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African Nations Cup Last 16: Egypt to continue their march towards glory

Liverpool and Egypt striker Mo Salah
Mo Salah has scored two goals in three games and will be the player his country look to for inspiration

After making a healthy profit during the group phase James Eastham looks at the best bets as some of the tournament's biggest names head into knockout action...

"Egypt have kept three consecutive clean sheets so far, which speaks volumes about the strength of their defence. A limited South Africa side failed to score in two of their three group games."

Best Bet: Egypt to Win to Nil vs South Africa @ 2.26/5

Heavyweight rivals difficult to split

Nigeria vs Cameroon
Saturday July 6, 17:00 BST
Live on Eurosport 2

Nigeria are favourites to win this clash of heavyweight sides but have yet to impress at the tournament. This means the smart choice on this match would be to oppose the Super Eagles in some way.

Nigeria finished second in Group B after a shock 2-0 defeat to tournament debutants Madagascar in their final game. The feeling persists that veteran manager Gernot Rohr has no idea how to get the best out of his talented squad of players, just as he didn't at the World Cup in Russia this time last year.

Cameroon have hardly set the tournament alight. They began with a 2-0 win over rank outsiders Guinea Bissau but failed to win or score in either of their next two matches, drawing 0-0 against both Guinea and Benin. Like Rohr, Cameroon manager Clarence Seedorf is struggling to get the most out of a decent squad of players.

Nigeria are 2.6613/8 to win, with Cameroon 3.211/5 and The Draw 3.02/1. There's no reason to make Nigeria favourites, so the smart picks are either The Draw, or Cameroon on the Draw No Bet market. We favour The Draw as there's so little to pick between these sides and it's likely to be a cat-and-mouse encounter between two teams hoping to pounce on mistakes rather than take risks of their own to win the match.

Under 1.5 Goals is the other bet to consider. Both these sides have scored just twice in three matches to date. Four of the six group games involving these teams featured no goals or one goal. Given the stats, plus the fact both teams are likely to take a safety-first approach, the 2.47/5 price on Under 1.5 Goals has plenty of appeal.


Hosts to march on despite critics

Egypt vs South Africa
Saturday 6 July, 20:00 BST
Live on Eurosport 2

Some home fans have yet to be convinced by Egypt but the hosts should be able to see off South Africa and claim their place in the last eight. Once again the Pharaohs will be able to count on tremendous support and have the quality to win in 90 minutes.

Despite the smattering of critics Egypt collected a maximum nine points from three group games, beating Zimbabwe (1-0), DR Congo (2-0) and Uganda (2-0). They're one of only six teams that scored more than once in two different games and keeping three consecutive clean sheets speaks volumes about the strength of their defence.

South Africa scraped through as one of the best third-placed teams after three entirely unconvincing performances. They nicked a 1-0 win against Namibia - one of the weakest sides in the competition - but lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast and Morocco in two games where they never looked like scoring.

Egypt are 1.68/13 to win in 90 minutes, with South Africa 7.613/2 and The Draw 3.8514/5. With Egypt such short odds to win it makes sense to look for other ways to make the hosts pay. The markets to consider are Egypt to Win to Nil at 2.26/5 and Egypt -0.5&-1.0 Asian Handicap at around 1.84/5.

Given that Egypt have the firepower to make the breakthrough at some point in regular time, how weak South Africa's attack has been and how solid Egypt's defence has looked, we favour the Win to Nil market.

James’ tournament P/L

Staked: 36pts
Returned: +41.05pts
P/L: +5.05pts

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