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Nic Ladds 10th Jan 2010 - 19:07

Elephants all set to trample their oppostion

Two games on Monday from the African Cup of Nations for you to enjoy with action from Group A before the first game from the now-depleted Group B due to Togo withdrawing.

Malawi v Algeria - 13:30 live on Eurosport

Rank outsiders for the tournament Malawi face a tough opener against an Algeria side who will be looking to put in a big performance as they prepare for the World Cup and they are 6/10 to get off to a winning start in Angola.

Malawi's odds of 11/2 to win the game tell you much about their perceived chances as they have just one player, Russel Mwafulirwa (10/1 for first goal) who plays in Europe and they only scraped through to the tournament proper after gathering just four points in qualifying.

English fans may interested in this game as Algeria of course will be one of England's group opponents in the World Cup and they have some more familiar names in the shape of Portsmouth duo Nadir Belhadj (14/1 for first goal) and Hassan Yebda (12/1) while striker Abdelkader Ghezzal (9/2) plies his trade for Siena and Rangers' coveted Madjid Bougherra partnered with Belhadj gives the defence a solid look.

A draw at 5/2 could be the best Malawi can hope for but more realistically it will be a shock if Algeria cannot get off to a winning start and as a results correct scores of 2-0 at 5/1, 3-0 at 9/1 and 3-1 at 11/1 look more realistic.

If you don't like the match odds then the handicap market could provide you with a good bet at a more backable price with Algeria -1 goals at 17/10 looking a great bet to ensure the tournament outsiders face an uphill battle after the opening game.

Malawi v Algeria betting

Ivory Coast v Burkina Faso - 18:15 live on Eurosport

With Togo out of the group a victory in this game becomes all the more important with one less game to play and 9/1 chances Burkina Faso will need something special to beat 3/10 Ivory Coast.

The Elephants are the tournament favourites and rightly so with a strong squad of established European stars and they are expected to put in a big performance at the World Cup so surely an African Cup of Nations should be within their reach?

Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte used to work under Jose Mourinho and has turned his side in to a decent outfit, winning nine of their 12 World Cup qualifiers before falling rapidly from grace against Ivory Cost in their group, losing 3-2 then 5-0 in the two legs.

Youssouf Kone (8/1 for first goal) and Mououni Dagano (9/1) will provide the attacking threat for the underdogs and Dagano in particular could threaten the opposition's back line and scored 12 goals in the World Cup qualifiers and may attract interest at 10/3 to score anytime.

Didier Drogba will be the first name on a lot people's lists for first goal scorer and the Chelsea man is 10/3 to open the scoring. He is one of many options which includes Aruna Dindane (9/2), Salomon Kalou (11/2) and Yaya Toure (14/1) and with Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure marshalling the defence, it is not hard to see why Ivory Coast are hot favourites.

Goals could be on the menu with 8 of the last 12 games involving these two sides featuring over 2.5 goals, including the head-to-head games and over 2.5 goals at 8/11 looks a great bet, while correct score punters could do worse than backing Ivory Coast to win in a high scoring game with 2-1 13/2, 3-1 at 10/1 or 4-2 50/1 while a repeat of their 5-0 win is available at 25/1.

Ivory Coast will be keen to advertise their World Cup credentials on this stage and if they can't comfortably take this game then it will be a major upset and the best bet could be the Elephants -1 goal at 10/11 while no one should be put off backing Drogba to score first at 10/3.

Ivory Coast v Burkina Faso betting


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