Between January 14 and February 5, 16 of the best teams from Africa will meet at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. With plenty of elite players from across the world taking part, bettors can look forward to two weeks of entertaining soccer. But what do the Africa Cup of Nations betting odds tell us? Read on to find out.
The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations betting odds
Before taking a look at the tournament structure and main contenders, here’s the top eight teams in Pinnacle’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner odds - the best available online:
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is Africa’s equivalent to Europe’s European Championship or South America’s Copa America - a continent based biennial soccer competition. Libya were the original tournament hosts but due to the country’s on-going war, it will now take place across four stadia in Gabon.
Having played through a rigorous qualification tournament, the 16 remaining nations have been divided into four groups. The top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals where the tournament takes on a knockout format, before the winner is decided on February 5 at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville.
Below is how the teams look ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations group stage:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Burkina Faso||Tunisia||DR Congo||Mali|
Analysing the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations betting odds
Not such a solid favourite
Ivory Coast is the favourite in Pinnacle’s Africa Cup of Nations betting odds and is currently priced at 5.08*. Last year’s winners have remained unbeaten in the last calendar year - excluding the African Nations Championship (a tournament that only features players from Africa’s national leagues).
Despite Michel Dussuyer’s side having had a good year on paper, there are still doubts about how Les Éléphants will perform - they have only managed draws against some of Africa's lowest ranked teams, such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
Although the Ivory Coast is a team built up of African soccer superstars, the lack of competitive game time for their players this season should be considered when looking at their Africa Cup of Nations winner odds.
The likes of Eric Bailly, Yaya Touré, Gervinho and Wilfred Bony are just a few of Ivory Coast’s household names, but as exhilarating as their attacking prowess may be, they have notoriously struggled at the other end of the pitch - a point emphasised by a 44% win rate in AFCON history, while conceding an average of 1.08 goals per game.
Can the hosts do the business?
Having co-hosted the tournament in 2012, Gabon were awarded the honour of hosting the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided that the tournament couldn’t be hosted by war-torn Libya.
Gabon might pin their hopes on record goal scorer and captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, but their Africa Cup of Nations winner odds have also been boosted by home field advantage - the benefit of playing in your own county is highlighted by the fact that the host nation has won 10 of the 30 tournaments in AFCON history.
At odds of 8.70*, bettors will be hoping Gabon can beat Cameroon to top spot in Group A and get a kind draw to help them progress further than the quarter-final they managed in 2012 - the best they have achieved in their history.
How important is history?
Previous success could be crucial when analysing the Africa Cup of Nations betting odds. Bettors who place value on past form need to look no further than Egypt - a side who have won the competition a record seven times.
Egypt has regularly featured as favourites in Pinnacle’s Africa Cup of Nations winner odds, especially when they won it three times in a row between 2006 and 2010. Since then, they failed to qualify for the previous three tournaments and haven’t matched the levels of performance that helped them dominate African soccer.
Odds of 8.90* reflect the fact that Egypt have struggled to emulate their previous success. However, they comfortably finished top of their qualification group without losing a game and could be back on the way up - it might be worth taking a chance on Egypt rediscovering past form.
Value in the Africa Cup of Nations winner odds
Ghana is quite far down the list in the Africa Cup of Nations betting odds at 9.73*. The Black Stars have been the model of consistency in recent years after reaching the semi-final or further in each of the last five tournaments - finishing as runners-up in both 2010 and 2015.
One of the most undervalued team’s in this year’s competition could be DR Congo (28.55*). After finishing third in 2015, the side managed by Florent Ibengé impressed during their qualification campaign. DR Congo’s relentless work ethic and cohesion amongst the squad make them more than just a hedging opportunity, they could win the tournament outright - even without the injured Yannick Bolasie.
Get the best value Africa Cup of Nations winner odds online at Pinnacle.
*Odds subject to change.