The end of this year’s Eurovision betting season is just hours away and five-months of hard work hinges on whether the current market leader, Russia, gets turned over by the likes of Australia, Ukraine and Sweden, or a currently unknown dark horse.
Belgium are the customary lively show opener, and since Thursday’s semi-final, Laura Tesoro’s What’s The Pressure has cemented a top-5/6 position on esctracker. Will that translate into potential each-way value in the outright? I don’t think so. My preferred play here was backing top-10, though the 3.5 available isn’t as generous as the 8s acquired last week and I have since traded off my exposure. If you are keen to oppose France, another interesting play would be to dutch Belgium (6.0) and the Netherlands (12.0) in the Top Western market at Paddy Power. Italy are the danger there, but with France such a short priced favourite, it’s good value. Your stakes should be weighted in favour of Netherlands.
Czech Republic have been given the coffin slot, which means they may not have set the scoreboard alight in semi-final 1. Gabriela’s song is rather forgettable in this running order, so my play would be small stakes in the Last Place market at Paddy Power, currently available at 8.5. I recommend dutching this with two or three other selections.
Douwe Bob probably did quite well for the Netherlands in semi-final 1, but not quite well enough to claim a later slot from SVT. It’s worth acknowledging that his song is credible and authentic, so will still be picked up by juries. During last night’s jury rehearsal Douwe mouthed “I love you” to the camera – this is likely to be reused tonight. Top-10 at over even money is widely available, however Betfred are highest at 2.2. Don’t forget the 12s for Top Western at Paddy Power.
Samra really struggles to hold a tune, so Azerbaijan will likely finish outside of the top-10. Laying the top-15 around 2.4 offers some value at Betfair, but given Azerbaijan’s suspect ability to find points, I consider this too risky. No bet.
As mentioned many times in earlier articles, Freddie’s Pioneer bears a striking resemblance to Compact Disco’s Sound Of Our Hearts. Hungary finished 24th in 2012 – just 12 points from last place. My recommendation would be add Hungary (15.0) to your last place portfolio at Ladbrokes.
Il Volo would have strolled to victory for Italy this year. However, Francesca Michielin won’t be finishing anywhere near last year’s third place. Nevertheless, the 21-year old does interest me in the Top Big-5 market and the Malta vs Italy match bet. The former is available at over 4s with Bet365. The match bet is available in Italy’s favour at 1.85 from Ladbrokes.
Israel looks likely to suffer from the jury drop now they are pitched against stronger opposition. Having built up a small green on Hovi to finish top-10, I have now traded that off on Betfair. No bet.
It’s a bit harsh on Bulgaria being drawn right before this year’s hosts, but I guess qualifying was Bulgaria’s main aim this year. Maybe it’s a sign that Poli didn’t fare too well in semi-final 2, or that SVT didn’t want Belgium anywhere near Frans. A top-10 finish looks a bit too tight, so another no bet.
Despite months of debate, Frans is still the only act clocking up signifiant Spotify streams. If I Were Sorry has gone triple platinum in Sweden and is being played on a growing number of international radio stations – the UK’s Radio 1 have it on their A-list. Furthermore, in terms of this year’s automatic qualifiers, Frans has the best iTunes stats of any of this year’s automatic qualifiers and is in 3rd position on esctracker too. This is an international hit that should do very well indeed. Even Justin Timberlake made a point of paying tribute to Frans last night. As prices continue to lengthen, I recommend investing in some each-way win value – currently 17.0 each way 4-places 1/5 odds at Bet365. Paddy Power‘s 1.29 for top-10 is free money. I also think the Sweden vs France match bet at 2.0+ in Sweden’s favour is one of the bets of the year. I was hitting it at 3.0 only last week. It’s still available at various locations including Bet365. Sweden to top the jury score is 21.0 at Ladbrokes and 15.0 to top the televote. It’s popular song and the prices look too big.
The third country for your last place portfolio should be Germany. Jamie-Lee’s incongruous costume, flat presentation and poor running order should see this early pre-selection market contender flop. Bet365 are offering 4.0 for Germany to repeat last year’s last place.
I don’t want to be too hard on Amir, but France’s position in the outright and top-3, 4 & 5 markets has been laughable. Because of that false favourite status, the bookmakers have made a few mistakes with the pricing of certain match bets, namely the France vs Sweden match recommended above. I have been opposing France in the top-3, 4 & 5 markets for a while and recommend the same if the prices shorten again. I think Amir will finish 9th-12th.
Given Michał Szpak qualified from Thursday’s semi-final despite the negative market reaction, Color Of Your Life obviously appeals to the Polish diaspora. It must do considering it beat this Swedish written song in the national final. Poland are doing better than expected on the esctracker downloads chart, so maybe a top-10 finish is on the cards? BetVictor are offering 8.0! It’s always worth looking for some big prices for 7th-10th in the top-10. In 2013 Hungary were 14/1 on the day of the final and just scraped 10th.
At the time of writing, Australia are around 4.0 on Betfair. There is some speculation that Dami Im won the jury vote last night. I couldn’t possibly confirm that, but she should be one of five acts ahead of Sergey on the jury tally. The aussies are one of three potential winners tonight, so if you haven’t backed them already, get on the 4.0 while it’s still there. I can also recommend Australia to top the jury vote – 2.5 at Ladbrokes. Topping the televote is available at 3.5!
Cyprus stood out in the semi-final, but that momentum has fizzled out. Their performance feels a tad anticlimactic following Australia, so I have opposed top-10 on Betfair.
Another country that could be ahead of Russia on the jury score is Serbia. Sanja gave her best performance of Goodbye (Shelter) last night, and the fight against domestic abuse narrative should resonate with female jury members. Top-10 is a good play and Serbia are currently available over 1.5 at various bookies – Betfred’s 1.57 is the standout. This should be a safer play than Top-Balkan, given the value subsided after the realisation that Croatia was crap. Bulgaria are a threat in the Top-Balkan market too.
Donny messed up last night. He started singing too early after his somersault, so that will affect Lithuania’s jury score. No hope. No bet.
Nina howled her way through Lighthouse last night, so Croatia’s jury points will be low. They should score points from their regional allies, so last place might be a stretch, but are worth adding to the portfolio. Ladbrokes are 21.0.
Apparently Sergey performed at a concert on Thursday night, which might explain why he gulped a few notes on the run up to the middle-eight. If the juries follow previous form, Russia should be outside of the top-5 on their tally owing to the dated nature of the song, the overall lack of originality and the less than perfect vocal performance. In my opinion, finishing outside of the jury top-5 would end Russia’s hopes of winning. On that basis, I have opposed Russia in the top-3 market – only small stakes, but very cheap.
It is unusual to see two upbeat dance songs next to each other in a producer-decided running order, given their unswerving obsession with the sawtooth, fast-slow/light-dark format. Slotting Spain after Russia looks like a subtle hatchet job, especially with Latvia and Ukraine to follow. Last night Spain’s backing singers were all over the place, so while it may have been a small negative for Russia, it ended up being an bigger negative for Barei. I have been opposing Spain in the top-10 and top-15 markets for a long time, and based on last night’s performance, Spain are likely finishing 17th-22nd. No bet at current prices.
Justs finally bought his A-game last night and potentially propelled Latvia into the jury top-5. Top-10 looks assured so the 1.4-1.5 prices are a gift. 1.53 is available at Betfred! Heartbeat has been hovering around the top-5 on esctracker downloads and Latvia has a plum draw from 20.
Ukraine also has a great draw from 21, and Jamala’s passionate rendition at last night’s jury rehearsal should ensure 1944 is recognised by the juries – though to what extent is debatable. Despite early optimism, I think Ukraine are now heading for a 3rd or 4th placed finish. No bet at current prices.
Despite adding more visual effects, Malta are still lacking sufficient energy to push for a respectable result. Like Azerbaijan, Malta have a knack for doing well with certain national juries, so I don’t feel confident laying them too heavily for top-10 or top-15. However, the Malta vs Italy match at Ladbrokes does appeal and is 2.0 in favour of Italy.
Georgia feels like it’s the real show closer here, and on the back of a sparkling semi-final performance, I do like the look of the top-10 price at Ladbrokes. I’m happy with my small position, having backed at over 30s during rehearsals, but 10s looks too high for such a credible song with memorable staging.
Austria has been my blind spot this year. I didn’t expect Zoë to make the final, but at this rate, she’s scoring more points from the televote than Amir. Loin d’ici is another decent price for top-10 at around 3.0 on the Betfair exchange. Even so, I prefer to remain neutral, so won’t be backing or laying.
Joe & Jake weren’t at their best last night, so I’ve had to revise down my expectations for the United Kingdom. The performance feels very flat and static after Georgia and Malta, and is almost forgotten after Armenia. I suspect 18th-24th is where the UK will finish. No bet.
Last up Armenia chucks another contemporary spanner in Russia’s works. Despite the song lacking any takeaway lyrics, it is stylishly staged and arranged. Armenia should be vying for a top-10 place.
So who will win?
My book is favouring Australia and Sweden to win, but with more emphasis on the aussies. Third and fourth is likely to feature Russia and Ukraine, though as I mentioned above, if Russia underperform, Latvia or maybe the Netherlands could sneak a podium place.
Tonight’s scoring segment will see the juries’ points presented first, followed by a dramatic, Melodifestivalen style televote distribution to decide the winner. Those opposing Russia will be hoping they are outside of the jury top-5. I think they are!
Whatever you’re betting tonight, make sure you keep it within your limits. Good luck and enjoy what is expected to be the best ever Eurovision final.
Tack så mycket Sverige!