Sports Betting Weekly

Ivory Coast v Ghana

When: Monday, 09 February 2015 @ 02:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Estadio De Bata
The final that most neutral supporters wanted to see at the start of the competition kicks off on Sunday as tournament favourites, Ivory Coast, and the highest CAF ranked team in the competition, Ghana, battle it out to see who will be crowned 2015 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

Despite both teams topping their respective groups to reach the knock-out stage, it’s fair to say that neither side really hit their stride until the quarter finals, where the goals really started to flow. Having scored just three times in the group stage, Ivory Coast doubled their goal tally for the tournament with a 3-1 win over Algeria and then plundered three more as they beat DR Congo by the same scoreline.

Similarly, Ghana were effective but workmanlike in Group C but threw off their shackles with back-to-back 3-0 wins against Guinea and Equatorial Guinea in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. As such, both sides will go into the final brimming with confidence and the wealth of attacking options in both teams should make for an entertaining final that promises plenty of action at either end.

Interestingly, the bookies are still sticking with the Ivorians in this one and have named Herve Renard’s men as 4/6 favourites to lift the trophy, but it is perhaps the 6/5 on Ghana that looks the more interesting option here. The Black Stars have been far and away the best side in the competition this year – scoring the most goals and keeping the most clean sheets – so odds-against prices should naturally be jumped on even against a side with the pedigree of Ivory Coast.

One possible reason for Ghana’s second-favourites tag is the doubts surrounding their captain and talisman, Asamoah Gyan, who was the victim of a reckless waist-high challenge from Guinean goalkeeper, Naby Yattara in the quarter-finals. Gyan was named as a substitute but did not feature in the 3-0 semi-final win over Equatorial Guinea, though you would fully expect Avram Grant to start his star striker against the Ivory Coast unless he is physically incapable of taking to the field.

Even if Gyan doesn’t make the cut, it’s not as if Ghana don’t have adequate back-up in the forward positions. Andre Ayew has been one of the players of the tournament with three goals so far and is currently still in the frame to win the golden boot at 28/5, while winger Christian Atsu scored a brace against Guinea and is priced at 57/5 despite needing two goals to win the award outright.

For the Ivory Coast, meanwhile, three players – Wilfried Bony, Max Gradel and Gervinho – are tied on two goals apiece for the tournament, with Bony the most favoured of that trio to lift the golden boot at 7/2. Regardless of who it is finding the back of the net on Sunday, it certainly looks as though both sides have goals in them, making prices of 31/20 on their being over 2.5 goals highly tempting, while a 2-1 victory for Ghana is our preferred scoreline at very generous odds of 12/1.