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The 16 Rank Outsiders: Are Any Worth a Flutter?

As we get to the outsiders special on the BetEurovision podcast it is time to look at the outsiders in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

And there are a lot of them. This year’s contest is top heavy and I can already anticipate a top ten or so running well clear of the rest in the Grand Final that just end up with random jury and diaspora fodder to avoid the nil points.

The rank outsiders we define as those that are at the very edge of the Betfair Exchange universe. Here no country can be matched at odds of more than 999-1, and as such if you are laying at these odds you aren’t even looking for a trading opportunity - you are damn sure these nations are not bringing home the trophy.

In total at this point in the season we have a whopping 16 countries that have matched at 999-1. That beats the 14 countries that we had last year, of which two of them in Belarus and Armenia were disqualified/withdrawn. Are any of them worth the most speculative of Eurovision punts?

If you want to bet at 1000’s I’ll also point you in the direction of last year’s article where we demonstrated how you can ask for such ludicrous odds on the Exchange, even if nobody is offering them at the time of asking.

Montenegro (1000/-)

‘Breathe’ is lyrically not rich enough in the competition to ever get jury and televote appeal in a 25 song show. Furthermore sadly it increasingly feels that a song with pandemic based content is likely to turn people off in 2022.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? No chance

Denmark (1000/-)

‘The Show’ is cleverly constructed and moves through the gears nicely. That said, the whole feel is very high school band and as such is an easy choice for jurors ultimately to mark down. I think this might have some qualify appeal - Iceland and Norway are in the same semi final and I’m expecting this to sound better live than Austria and could steal a qualification spot from them.

The qualifying price is around 3s/4s and might be worth something if others falter. But that would likely be the most for this one.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? No, look in other markets

Latvia (1000/-)

‘Eat Your Salad’ is a bonkers song and there are too many red flags for the genre, Latvia’s poor track record and the jury appeal of the lyrics that they won’t even be allowed to sing properly.

What I will say though is that this is actually funny and I suspect of these 16 is the one that has the highest chance of gaining some viral traction. The content is ridiculous but on the preview circuit they have impressed in rivalling some of the fan favourites for energy and charisma. Winning - no, but I hold a small position at good odds on this to qualify (currently around 2.5/4 on the Exchange). I suspect the appeal for this comes from a younger generation and there could be some interest there - the inclusion of TikTok as the Official Entertainment Partner of Eurovision this year may just squeeze it over the line.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? Qualify market is fascinating, others not

Bulgaria (1000/-)

Despite the fun and games their social media has had for the last couple of months on pure content this is a struggle. I don’t see this in the final and wouldn’t touch this for any money.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it?: No no no

Romania (1000/-)

An interesting one here. Qualifying for Romania is a borderline case and we are expecting this to up its game compared to their National Final format. I can imagine low points in televoting in the semi from neutral countries (Sweden for example) and if there was more diaspora (only really Spain in this group in Semi 2) I suspect this would be heavily odds on.

No, not in winning contention but the new version is that 10% better that means if this matches up visuals to match there could be some minor trading value on Romania in May, but I don’t see any scenario where it is Bucharest 2023.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? Not really

Ireland (1000/-)

Brooke Scallion is an absolute delight in interviews, I suspect mainly because she realises that she has the golden ticket to the Song Contest and doesn’t really deserve to be in competition with the others taking part alongside her.

She’s making the most of the time and it’s crazy that Ireland was as short at 100s even after Brooke won the National Final - there are simply better choices for a ‘youth vote’ than this piece of pink fluff. Outsider in the top 10 market and qualify market - perhaps harshly - but then again Ireland aren’t likely to be making it.

The only caveat here is that if anything was to happen that would suggest the Irish had something, tons of money could come in on this.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? Not a chance

Slovenia (1000/-)

I don’t think there is any offence in saying that this group and their journey to Turin will be incredibly memorable but ultimately fruitless. Probably the song that has least chance to qualify (drawn before Ukraine will not in any way help with memorability).

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? No way

North Macedonia (1000/-)

This is a decent song that I am minorly disappointed hasn’t been produced as well as it deserves - the new version changes little and the song doesn’t have the spread of dynamics to stand out. Qualifying not impossible but is unlikely, and a possible last place if it does make it.

Chance of matching at 1000: Certain

Worth it? No

Czech Republic (1000/-)

Really sad that this one has drifted out to 1000 as ‘Lights Off’ is one of the few excellent tracks in this year’s number. I attribute much of this drift due to the live performances that don’t show any extra concept to the performance which really works in TV studio format but struggles when performing out to a bigger audience and setting.

The Czechs have picked up some low points from OGAE, but I would be expecting with some of the 90’s elements in here this would be doing better there than it currently is. I do have this squeezing to the final (drawn last) but the last matched price of 1.6 seems too short for me to want to invest without the confidence that this actually is cool.

Chance of matching at 1000: There’s not much money available on this at the moment, may disappear soon

Worth it? Could be but will need one hell of a lift to get some trading value as another candidate for last in the final.

Iceland (1000/-)

The ‘safer’ choice won the Icelandic NF and it’s a prime example of a head-to-head winner that will suffer in competition against many other songs. Unlikely to qualify nor to get much momentum and much to be said for the fact that Icelandic TV will be quite happy with a quiet year after a few years of drama.

Chance of matching at 1000s: High

Worth it? Not for me

Croatia (450/760)

Much shorter than 1000 now, but this little ditty could very easily go back up to those values again. This is a slice of a country pop that will have fans, but the type of fans that will only see it score a smattering of low points, and any Balkan noise is surely all for Serbia (and, with the region being weak, we assume Ukraine and Italy score well too).

Chance of matching at 1000s: Can see it happening

Worth it? No

Moldova (650/950)

Our Moldovan band are back for their 3rd appearance in the contest and are likely on diminishing returns. The song is lyrically clever but Eurovision won’t hear the full version of these and Romania does not take part in the same semi. Plus, any East/West tension votes go to Moldova’s Eastern neighbour.

The new version of this track dates it badly and it would have been better to keep it folk rather than join some of the others in the dad rock genre. Not a last place candidate if qualifies (and despite being odds on I really question this making it).

Chance of matching at 1000s: Probably less likely than Croatia

Worth it: Will fully depend on staging, but not expecting genius here

Lithuania (1000/-)

There’s some love for Lithuania from the fan community that I find a little hard to comprehend. Monika does the genre well but the throwback performance stays in its lane too much to pick up interest. Like Moldova, I worry for this just to make it through to the final - and Lithuania does not have all its loyal voters in the semi.

In the final this is the type of fluff that producers will stick in a quiet section of the show and will not challenge.

Chance of matching at 1000s: High

Worth it: No, but other markets may be value

Georgia (850/930)

I managed to get a couple of quid on this at 1000 before we knew about the Georgian group. Shouldn’t have bothered. Circus Mircus aren’t as cool or eclectic as we thought and are trying but failing to repeat Georgia’s success of 2016. But that success of 2016 was ultimately a 20th place after scraping through to the Grand Final.

This isn’t likely to be as cool and musically isn’t as interesting - in particular it takes an awfully long time to get going. An unlikely qualifier and while I accept that this has a high standard deviation if they nail it, the Israel Calling performance ruled this out for me.

Chance of matching at 1000: Probable

Worth it? No, ceiling would be squeezing a qualification spot

Germany (830/1000)

Here we go. Podcast listeners will be aware that I have a small position on this and think this could be a very quiet and underrated entry. Could is a choice word here. Alongside Chanel’s dance breakdown, Brividi’s falsetto and whatever the hell the UK staging will be, I will add in the culmination of Malik’s rap verse as a moment of the year. It may be a throwback to Eminem for many but that is a comparison that will not be a problem for the juries.

There’s work to do here, and I haven’t seen anything yet to make that moment pop like it should. The preview party tour performances are vocally fine but don’t give the moment the lift it needs (I wish they dropped the tempo like in the music video to make it stand out before the chorus). Equally I am concerned by Malik’s comments saying that he wants the instruments on stage, as I feel they get in the way. It’s a long shot here but I’m curious to see what Marvin Dietmann will do with staging here to make it more cohesive - not that his previous entries really were groundbreaking.

I think it’s too late for momentum to come to realistically put this in winning contention. I have taken some of this money at the top bracket because it should ooze quality above the other 15 here. But it isn’t doing so yet. Reminds me awfully much of last year’s tip at 1000 ‘Omaga’ where Benny Cristo did not deliver at all in Rotterdam.

Chance of matching at 1000: I can see it

Worth it: Only if you also believe

Austria (800/1000)

Ouch! Pia Maria has delivered a live performance of ‘Halo’ in Israel that was even worse than my podcast tip of seeing them non-qualifying made it appear.

Firstly, I’m sure that will be masked and improved upon for Eurovision. A 50/50 qualifier at the moment, and winning is considered out of potential because, similarly to Ireland, as an artist who must sell the song Pia Maria is outclassed by others.

Chance of matching at 1000: The chance may have disappeared now

Worth it: I guess Lum!x may generate some interest, so maybe

And there you go, there are the outsiders in full. Any of them worth a flutter? Let me know if you are chancing your arm on the longest of long shots this year.

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