Sebastien Haller playing for Ivory Coast

AFCON 2023 tips: Match day one fixtures, odds and best bets

Football betting tips: AFCON 2023

1pt Zambia to win (draw no bet) vs DR Congo at 10/11 (Unibet)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair

DR Congo vs Zambia

As mentioned in my outright piece, DR Congo are a team I'm looking to oppose at the tournament, and Zambia are a team I want to get onside where possible.

Avram Grant is the manager of Zambia, and they really are an improving nation. They topped their AFCON qualifying group ahead of hosts and third-favourites Ivory Coast.

Former Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham boss Avram Grant now manages Zambia
Former Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham boss Avram Grant now manages Zambia

Their form over the last 15 games shows a level of consistency that can see them be competitive at the tournament, winning nine and losing four, and I do feel they are better than the sum of their parts.

DR Congo have posted some poor results heading into AFCON, losing three and drawing three of their last seven despite playing a schedule of; South Africa, New Zealand, Angola (twice), Mauritania, Sudan and Burkina Faso.

On paper their squad and starting XI is stronger than Zambia's, but as the match-odds suggest, I'm not on my own in thinking these two are more closely matched than perceived, so backing ZAMBIA TO WIN DRAW NO BET appeals.

The bookies have this game as a toss up, whereas I'd make Zambia slight favourites, to Grant's side are value in my mind.

Odds correct at 1700 GMT (15/01/24)

AFCON matchday one fixtures

Saturday, January 13

Sunday, January 14

Monday, January 15

Tuesday, January 16

Wednesday, January 17

Betting tips already advised in matchday one:

  • 1.5pts Ivory Coast to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 vs Guinea-Bissau at 5/6 (Betfair)
  • 1pt Equatorial Guinea or Draw (double chance) vs Nigeria at 15/8 (Betfair)
  • 2pts Egypt win to nil vs Mozambique at evens (Betfair, Paddy Power)
  • 1.5pt BTTS in Cameroon vs Guinea at 23/20 (Betfair, 888sport)
  • 1.5pts Burkina Faso to beat Mauritania and under 3.5 goals at 11/10 (Sky Bet)
  • 1.5pts Mali to beat South Africa at 21/20 (Ladbrokes, Coral)

Ivory Coast vs Guinea-Bissau

Sebastien Haller playing for Ivory Coast
Sebastien Haller will star for Ivory Coast

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off with hosts Ivory Coast heavy favourites against Guinea-Bissau, a nation who have never won a game at the tournament and have failed to score in their last six AFCON matches; unsurprisingly they're Group A's rank outsiders.

The last edition of AFCON saw an average of just 1.81 goals per game, with the first round of group matches seeing just 12 in 12 fixtures so expect Ivory Coast to be faced with an opponent content to sit deep and frustrate.

Backed by home support and with superior quality they should come through though.

Given 35% of matches ended 1-0 two years ago that scoreline did tempt at 9/2, taking IVORY COAST TO WIN 1-0, 2-0 OR 3-0 at 5/6 with Betfair appeals for some added security.

At AFCON 2021, Guinea-Bissau were beaten 1-0 by Egypt and 2-0 by Nigeria, teams in the same bracket as Ivory Coast.

Since the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, they have played six fixtures against teams of this ilk and this bet won in four of those matches.

Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea

Nigeria are many people's fancy to go all the way at AFCON 2023, but proceeding with caution is advised.

Yes they have a lot of superstars in their squad, the likes of Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze to name a few, but in this tournament, names mean nothing, especially as there is little evidence that they can play together successfully.

Victor Osimhen leads the line for Nigeria
Victor Osimhen leads the line for Nigeria

That could all change and things could click into gear, but they are a team who head into the competition with questionable form, drawing with Saudi Arabia and edging out Mozambique in friendlies before two World Cup qualifying draws against Lesotho (ranked 148th in the FIFA World Rankings) and Zimbabwe (124th).

Their final game before AFCON was a 2-0 friendly defeat to Guinea, so at the prices I'm more than happy to oppose Nigeria with the underdogs here, backing EQUATORIAL GUINEA OR DRAW.

Equatorial Guinea are a solid team. They made it further than Nigeria at AFCON 2021, a campaign in which they beat the defending champions Algeria in the group stage.

Under manager Juan Michá, they boast a win rate of 62% across competitive matches, which includes AFCON and World Cup qualifiers, and they head into this game unbeaten in 10 when including friendlies (W5, D5), so are worth backing to avoid defeat and perhaps even cause an upset here.

Egypt vs Mozambique

The price of even-money for EGYPT WIN TO NIL in this game is simply too big to go unbacked.

The Pharaohs have won 12 and lost just one of their last 14 internationals, with 10 of those victories coming with an accompanying shutout.

Mohamed Salah warming up for Egypt
Mohamed Salah warming up for Egypt

Mozambique are an improving nation, but continue to struggle against Africa's best. They have played 13 games against such sides since November 2019, losing 12 times, failing to score in eight of those losses.

We should see a comfortable win for Mohamed Salah and co.

Odds correct at 1400 GMT (13/01/24)

Cameroon vs Guinea

Cameroon were the hosts at the last AFCON tournament, finishing third, but they will be remembered as the entertainers of the tournament.

There were 21 goals scored in their seven tournament games (3.0 per game), a huge increase on the tournament average of 1.81. They haven't really slowed down either, continuing with their gung-ho style that does leave them exposed defensively.

Vincent Aboubakar celebrates scoring Cameroon's winner against Brazil in the World Cup
Vincent Aboubakar celebrates scoring Cameroon's winner against Brazil in the World Cup

They have played 25 international games since March 2022 across all competitions, scoring in 18 and conceding in 18, highlighting their open nature, and those games have come against a mixed bag of opponents.

Guinea are head into this following a confidence-boosting 2-0 win over Nigeria just a week ago and they have found their scoring touch, netting in 12 of their last 15 internationals, meaning BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE looks a live runner on Monday.

Priced at odds-against, we are getting great value in a game involving Cameroon, Africa's entertainers.

Odds correct at 1400 GMT (13/01/24)

Burkina Faso vs Mauritania

Burkina Faso seem to have AFCON figured out. They have at least reached the semi-finals in three of their last four outings, building their success on being difficult to beat.

They head into the tournament in excellent form too against African sides, winning seven and losing just two of their last 13.

Burkina Faso's Bertrand Traore
Burkina Faso's Bertrand Traore

Mauritania are rank outsiders in group D, lost three out of three at the last tournament without scoring.

Two of those games saw UNDER 3.5 GOALS and that is a common theme when they take the field.

Nine of their last 10 have gone under 3.5, including a 1-0 defeat against tournament join-favourites Senegal.

They will keep this tight, but BURKINA FASO are happy to be involved in these kind of contests and taking them to triumph in a low-scoring game makes sense.

Odds correct at 1400 GMT (15/01/24)

Mali vs South Africa

MALI are one of my outright fancies for the tournament, and so seeing them at odds against TO WIN when playing a far inferior team makes great appeal.

They head into the tournament in great form under new manager Éric Chelle, winning eight of their last 10, with goals flowing for the Eagles. Across those 10 contests they have netted 22 times while conceding just six, so they are bang in form.

Mali and Tottenham midfielder Yves Bissouma
Mali and Tottenham midfielder Yves Bissouma

Mali have a lot of quality up and down the pitch, with their squad perhaps underrated.

South Africa have an AFCON winning coach in charge with Hugo Broos at the helm, he led Cameroon to glory in 2017, but don't possess much in attack.

Across their last seven games they have scored just four times. In that time they have played Namibia, a disappointing DR Congo, Eswatini, Benin, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Lesotho, hardly the toughest of runs.

Back the favourites to get their group campaign off to the best possible start.

Odds correct at 1400 GMT (15/01/24)

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