Blog: The Top 5 In The Market
A little disclaimer before anything else from me with this article. For a variety of reasons, personal, professional and Eurovision based, it’s been a while since I've done a BetEurovision update.
None of these reasons are bad, balancing family time and more work at the day job and a focus on new projects and articles upcoming for ESC Insight means that the betting side of the equation hasn’t been my priority. That is ok. One other quirk is that I am flying over to Liverpool for the show, but also taking my parents, son, and other child members to one of the rehearsals (thankfully for Semi Final One), so this year’s Eurovision circus hits a bit differently than others.
The one thing we are going to prioritise for the entire season will be the Bet Eurovision podcast, so please join us there. On the last episode we discussed the favourites to win Eurovision and I thought I’d take an hour out of my Saturday to write down my thoughts from that podcast. On my own self-critical journalistic reflection, I sat on the fence way too much for creating good content, although maybe that’s my honest view of the market. But then again, one of the plethora of reasons BetEurovision exists is to give me a platform to write about the odds movements, and as such help to rationalise my viewpoint on the market.
Obviously we are writing and publishing this the weekend of Eurovision in Concert and the London Eurovision Party, so movement could well take place in the odds we publish.
Exchange win price: 2.04/2.08
Exchange jury vote price: 1.71/1.79
Exchange televote price: 5.4/6
Sweden has been top of the Eurovision betting market since the first clips of Loreen’s rehearsal at Melodifestivalen hit the press. And deserving so. This is a challenging pop track at a rapid 150 BPM but in combining the ABBA-esque verse with the oh-so-Loreen chorus you have a package that many many people adore.
Stats show this is the favourite for a reason. A domination at Melodifestivalen with a record number of voters and a near-perfect landslide from juries and televoters. Topping polls on the My Scoreboard App and the OGAE fan clubs by a very healthy margin. The most played song each day on Spotify and likely to overtake even the Sanremo winner by the time we get to Liverpool. The returning winner narrative (and what a winner at that) is driving media attention and while Loreen isn’t going hard on the media circus performing at so many pre-party events shows a commitment that isn’t guaranteed from a Swedish act.
That being said, it is worth pointing out that this isn’t about victory per se, though SVT would desire win number 7 about now as brand Melfest is starting to hit a decline, it is about Tattoo as a song. The aim of all this PR is so Tattoo becomes a mega hit and pushes way beyond the Song Contest in a similar vein to Arcade did. This is a path for that, and victory will undoubtedly help, but it does feel that chart domination is the primary objective with the media strategy.
It does need to be reminded that Sweden is regularly overrated at this point in the season. The difficulty for us as gamblers is to assess when they have the genuine package to take Sweden’s near-consistent top 5 spot into a top 1. Staging is a question mark but I think the look and feel will remain and assuming the same team are following from Melodifestivalen I suspect Loreen will deliver quality in Liverpool. Confession time, while I did back Sweden at 8s on my first listening to Loreen I did actually take some of that punt out around 3.5 at the time of that first rehearsal, because while it was mesmerising it was without connection.
This is the reason why there is such a jury/televote discrepancy. I agree with the jury support for this number which oozes quality and this feeling of epic-ness that draws jurors alongside with it - and while the data strongly indicates that there are plenty of people out there who do love this number, it doesn’t scream televote in the way others in this list will do. Say Loreen is drawn 10th in the Grand Final, how many of those Eurovision viewers will know the backstory we all do and have an emotional will to support Loreen. I have this song in my personal top 3 of the season, but how biased are all of us to that story as well that most voters won’t give a monkey's about.
Remember here that, while a generation ago Sweden sent previous Eurovision winners two times in three years to the contest, they performed worse than expected finishing 5th and 18th respectively.
On one of those occasions Finland shocked the odds to be the victor.
Recommendation: Sweden should be favourite, but there is a small question mark about the shortness right now. I would argue the jury price is better than the overall Eurovision victory.
Exchange win price: 5.4/5.7
Exchange jury price: 17/20
Exchange televote price: 1.96/2.1
Finland is a secure second favourite in the Eurovision betting odds now, having shortened again over the last couple of days from previously being 7.0. The equation for Finland is the opposite of Sweden, this is seen as being a juror’s nightmare, and instead being a song adored by the televoters, equating to a possible victory. Finland’s UMK selection show did see this win jury and televote by a very handsome margin, equally as impressive as Loreen, although much like Loreen the landscape before the show had led to Cha Cha Cha being the only alternative.
I think this in many ways is a cleverer construct than Tattoo, and while Loreen wins out for the growth of the vocal and the soaring melody, this wins out for fun, a wtf factor only seen at Eurovision and, if anybody digs into it, one of the show’s best lyrics (I implore Christer Björkman to include a lyrics prize to the Marcel Bezençon Awards) hidden beneath the title gimmick. I would be surprised if even one juror took the effort to realise that however (except perhaps for an Estonian) and it’s hard to imagine five music professionals in a room agreeing that this is a top 5 Eurovision number.
Three things do speak in this song’s favour though with jurors. Much has been made about possible changes to jury criteria and, while they proved to be false, the jury criteria have now been reordered on the paper, burying vocal capacity further down and lifting originality and composition to the top of the list. That’s worth 10 or so more points to Finland I’d say. Furthermore a difference with today’s juries is that the negative drag effect of one juror ranking a song low and bringing it down is now much more reduced. This song is going to have a marmite effect on jurors, but that is a less significant factor nowadays. Finally, with the Semi Finals being 100% televote, more jury unfriendly songs (perhaps like Croatia) qualify and as such Finland will creep into more jury top 10s. This doesn’t really help Sweden, as Sweden is expected to be top 3 or 4 with practically every country regardless of quality surrounding it, but this might just help Finland pick up 1s and 2s rather than zeroes to keep it in contention. And another +10 to Finland’s jury score. Are we close enough yet to victory?
When it comes to juries, and when it comes to my strategy on Finland I will be falling into the trap of over-analysing the upcoming EuroJury results. Anywhere near the top 3 or 4 here and I would say Finland is great value, drifting around 8th or 9th and Finland isn’t likely to have the jury stamina it would take to be close enough to Loreen. The televote odds of around evens I find a touch short considering the barriers this song has with language and genre but I agree it should be the market favourite, but haven’t touched this market personally.
Recommendation: 5’s are available with Betfred offering each-way at 1/5 of the odds on the top 4, if you believe this storms the televote then top 4 should be easily in reach and you have a free swing at the victory.
Exchange win price: 9.8/10
Exchange jury price: 60/-
Exchange televote price: 4.9/5.2
Ukraine were favourites from day 1, with early trading having Ukraine around 3.5 before a song was known. Tvorchi’s shock victory saw a drift to 4.5 and Ukraine has been drifting very gradually on the whole since then. One panicked run on Ukraine came a couple of months back, but the price quickly reset leaving Ukraine a comfortable third favourite at the moment.
It will surprise few of you for me to say that Ukraine, on song alone, should be miles out of contention and this would be a bottom half number without any politics. The reasoning for this being short is in the odds is because the vote for Ukraine, the nation, could replicate what happened last year, where both juries and televoters overly supported Ukraine resulting in a very comfortable victory.
Gambling on Ukraine is gambling on public sentiment towards Ukraine or not. That sentiment is not at 2022 levels, but how low is that drop off? Part of this is predicting the media narrative on the war with Russia over the next month, and the way a rumoured Ukrainian counter-offensive ties in with Eurovision voting or not. It also has to be based upon the BBC’s coverage of the co-hosting with Ukraine. Do we, the viewer, feel for Ukraine and want to vote for them due to that, or is the sympathy overblown and pushing the casual viewer away from supporting them. Will Ukraine’s war, sadly, feel like yesterday’s news, or more powerful than ever?
It is very hard to gauge as we know last year Stefania was a Eurovision winner because of those outside the Eurovision bubble rather than inside it, so I’m happy to have a small positive on Ukraine as a penalty for if they do the business, but otherwise am assuming this is outside my capabilities as a gambler.
Recommendation: If you did want to place something on Ukraine I believe the 4.9 to win the televote is better than the 9.8 to win Eurovision. However the only advice I can truly give is to take a small stake, high risk play that they finish poorly. One can lay on the exchange at 1.4 (equivalent to a bet at 3.5) that Ukraine is outside the top 10, which at least song wise feels decent value. Up to you how strong you believe the sentiment is.
But maybe it is simply better to ignore Ukraine the best you can from a gambling perspective this year.
Exchange win price: 17/17.5
Exchange jury price: 6.8/8.6
Exchange televote price: 44/70
The absolute wildcard. I was buzzing when, immediately after BenidormFest, I was matched at 48s on Spain to win. I had been laying Spain aggressively (since January) during the show’s first semi, but that stopped immediately upon Blanca Paloma’s first rehearsal to the press in Benidorm. Here we have something in an uncomfortable world music genre that is picking up fans everywhere it goes on the preparty circuit. That is no surprise, hearing this live in a concert setting is an experience and is absolutely staggering - this would win Eurovision if the whole audience were in the arena I firmly believe.
But they won’t be, and the vast majority of listeners will be tuning in on a Saturday night in utter disbelief, asking their fellow family members what on Earth this noise is coming from the TV screen. Arguably, I haven’t seen a song in my entire Eurovision career (Winny Puhh, if they were selected, may have equalled this) that is ranked so often 1st out of the 37, but also so often last out of the 37 competing entries.
Now there is a path to victory for this, and glory can be achieved through the same route that 1944 took to victory in Stockholm. Then what happened was that 18 juries ended up with Ukraine in their top 4, but 17 juries did give Ukraine a single point. That was enough for a distant 2nd place with juries and, with televote points from all but one nation, Ukraine pipped Russia and Australia to the title in the most exciting Eurovision voting we will likely ever see. Second place in the jury market is rational, but it is very hard to see enough jurors appreciating this, especially in northern Europe, for it to be close to winning at the half way mark. That means you are relying on a Jamala-size televote for Spain to have any chance of victory.
I’ve been somewhat surprised by the huge shortening on this in the place markets. I think that’s quite a big call to make at the current prices, where Spain has been trading at 2.5 to place top 4 in recent days, and while I have bet on Spain finishing top 4 (at higher prices) my range of possible results for Spain is all over the place. This is a true gamble and backing or laying this is making a big gutsy call - as you won’t get this making a buzz from qualifying through the Semi Finals and it will struggle to get noise until the final couple of days.
I would love to see this personally in the top 3 but is this going to be getting Sam Ryder/Cornelia Jakobs size televotes to hold on to a podium spot? My gutsy call says yes, but that is a call from the heart rather than my head. My head doesn't have a clue how this will do.
Recommendation: Boylesports at 15.0 offers you e/w for top 4 at the equivalent of 3s, which certainly the market believe is good value. This has dropped to odds-on in the Big 5 market and, while I see it most likely to do well, I do see France and Italy as low standard deviation songs in the 7th to 10th range. Spain could fall below that, and it would be a travesty if so. Definitely not out of winning contention but the path to victory is narrow.
Exchange Win Price: 23/24
Exchange Jury Price: 34/46
Exchange Televote Price: 22/30
When the clips for Melodi Grand Prix came out back in January, Norway were ever so quickly matched as high as 50s before crashing down, firstly due to Ulrikke’s track Honestly and then by eventual winner Queen of Kings.
The reason this song shortened so much in the betting odds was because this song did gain TikTok virality and became one of the most streamed Eurovision songs of the season. That heavy streaming is still going to this day but Loreen’s Tattoo has taken a lot of that thunder.
The path to victory for this is seen to be, similar to that explained above for Spain, a compromise score of jury and televote taking Norway to the victory. My gut instinct is that Norway is more likely to win the televote than the juries, with the composition of this track is just a trifle too simple to be in jury winning contention. That makes it arguable that the 22 for the televote victory is good value.
The draw of 1st in the Semi Final doesn’t help in generating hype and the 17.0 on offer to win that show (albeit competing against Finland and Sweden) suggests this isn’t particularly fancied to cut through early on. 16.0 for Top Nordic an equal picture. How can this cut through above those two powerhouses? It will more likely get 7s and 8s from the nations where it needs 10s and 12s.
As you can probably tell by my tone of writing here I’m not hot on Norway and don’t yet see a reason to be. At the pre parties Alessandra has been outclassed by the other artists on this list and I’m anticipating a safe top 10 result for Norway with top 5 a bonus - but that would be suggesting all three Nordic nations can place.
The Norwegian package is though a solid, Eurovision-by-numbers one and if there is are a few fallers from the favourites this is the one to pick up the running in a weak field.
Recommendation: The lay price to win Eurovision is arguably value given the jury/televote splits on offer. Norway are roughly evens for the top 5 a touch short, but some drift on that and I will be interested.
We will leave this there as next up we have a big gap to 44s in the market. Best of luck to all the participants in Liverpool.