
Group B Senegal (-550) Guinea (+500) Zimbabwe (+1600) Malawi (+2200)
Group C Morocco (-145) Ghana (+180) Gabon (+550) Comoros (+4000)
Group D Egypt (-145) Nigeria (+115) Guinea-Bissau (+2200) Sudan (+4000)
Group E Algeria (-200) Ivory Coast (+150) Equ. Guinea (+3300) Sierra Leone (+4000)
Group F Tunisia (-185) Mali (+150) Gambia (+2000) Mauritania (+3300)

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AFCON 2022 Top Scorer

There are plenty of household names among the star-studded squads in Africa this January.

Nobody in the tournament has more international goals than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah . Algeria's attack is loaded, with Man City's Riyad Mahrez joined by Baghdad Bounedjah , who had four goals in qualifying and owns an incredible goalscoring record with Qatari club Al-Sadd, bagging 128 goals in 108 games.

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Ivory Coast also has a number of key players in front of net, as in-form Ajax man Sebastien Haller is joined in the Elephants' attack by a pair of Premier League wingers in Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha . Haller has 12 goals in 17 Eredivisie games this season, but more impressively scored an incredible 10 times in six Champions League group matches as Ajax compiled a perfect record in the group stage.

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These are the 15 players with the shortest odds to win the top scorer award at AFCON 2022, courtesy of BetMGM:

Player Country Odds
Mohamed Salah Egypt +350
Sadio Mane Senegal +700
Riyad Mahrez Algeria +800
Islam Slimani Algeria +1100
Sebastien Haller Ivory Coast +1200
Vincent Aboubakar Cameroon +1200
Kelechi Iheanacho Nigeria +1400
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Gabon +1600
Baghdad Bounedjah Algeria +1800
Keita Balde Senegal +2000
Youssef En-Nesyri Morocco +2500
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting Cameroon +2500
Odion Ighalo Nigeria +2500
Taiwo Awoniyi Nigeria +2500
Andre Ayew Ghana +2500

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