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Africa Cup of Nations Semifinals Preview, Projections & Bets Bets: Back Senegal, Cameroon to Reach Final (Feb. 2-3)

Africa Cup of Nations Semifinals Preview, Projections & Bets Bets: Back Senegal, Cameroon to Reach Final (Feb. 2-3) article feature image
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Visionhaus/Getty Images. Pictured: Egypt star Mohamed Salah.

We’ve reached the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a few blowouts and one extra time winner from Egypt.

The final four of the competition features a star-studded matchup between host Cameroon and Egypt, while the other showdown pits pre-tournament favorite Senegal playing longshot Burkina Faso.

QUARTER-FINALS ✅

SEMI-FINALS ⏳

Plenty of entertainment is upon us 🤩#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | @1xbet_ENG pic.twitter.com/eyMQ8oNpDf

— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 30, 2022

There are a couple interesting storylines surrounding the semifinals. Can Cameroon win the title in their own country? Will Liverpool teammates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah Salah meet in the final? Can Burkina Faso crash the party and get to the final as big underdogs like they did in 2013?

Needless to say, there’s a lot to sort out in what should be a very entertaining semifinal round. So, without further ado, let’s get into the projections and previews of both matches.

AFCON 2022 Semifinals Projected Odds

Burkina Faso vs. Senegal

Burkina Faso Odds +400
Senegal Odds -120
Draw +230
Over/Under 1.5 (-140 / +110)
Day | Time Wednesday | 2 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Burkina Faso has been a nice story, winning on penalties against a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-less Gabon side and then beating Tunisia in the quarterfinals despite getting outplayed in the match.

Now, they have to take on the pre-tournament favorite and the best AFCON left in the field. Senegal started the tournament slow, scoring only one goal throughout the entire group stage. However, that didn’t mean they weren’t creating chances. In those three group stage outings, Senegal created 3.73 expected goals, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Then things started to change in the knockout round.

Senegal breezed past Cape Verde in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win and followed that victory by ending Equatorial Guinea’s Cinderella story, trashing them by a 3-1 margin in the quarterfinals. This is an interesting matchup, because Senegal hasn’t seen a team like Burkina Faso in this tournament.

Burkina Faso 1-0 Tunisia: 1998, 2017 and now 2021 (…in 2022) Burkina Faso sure love knocking Tunisia out of the AFCON at the quarter-final stage.#TeamBurkinaFaso move to the semis of #AFCON2021, where they await the winner of Senegal vs. Equatorial Guinea. pic.twitter.com/i1vM4K7l87

— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) January 29, 2022

Senegal likes to do a lot of build-up play with a lot of passes, trying to get the ball to Sadio Mané. They have the third-most 10-plus passing sequences in AFCON, while Mane himself has created seven chances in six matches. On the flip side, Burkina Faso plays the exact opposite way, as they have zero build-up attacks and 16 direct attacks, which is the most of anyone in AFCON, per Opta.

The problem with that style of play is if you run into a team that has a good defense and can press successfully, like Senegal can, you’re very exposed at the back. Senegal is fifth best in PPDA and have forced the third most high turnovers in AFCON. So, its a bad matchup for Burkina Faso, similar to their loss to Cameroon in the group stage.

The talent gap between these countries is massive as well. According to transfermarkt.com, Senegal’s total transfer value is just under $377.5 million, while Burkina Faso is a touch under $84.1 million.

I have Senegal projected at -226, so I love the value on them at -120 odds and will make them my top pick.

Pick: Senegal ML (-120)

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Cameroon vs. Egypt

Cameroon Odds +115
Egypt Odds +295
Draw +210
Over/Under 1.5 (-150 / +120)
Day | Time Thursday | 2 p.m. ET
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Cameroon has been one of the more dominant teams, creating a whopping 10.86 xG in five matches, while only conceding 4.81 xG overall, per Opta.

The host country has a lot of talent on their squad with the likes of Beşiktaş’ Vincent Aboubakar and Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi as an attacking pair, who have been running rampant throughout the Africa Cup of Nations.

The only concern with Cameroon is have they been tested? Their toughest match so far was against Burkina Faso in the group stage, while Egypt faced the likes of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Morocco. However, Egypt is way overdue for some negative regression and it’s time for their run to end.

Most goals for #TeamCameroon at #AFCON2021

6 – Vincent Aboubakr
5 – Karl Toko Ekambi

Deadly combo 🇨🇲⚽️ pic.twitter.com/GxGKfNpFMR

— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) January 29, 2022

In those three matches against Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Morocco, Egypt lost the xG battle in regular time to all of them. They’re going to be on very tired legs having to play back-to-back 120 minute games and Cameroon will have an extra day rest.

Through five matches at AFCON, Egypt has a -0.8 xGDiff and have only created 4.53 xG with the best attacker in the world on their team. The problem is he has no talent around him, which allows opposing teams to isolate him on the pitch. Salah has created the most chances of anyone in the tournament, but has also only created 2.02 xG total in five matches.

So, with Egypt running on fumes going up against the host side in the capital of Yaoundé in front of the Cameroon faithful, their run is likely going to end here.

I have Cameroon projected at -113, so I like the value on them at +115 odds.

Pick: Cameroon ML (+115)

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