So after a gruelling two-week endurance payday has finally arrived. For some of us, this journey started in December, but if you’ve only just joined the Eurovision 2015 betting frenzy, here’s a brief outline of some of the positions I have taken.
Slovenia kick off the show, and some months ago, they were considered a dark horse winner. The headphones and air-violinist from their national final have stayed, and since then, Maraaya’s momentum has waned. My position has been to lay Slovenia in the Top Balkan market available at Betfair.
France have sent their default old fashioned chanson to Vienna, but from slot 2 in the running order, it’ll struggle to attract enough televotes to keep it outside of the bottom-5. Lisa Angell’s vocals are strong, so it might just miss out on bottom spot; plus there are far worse songs to aim for. No bet.
Nadav Guedj’s Golden Boy has infected Eurovision. Other than Italy or Sweden, Israel are the most anticipated act in this year’s contest. Usually these upbeat party songs go nowhere, but in a Contest bereft of fun, even from the three hosts, Israel shouldn’t be ruled out for a top-10 slot. Back top-10 @ 2.62 with Boylesports.
I have always maintained that a song about an argument wouldn’t win Eurovision. The question for Estonia is, can they win Top Baltic? Again, I say no. I have laid Estonia in the Top-Baltic market on Betfair and recommend the same. Having said that, the quality of the song and staging package is fantastic, so top-10 should also be guaranteed.
Credit where’s it’s due, Bianca & Alex delivered a solid jury performance last night and did everything possible they could to avoid last place. Will it be enough? Well ask yourself, what musical expert would vote for this travesty of a song? The United Kingdom will be in the running for last place. Betfair have circa 4.0 available. Otherwise, the even money available at Boylesports for the UK to be the worst Big-5 nation looks like great value.
Armenia and Lithuania are filler songs teeing up slots 8-12, but with plenty of diaspora, they should finish around the 13th-18th mark. No bet.
Another highly anticipated entry next. Bojana had a rough jury rehearsal last night which must have damaged her already slim chances at hitting top-10. Bojana is this year’s Hera Bjork, but unlike the Icelandic, the Serbian is aided by a massive voting bloc. My play will be to lay Serbia Top-10 & Top-Balkan in running at Betfair.
Debrah raised her game during last night’s jury rehearsal, and in turn, positioned Norway to claim one of the top-5 or 6 jury spots. Hopefully that’ll be enough to see Norway in the top-10 who are currently trading circa 1.56 on Betfair.
Måns Zelmerlöw was solid for Sweden. Nothing changed. Aftonbladet’s Tobbe Ek thought Måns had given only 75% effort. I couldn’t tell the difference, but judging by the voting order published today, Sweden are in the reckoning. It looks like Russia could attract the early 12s in tonight’s voting, so Sweden might drift to a value price in-running. My advice is, if you haven’t backed Sweden, the value might arrive in play.
Cyprus will struggle being wedged between Sweden and Australia in slot 11. John probably got top-3 in semi-final 2, but I think juries who appreciated the Cypriot song will send their classy, down tempo votes to either Norway, Latvia or Italy. Having previously backed Cyprus for top-10, I have now revised my position.
Australia are this year’s beard. Who knows how well they’ll do. Can Guy split the Swedish vote? Personally, I think the Aussies are destined for a 5th-10th placed finish, but high enough to encourage them to return again next year. I’ll be laying top-3 on Betfair.
Loïc Nottet has charted across Europe and Belgium were the most backed country in the outright market yesterday. Can this avant-garde masterpiece overcome the derivative Swedish package? My own view is that Loïc will be this year’s Margaret Berger: the fine, edgy song that comes fourth. The value on Belgium has gone, so I can’t recommend a bet.
This year’s hosts, Austria, could make a claim for top-10, provided Europe is in a forgiving mood after waiting 20-minutes for the first song. The hosts invariably get some love, and being an authentic rock group avec Kings of Leon influences, they should attract enough points to push for a 9th-12th placing.
I’m less confident about Greece, however. For the first time during my two week stay in Vienna, One Last Breath has looked and sounded tired and should be well below some of the more sophisticated ballads in the lineup. Greece should expect to finish 15th-20th. Lay top-10 on Betfair.
Another run of filler songs now from Montenegro, Germany and Poland. At least two of those has a chance of finishing last. There has been talk of Montenegro being Top-Balkan given the Željko connection. It might very well finish second highest, so the 17.0s is value at BetVictor if my later pick doesn’t land.
As I tweeted last night, it’s likely Aminata came top-4 in last night’s jury vote. Latvia have a fantastic running order slot and should standout after a run of four passé slowies. Top-Baltic and Top-10 are my main plays, in addition to trading off a decent green at 3-figure odds. You can lay Estona Top-Baltic at Betfair, or back Latvia Top-Baltic 3.0 at BetVictor. Top-10 is circa 1.6 on the exchange.
The moving narrative for Romania’s song deserves top-10 on its own. The fact Voltaj perform it against a stunning backdrop makes it an even stronger top-10 back, especially when you factor in their ginormous diaspora. There are three standout bets here:
Edurne finally gave a worthy performance last night, but the general consensus is that Spain’s entry is too flimsy to make the top-10. Spain lacks friends, and unlike Italy’s Grande Amore, Amanecer isn’t particularly accessible to non-Spanish viewers. I have already laid top-10 on Betfair.
Hungary’s Boggie looks isolated from 22nd slot with Wars for Nothing. This is another song that falls into my last place reckoning. The 17.0 available at Boylesports does appeal.
Nina Sublati didn’t give her finest performance last night, and with Azerbaijan and Russia to follow, Georgia might be forgotten by non-Eastern voters. Plus you have to recognise that a dominant female will struggle in the televote. No bet.
Azerbaijan’s song is stunning in its studio version. The staging also looks spectacular. However, Elnur does have a tendency to over sing Hour of the Wolf. Azerbaijan might do well in certain quarters, but the value lies in laying top-10 at Betfair.
Today’s voting order points to Russia not winning, though it also suggests a few early 12-points being awarded from friendly nations. Polina didn’t give her best performance during last night’s jury rehearsal, so she’ll have to deliver a virtuoso performance tonight to overcome last night’s jury lag. Lay short on Betfair after first batch of 12-points.
This year has missed a good, side-splitting jury rehearsal f*ck up. Last night, Albania’s Elhaida delivered an excruciatingly painful rendition of I’m Alive. I think there are one or two corpses able to perform I’m Alive with greater assurance.
If people haven’t turned off their televisions during Elhaida’s crowing, they’ll get to enjoy this year’s showstopper from Italy. I’m 99% certain that Italy topped the jury vote last night and I fully expect televoters to get behind Il Volo tonight. The crowd didn’t stop roaring during Grande Amore last night – it was the song they were looking forward to most. The voting order suggests a good spread of high points for Italy from regional/ballad-loving nations, so in my opinion, Sweden haven’t got this Contest sewn up just yet.
The EBU arrange the voting order based on last night’s jury scores and televoting from the semi-finals. As Italy didn’t take part in the semi-finals, the EBU have no metrics to predict their televote. I see Italy performing much stronger in the East and Balkans, in addition to attracting support from Il Divo’s western stomping grounds. Italy are politically neutral, whereas one might expect Sweden to lose a bit of support in the East, much like Sanna did last year.
As you can tell, I’m getting behind Italy for the win. I’m green on all of the contenders, so whatever happens tonight, I will come away with profit. For me though, there’s one song this year that stands above the rest; that song is Grande Amore.
Just for fun, here’s my top-5:
Enjoy the show and make sure you bet responsibly. Oh, and don’t forget to VOTE ITALY!