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Italy: Sanremo 2019 Betting Preview

Regular commenter and Sanremo expert, DurhamBorn, returns with his insight for this year’s Sanremo.

Following another great result at Eurovision, it looks like Italy might be ready to deliver another strong Sanremo lineup, although it’s another year where women are mostly absent.

The early bookies’ prices offered a little value, but that is now gone until we go in play. Let’s look at some of the main players:

Il Volo -Musica che resta

The trio need no introduction to Eurovision fans: Il Volo won in an extremely strong Sanremo year with a massive televote but middling jury score. They put many really strong contenders to the sword back in 2015. Only Malika Ayane, by winning the jury with a superb song, and Nek with a great performance had any hope of getting close to them. If Il Volo are to win its likely they will need a very strong televote score again as the jury are unlikely to reverse past precedent. Another important question is: are they back to win or are they returning to finish on the podium? For those backing Italy on the Eurovision outright expecting an Il Volo win, they might actually refuse Eurovision this time having put so much into it in 2015.

Nek -Mi faro trovare pronto

Nek put up a big fight against Il Volo in 2015 and won the press, TV and radio award and the best arrangement. He’s hugely respected and liked. Without a top drawer song it’s likely he would lose ground on the televote and there are stronger profiles this year.

Arisa – Mi sento bene

Probably one of the finest female Italian vocalist’s of her generation. She won Sanremo with Contravento and was 2nd to Emma with the exquisite La Notte. What’s interesting here is the fact she has moved over to Sugar Music. Sugar have a superb record of winning the jury and getting artists onto the podium. There are rumours the song is more up-tempo than usual and “Disney” has been mentioned. Unfortunately, that could be a big red flag for the jury. One of the writers, Matteo Buzzanca, wrote Malika Ayanes biggest hit, Senza fare sul serio – also up-tempo – and another, Alessandra Flora, wrote the music for the jury winning Adesso e qui. Sugar and Arisa are being courageous in stepping outside their usual jury delighting approach. As always her delivery will be 100% so she might be able to elevate a sub-par song – that could decide if it flies or flops.

Federica Carta e Shade – Senza farlo apposta

A rapper and a talent show 3rd place finisher might not be a typical pairing to bother the Ariston scoreboard; however, Shade is a very popular artist with a big following. When these two collaborated for the song Irraggiungibile, it was one of the biggest hits of 2017 with almost 100-million views on Youtube. One wouldn’t expect they’d have the firepower to get near the podium, yet they might have a radio friendly hit and that is probably the aim.

Ultimo – I tuoi particolari

When I saw the list of entries I wondered if the odds compilers at the likes of SNAI would price the market as an Ultimo/Il Volo head to head (even though it isnt). That came to pass. Ultimo won the newcomers at Sanremo 2018 and his subsequent songs have proved highly popular in Italy. He is capable of scoring with the juries and televote, so is a genuine contender to do well. At the time of writing, the price is just too short given the talent this year.

Enrico Nigiotti – Nonno Hollywood

Nigiotti is someone who has walked his own path over the years. He was signed by Sugar Music back in 2008 and they used Michele Canova and Elisa for his first song. That alone says they saw big potential. He then entered Amici, only to leave the competition and do very little for several years. He was then picked up by Universal, entered the Sanremo Giovani in 2015 and finished 3rd. In 2017 he appeared in X Factor, again finishing 3rd. He’s an interesting and talented artist who could perform better than the initial big odds suggested.

Patty Pravo e Briga – Un po come nella vita

Patty has sold over 110-million records and is the 3rd best selling Italian artist ever. She has taken part at Sanremo nine times and won three critics awards. Briga is a talented artist who fuses rap into mainstream songs. It looks a crazy pairing on paper, but Patty has amazing contacts in the industry and is pretty much Italian music royalty. Her vocals aren’t what they were and thats being kind, though they should get plenty of press.

Mota – Dov e l italia

Mota has gone under the radar, yet he is a exceptionally talented artist. The Targa Tenco is a prestigious Italian music award whose jury consists of a large number of journalists and industry experts (very similar to the Sanremo jury/press makeup). He won the best album award in 2018, beating Ermal Meta, among others. And in 2016 he won the Opera prima award as a performer. What interests me seeing Pacifico in the writing credits. He’s a talented writer and I would expect a quality piece from them both. The outsider of the lot at 100s seemed a bit harsh for me and I would consider a value bet for him to win the critics award.

Irama – La ragazza col cuore di latta

Entered the Giovani at Sanremo and finished 7th in 2016. He was knocked out by Ermal Meta. Warner didn’t give him the promotion he deserved so the following year he entered and won the main Italian talent show, Amici. With that came a recording contract with none other than… Warner. The song translates as The Girl with a heart of Tin and this could be an interesting entry. Irama has the talent to do very well if he has the right song and attitude to get the jury onside. Artists like this have to walk a very fine line in holding the televote together while baiting the jury. Irama has that ability and should do well if his live performance holds up. [Note from Gav – this is my pick] 

Daniele Silvestri ft Rancore – Argento vivo

Silvestri is hugely talented artist who has often drifted out of the limelight thoughout his career. However, he has been to Sanremo before and won the critics award twice, along with the the lyrics/text award – and others. It’s hard to know if he is a singer or a poet at times. Rancore is a rapper from Rome and probably the most talented on the scene. It’s hard to make a case for pairings like this, but there is real talent here and they might be capable of providing a surprise in the Ariston and building momentum over the week. The duet with Manuel Agnelli is also interesting and it would imply they have a piece that really ramps things up and goes for the jugular. The early prices available were too big and I took them as an outside punt for the podium. The key might be how the song is staged.


Most years the best approach to Sanremo betting is to open two or three bets based on who you think can aim for the podium and then tweak in running. Land one or two on lively runners and then balance your book if required. This year that is no easy task given what is a wide open festival.

I have early bets on Arisa, Irama and Daniele Silvestri at decent prices. I’ve kept most of my bank for in running. As has been the case over the last few years, the contenders will be the ones that come alive and build momentum over the five nights. 

Who do you think the main challengers are?

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. https://www.bitfeed.co/page/sanremo-2019-the-duets-of-the-fourth-evening-all-the-guests-on-stage-with-big

    The duets for the Thursday night are very interesting.Irama with Noemi looks inspired on paper.She is fantastic at delivering melancholy and i could see this really working.The lyrics and the song look quite something and could be an inspired entry.The song looks like a jury powerhouse if Irama can deliver it with the right emotions.Arisa has Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame and the Kataklò dance group.Looks like she is really taking risks all the way and it will be interesting to see if she can pull it off and do well.
    This is looking like a really good year.

  2. Catriona Colville

    Interesting to note the Il Volo have confirmed they will ditch their concert if picked for ESC.

  3. I should of added the score make up this year,
    50% televote,30% press room,20% jury.

    Here are all the lyrics to the songs.


    Simply translate in the browser and click the text of each song.Some very strong songs this year.Real quality.

  4. Very interesting first night.Lots of good performances of poor songs.Ultimo is strong,Cristicchi was very well done and delivered,Silvestri was brave ,but not enough for jury or televote.Irama has the only really strong package and he was superb in performing it.Its a wonderful song,very mature,very deep and dealing with a subject that is far too common yet swept under the carpet.Its the only song that deserves to win a Sanremo,the only slight downside is there might not be enough for the jury in the lack of use of the orchestra,but everything else is there.The duet with Noemi should be fantastic.

  5. 2nd night and Arisa gave everyone a lesson in how you get inside a song and deliver it to perfection.First night she didnt quite have it right,but being the class act she is she went away and worked on it and came back with a fantastic performance,powering through it with pitch perfect vocal strength and a natural delivery that made the song really work.The power she delivered in the last chorus and the switch down keys into the refrain while staying 100% in tune was a masterclass.That got the crowd behind her,and she looked amazing on the close up camera shots.She really is a world class performer and id expect her to keep cranking it up now she has the feel of the composition.Brilliant.

  6. Looking good so far with the artists hitting the blue zone and the market closing around them.Just had to get Loredana Berte onside.Her performances have been fantastic and the critics award might be in the bag.
    Highlight for me tonight will be Irama with Noemi.She is a superb choice for this song.Sanremo hasnt the hook driven televote songs this year,but it has some very important classy pieces .

  7. Mota wins the duets night.As i mentioned in my article the jury are made up of the very same people who awarded him best album award at the Targa Tenco awards.He has competition for the critics award,but one of the 3 prizes for a 100/1 shot before the songs.

    • Is Ultimo an ill-priced favourite? I reckon the win is up for grabs, but Irama should be in the top 3.

      • Its really tight.The problem we have is each song that is challenging wouldnt tend to win a SR,yet each one is as good as youl get in the genre.
        Silvestri is superb,Loredana isnt out of the podium,Simone is superb,Irama is wonderful,even Arisa has something special in its own way.For myself i had big prices on Silvestri and decent on Irama so iv been able to add Loredana and Simone as well.I havent yet,but likely il back Ultimo to level on my book,though i might wait until the podium 3 in case he doesnt make it.Il not win much this year due to having to average out a bit and unable to nail one down,but no complaints,its a year where there is real quality in depth.Radio friendly usually wins,so is that maybe Irama?.Loredana is a force of nature as well.Superb SR really.

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