Algeria vs Sierra Leone (Group E)
Tuesday, 13:00 GMT
Defending champions set to dazzle
African Nations Cup holders Algeria start the defence of their title on Tuesday and look a good bet to convincingly beat outsiders Sierra Leone.
Currently on a 34-match unbeaten run – the longest of any African side in history – Algeria go into the tournament in excellent shape and will be very difficult to stop.
Under manager Djamel Belmadi they’ve developed an unrivalled winning mentality and are fixated on securing a second consecutive African Nations Cup triumph.
Riyad Mahrez’s the star man but there’s balance and quality all over the side and a strong bench as well.
Rank outsiders Sierra Leone are unlikely to prevent an impressive Algeria win.
Sierra Leone are 100/1 to win the tournament, ranking them 16th out of 24 teams.
Algeria are 1.11/10 to collect all three points here, with Sierra Leone 28.027/1 and The Draw 9.28/1.
With the game a mismatch, the question is how to make Algeria pay.
Recent history shows Belmadi’s side are good at winning emphatically when facing weak opposition.
In 2021 Algeria faced mid- or lower-ranking African opposition in six games, and five times won by three or more goals.
They thrashed Botswana 6-0, Djibouti 8-0 (home) and 4-0 (away), and Niger 6-1 (home) and 4-0 (away).
Algeria’s competitive nature means they’ll instinctively want to win big, and any attacking players used off the bench will be keen to instantly impress as that’s the Algeria way.
The smart selection’s therefore to back Algeria to win by a considerable margin.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at an excellent price of 2.01/1 on the basis Algeria are highly likely to score three or more goals.
Alternatively, on the Sportsbook, look at the ‘Winning Margin’ market. Here, you can back Algeria to win by exactly 3 goals and Algeria to win by 4 or more goals, both at 4.3310/3. Back both, spltting your stakes across the two selections.
Nigeria vs Egypt (Group D)
Tue, 16:00 GMT
Tuesday’s second fixture is Nigeria vs Egypt and will attract plenty of attention. It pitches together Group D’s top two sides, and the market expects an even contest: Nigeria are 3.02/1 to win, with Egypt 2.915/8 and The Draw 3.02/1.
There are lots of uncertainty around these two sides, however, which is why we prefer to watch it rather than investing in it.
Nigeria sacked manager Gernot Rohr last month and we’re not sure yet how’ll they’ll line-up under caretaker boss Augustine Eguavoen.
Egypt boast the tournament’s star man in Mohamed Salah but we recommend taking a watching brief here in order to assess the standard of the rest of the largely home-based side.
Sudan vs Guinea Bissau (Group D)
Tue, 19:00 GMT
Sudan vs Guinea Bissau completes Tuesday’s action. Here, as with Nigeria vs Egypt, we prefer to assess the sides for now.
Guinea Bissau’s preparations have been disrupted by a covid outbreak within their camp that may keep several key players out of the game.
Ordinarily Guinea Bissau would be confident of winning, as they took four points off Sudan in two recent World Cup qualifiers (4-2 away win, 0-0 home draw).
The prices on this match reflect those recent victories: Sudan are 3.39/4 to win, with Guinea Bissau 2.526/4 and The Draw 2.962/1.
A slew of player absentees for Guinea Bissau may level the game up, however, so we prefer to leave this one alone.
Nigeria provide the largest contingent of Premier League based players in Tuesday’s games, with five.
William Troost Ekong (Watford) and Leicester City duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are key players, while Alex Iwobi (Everton) and Frank Onyeka (Brentford) may also feature.
For Egypt, Aston Villa’s Trezeguet is set to star alongside main man Mohamed Salah. Algeria have two Premier League representatives of their own: Riyad Mahrez will start on the right-hand side of a three-man attack, while West Ham’s Said Benrahma is normally a substitute.
Sierra Leone, Sudan and Guinea Bissau have no Premier League based players in their squads.