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Eurovision 2016: Final Betting Preview

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.

_AP64944Douwe 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 _AP67417anywhere 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 Bet365Paddy 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 _AP65385final. 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.

_AP65666It 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.

ANV_0914Austria 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!

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About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. Good luck Gav, thanks for pointing out that Italy h2h with Malta. 2.20 now!

  2. I strongly disagree with the article and of course the main conclusion.First of all, I personally cannot see any value at Frans after Melodifest critisism. His song might be catchy but cannot obvisously score top either in juries or public. Ukraine seemed not to have an identity for winning for competition. Ok very good voice but nothing exceptional in staging. Australia? OMG! You have Sergey imitating the Tarzan and you think the Chinese girl is going to win the competition just by sitting and singing her song? I cannot see any other contender apart from Russia. And if they have the ability to manipulate the views of a video, journalists and betting advisors can have a greater impact on the market. I also do not see anything smart in backing almost all the countries apart from the clear favourite: Russia (some started with Latvia, then France then Ukraine and now Australia). Ok the odds may exaggerate (especially yesterday) but this does not mean that Russia is not the favourite of the contest. Everyone is talking about justice but was it justice last year when Russia or Italy lost in the jury scoreboard? Please! Let’s do not be hypocritic on this issue. The juries will consider the whole performance and I believe it is more than enough to bring Lazarev to Top3!

    From the bottom of my heart I would support Russia today! Not because of the song, not because of the artist, not because they have Greek members in their squad, not even because I have backed when odds were at 8!!

    I will because I want the competition to be improved in the sense that we should stop involving politics into international events whether it is about music or about soccer or whatever. Last year Russia obviously did not win because of the invansion in Crimea. Now the press invented the anti-gay laws that actually exist in Russia as a justification for not winning the contest. Does that imply that only gays watch the competition? Do gays have the power to select a winner? How unfair! What happened last time Eurovision was in Moscow? Did any of those gays that claim Russia is homophobic had any kind of problem coming there? Why Hovi the star (omg!) critisized the treatment he had in Moscow? What is behind that? Let’s be honest here, I have read a lot of appraising articles for the competition, that is was so well designed. Thus, I would like to see for one f***ing time the show not be influenced by politics.

    Why do I see a Russian victory even if the lyrics are cheesy and the staging resembles the one of Mans? Actually, I see it as an improvement of last year! Technological innovation is growing and enters the music industry as well. In my interprentation, the staging is something magical…Sergey Lazarev dressed as magician, performing tricks on his magic wall that will lead him to find his unique love.

    You are the only one!

    And I will close with a wish…

    …see you in Saint Petersbourg (or Sochi :P) 2017 🙂

    • How can you see a song with 30 million steams not doing well at televote? (Sweden)

      The criticism was just because of the eurovision-fanatics and viewers who didn’t prefer Frans, the mainstream picked it up.

      • Thank you for your comment. I respect your opinion but I believe that it is too simplistic to top either public or jury vote. This is my own humble point of view. We will find out in a couple of hours.

  3. Thanks Gav for all your hard work. I’ve been reading your website for two years now. I started reading as a fan who wanted some proper analysis instead of the universal over he top praise that the likes of Wiwibloggs hand out.
    I’m 18 now so I’ve placed a few bets this time – not many though as I’m a student. I’m opposing France and I got Belgium at 21 for top West Europe a few days back. Backing Italy and Netherlands in the same market, as well as Italy top big 5. So I may make some returns – and any returns are welcome for a student!
    My prediction for the winner? I’m thinking Sweden but to be honest I have no idea. Will be interesting to watch.
    Hopefully next year I will comment on the website during the selections shows.

    Thanks again and good luck everyone. Thoroughly looking forward to tonight.

  4. We’ve come to the end of a pretty manic Eurovision season. I’d like to give a shout-out to Gav for all his hard work over the course of the year on the site, and also to all those involved on the comment threads, who add to the discussion and excitement of the build-up period. Thanks guys and girls!


    That’s my call for tonight. It promises to be tight atop of the scoreboard. Every entry has its caveat, but I think for Ukraine the only possible drawback hasn’t anything to do with the music, but rather a skewed interpretation of the music as an anti-Russia platitude. When you take a step back from it all, This is an astounding song with an equally astounding presentation. I’ve been an avid supporter of the song from day one, and I think those who aren’t behind it will come to see 1944 as a gem in the rock of the modern Eurovision template. They’ve got a favourable slot in the order, and having cracked international media-outlets, the momentum is firmly behind Jamala. All that said, I’m covered for an Australian win too, both are my biggest greens atm.

    As for the voting, we’re all going to learn a lot from the system tonight, and should be able to get a full grasp of it in the coming years provided it’s retained. My guess is that if you don’t think Australia, Italy or Sweden can win than it would be valuable to lay them after the jury votes, since I think all of them are jury fodder material. On the contrary, I reckon it could be worth a punt to back Austria top ten after the jury vote, because I think Zoe’s in for quite a handsome televote, and she has a late draw to help people remember her, if the princess shtick wasn’t already enough. Other than that it should be a show to remember.

    Good luck to all, enjoy the show!
    …and slow down if you can’t go on 😉

  5. 1. Ukraine
    2. Russia
    3. Latvia
    4. Australia
    5. Sweden
    6. NL
    7. Armenia
    8. Italy
    9. Serbia
    10. France

    For me, it’s just hard to predict how the jury will rate Ukraine and Russia, can go both ways. I think Ukraine can do it (with jury-support). I expect Sweden high in the televote, but outside the top 4 at the jury. I fear the jury will play it safe, just like with Mans last year, they also know he’s (Russia) the clear favourite, and don’t have the balls to put him down the list.

    If there’s a big suprise, I still believe it could be Latvia. Not for the win probably, but I got the top 3 @27 today. Potentional to do pretty well with the jury, and the running order is 10 times better than at the semi.

    And thanks to all the tipsters who are in Stockholm. Picked up a lot of value at the first rehearsals because of you!

  6. Thanks Gavster, for all your informative insights over the past few weeks. You must be exhausted. I put some money (mine) on Australia to win for the wife this morning. I suspect she’s going to fare better out of Eurovision 2016 than I am!

    I hardly disagree with anything you have said in the preview. Maybe that’s because you’ve brainwashed me over the past weeks! But I feel that the momentum is now with Australia, and now that Frans has (apparently) rediscovered his smiling, cheeky, camera friendly persona (and not the surly teenager we had in Monday night’s preview performance) he is right back in contention too.

    I believe Russia will finish second or third and Ukraine fourth and after last night’s performance Latvia and Serbia are very strong top 10 bets. Netherlands, Armenia, France and Belgium could complete the top 10, with Israel and Bulgaria the most likely alternatives – although I agree that Georgia is worth a small top-10 wager. I doubt Poland is a top 10 danger. Apparently Michal messed up his vocal last night – so no jury votes to speak of. He will get diaspora support in the televote but I can’t imagine that taking Poland any higher than mid table. The UK? More than likely – bottom five.

  7. My top 5
    1. Sweden
    2 Ukraine
    3 Russia
    4 ARmenia
    5 Australia

  8. Thanks Gav for everything this year. I’ve explained everything I possibly could have explained over at Sofabet (for those who haven’t seen, link here: http://sofabet.com/2016/05/12/eurovision-2016-second-semi-final/#comment-72645 )

    In short, I think (and hope, at this point) that Australia is winning it. I just wish I hadn’t flip-flopped on them so much over the season or my green would be a lot bigger than it is right now!

    1. Australia
    2. Ukraine
    3. Russia
    4. Sweden
    and these next ones aren’t very confident but here goes…
    5. Latvia
    6. Netherlands
    7. Serbia
    8. Israel
    9. France
    10. Georgia


    • Thanks Gav for all the stirring, round the clock work. My top ten:

      1. Australia
      2. Russia
      3. Ukraine
      4. Sweden
      5. Armenia
      6. Serbia
      7. Latvia
      8 The Netherlands
      9. France

      Germany to end last.
      UK to end better than 2015!!

  9. This is the first year where I am not confident of picking a winner. Even if it turned out to be false confidence in the past. I have 5 contenders Russia, oz ,Sweden, Latvia and Ukraine. I’m going to say Russia takes it as I don’t trust the juries to do there job after last year. Would love to be wrong as its red on my book. Would love Latvia to win as it’s my biggest green but 2-4 is more likely. The Ukraine most overrated of the 5 from a betting point of view. Haven’t enjoyed this year at all as has been too hard to call. Best of luck to all except Russia.

  10. My Top 10 prediction for tonight:
    01. Australia
    02. Russia
    03. Ukraine
    04. Armenia
    05. Sweden
    06. France
    07. Israel
    08. Netherlands
    09. Belgium
    10. Serbia

  11. The biggest difficulty this year was correctly calling/predicting the winner of Eurovision 2016. Because it was the very first time that the eventual winner wasn’t a winner in both the televote and the jury vote.

    We did have Azerbaijan as winner in 2011, who won the televote, but didn’t win the jury vote.
    We did have Sweden as winner in 2015, who won the jury vote, but didn’t win the televote.
    And now there’s Ukraine 2015: 2nd with both the jury vote and the televote.

    Is that dramatic? In my opinion not. These variables can happen. But as a better or just as a participant in a Eurovision fan poule, it’s very hard to predict a 2nd place, which was the case with Ukraine in the jury vote and the televote.

    The fact that some people were calling either Russia or Australia as winner, were perhaps more correct, because they were leaning either to a better/predictor judging with the nature of a ‘televoter’ (Russia) or a better/predictor judging with the nature of a ‘jury member’ (Australia).

    Having said that, and having judged the 100% televote results, it becomes clear to me that those entrants who did good stuff in the televote, but less so in the jury vote, are always a bit ‘cheap’ or ‘tacky’ or ‘cheesy’. And/or they are countries who are heavily backed by demographics (diaspora), like Russia. Some examples:

    –> Russia 2010
    –> France 2010
    –> Sweden 2011
    –> United Kingdom 2011
    –> Russia 2011
    –> Russia 2012
    –> Turkey 2012
    –> Romania 2012
    –> Greece 2013
    –> Romania 2013
    –> Poland 2014
    –> Romania 2014
    –> Albania 2015
    –> Serbia 2015
    –> Lithuania 2016
    –> Poland 2016

    I think it’s safe to say that the musical taste of televoters on the whole is pretty awful. The above entries are obviously ‘televoting vodder’ and are either backed by huge diaspora or are quite poor from an artistic viewpoint. I am glad we have juries. And yes, the juries need to be improved. I fully agree on that. But it will be a black day if in the upcoming years juries are being removed, thus going back to a 100% televoting system.

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