Senegal vs Zimbabwe (Group B)
Mon, 13:00 GMT
Guinea vs Malawi (Group B)
Mon, 16:00 GMT
Morocco vs Ghana (Group C)
Mon, 16:00 GMT
Comoros vs Gabon (Group C)
Mon, 19:00 GMT
All games live on Sky Sports
Take watching brief on tournament favourites
Senegal are African Nations Cup favourites and we’ll get our first chance to judge if they look potential winners when they take on Zimbabwe on Monday afternoon.
Senegal are 1.364/11 to collect all three points, and it’s hard to argue with those odds when you see the talent in their ranks.
As well as a host of Premier League stars – see a full rundown of names below – Idrissa Gueye will have a key role in midfield. Look out, too, for Strasbourg striker Habib Diallo, in outstanding form in Ligue 1 this season. Potentially off the bench, Diallo could be a real asset for Aliou Cisse’s side.
At short odds, however, Senegal lack appeal this time. Covid concerns means there’s uncertainty over how the Lions of Teranga will line-up, so take a watching brief on the favourites.
The heavyweight Morocco vs Ghana clash is a better betting proposition. We make Morocco a good bet to win Group C and Vahid Halilhodzic’s side will certainly be worth watching.
Morocco’s strength is their defence: the Atlas Lions head into the tournament on a remarkable run of nine clean sheets from their last 10 matches. Morocco are 2.265/4 to collect all three points on Monday, with Ghana – soundly thrashed 3-0 by defending champions Algeria in their only warm-up friendly last week – 4.03/1 outsiders.
Looking at the shape the two teams are in, Ghana would almost certainly settle for a draw, so we could see a cagey game between a cast-iron defence at one end and underdogs happy to nick a point at the other. Under 2.0 on the Goal Lines market is the smart pick at around 2.01/1.
Underrated Comoros can cause upset
Guinea vs Malawi gives us the chance to see highly-rated striker Mohamed Bayo. Over the past 18 months, the Guinea front man has netted 31 goals in 56 Ligue 1 and 2 matches for Clermont in France at an excellent rate of a goal every 146 minutes.
We were happy to back Bayo at 51.050/1 to be the tournament top scorer, and this game hands the 23-year-old front man a great opportunity to get off the mark: a weak side, Malawi conceded 12 goals in six World Cup qualifiers this year. At 2.757/4, Bayo is worth backing on the Anytime Goalscorer market.
Comoros vs Gabon is an historic fixture as Comoros make their first-ever appearance in the finals. They might just spring an upset: their squad is packed with players that have done well in France’s second division, plus a scattering of other European leagues, over a number of seasons. Look out for playmaker Youssouf Mchangama, and winger Faiz Selemani.
Gabon arrive with massive problems on and off the pitch, not least of which is the fact that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to sit out the game after a positive covid test. Back Comoros on the Asian Handicap and you’ll make a profit if they win or draw. For a full guide to Asian Handicap betting, click here.
As many as 14 Premier League players may be in action on Monday.
Edouard Mendy, Cheikhou Kouyate, Nampalys Mendy, Ismaila Sarr and Sadio Mane are on duty for Group B favourites Senegal, while Liverpool fans will want to keep an eye on Naby Keita as Guinea take on Malawi in Group B’s other. Zimbabwe and Malawi have no Premier League players in their ranks.
In Group C, three Premier League players will star for Ghana: Leicester’s Daniel Amartey is expected to line-up in defence, while Thomas Partey and Jordan Ayew are key men for the Black Stars. In opponents Morocco’s ranks are Watford pair Adam Masina and Imran Louza, plus Wolves defender Romain Saiss, who will be wearing the captain’s armband.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Gabon’s talisman but may sit out their opening game vs Comoros after a positive covid test. That may open the way for 19-year-old Brighton striker Ulrich Eneme Ella – yet to make a Premier League appearance – to edge nearer the starting line-up.