|Prediction||Odds||Bookmakers||Australia to finish in the top 10||4/6||Bethard|
|The Netherlands to win the competition outright||9/4||Paddy Power|
|Norway to finish in the top 10||12/5||Bet365|
Who Wins Eurovision 2019?
The annual betting treat which is the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is just days away. There are two live mid-week semi-finals (Tuesday and Thursday), with the final taking place on Saturday. The competition is being staged in Tel Aviv, Israel, as it was an Israeli act which won the event twelve months ago.
There will be 26 acts performing on finals night, ten apiece taken from each of the semi-finals plus France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK who are collectively known as ‘the Big Five’. These are automatically fast-tracked to the final, as are the defending champions Israel.
Essentially the competition is as good as underway, with the acts and songs representing the 41 participating countries all available to view on both Youtube and the organiser’s official website. All performers have been on stage countless times in recognised warm-up shows – such as Amsterdam’s Eurovision in Concert and the London Eurovision Party – and all songs/acts were showcased on the Eurovision stage during full dress rehearsals at the end of last week.
Form’s in the Book but a Surprise Is Still Possible
In short, we have plenty of form to go on and that includes feedback and polls found at the countless Eurovision fan sites. Rarely, if ever, are the runners and riders (final declarations to quote a horse racing term) known so long before a race starts. Yet, the competition never fails to throw up surprise winners with a back-story which makes their victory blatantly obvious in hindsight.
2016 was a case in point. Ukraine’s winning entry was not a great song by any means but it overcame the polls and a big price (akin to Brexit) to prevail. The reason was simple: the winning song was called 1944, it was partly sung in Crimean Tatar and was largely seen as a political jab at the Kremlin.
Let us not forget Russia has recent ‘history’ with Ukraine and annexed Crimea just a few years ago. Furthermore, Russian leader Vladimir Putin is on the record as declaring Eurovision to be “a Europe-wide gay parade”, a statement he made after the bearded lady, Conchita Wurst, won the contest for Austria in 2014.
Putin’s sentiments are not too far off the mark if the truth be known as Eurovision is a celebration of LGBT. It means Eurovision telephone voters will vote for camp acts, and do all they can to derail the usually strong Russian act/song.
The Good, the Bad and Ugly
But here we hit a stumbling block, there are no apparent protest songs this time around. There are no definitive drag artists, but the male French act is homosexual and dresses femininely. There is very little of the quirkiness which saw Israel’s act prevail in 2018 (and Finland’s Lordi in 2006).
But thankfully we do have a lot of historical data to rely upon, plus big sample-size polls at fan sites which have proven to be a remarkable barometer for winners and big-priced placed acts.
Seriously now, if you intend to make money out of Eurovision betting do not fall into the trap of simply backing the songs that you like – that is a futile exercise. And here are two vital things to consider:
Draw advantage: If you are not placing your bets until finals night, do contemplate the effect of the draw. If your act is one of the last six on stage they have an enormous advantage. Conversely, if your country is pushed out on stage during the first third of the performances, you could probably rip-up your slip immediately.
Where Recent Acts Performed in the Running Order of the Final Show:
|Year||Winner's Draw||Runner-Up's Draw||Third's Draw|
VITAL in-play betting advice: There is one thing which is vital to consider if you intent to trade Eurovision 2019 live in-play. The competition result is known by the organisers the moment public voting has closed. However, for the betterment of the TV show, executives chose to manipulate the order that countries announce their votes in order to keep the outright winner’s identity disguised for as long as possible to generate excitement.
DO NOT BE FOOLED by what appears to be an avalanche of votes for an unfancied country at the outset of proceedings, this will not be a true indicator of where the prize is headed.
This year, in a change to the vote presentation system introduced in 2016, the jury results will firstly be announced by a live spokesperson from each participating country and then the tele-voting results (which make up the other half of all scores) will be revealed in the order of jury ranking, from the lowest to the highest. This will aid organiser’s with their ‘smokescreen’.
Unquestionably Tuesday’s semi-final is far weaker than Thursday’s one. In the order that bookmakers suggest who will ‘win’ (pole the greatest number of phone votes), Greece (6/4), Australia (9/4), Iceland (6/1), Cyprus (8/1), the Czech Republic (25/1) and Slovenia (33/1) look certain to progress to the final.
Greece can be backed at 40/1 with 888Sport to win the competition outright, bizarrely Australia are as short as 11/1 best price with Bethard. If you are looking for a punt in the ‘top-10’ market you could do worse than support Australia. The land down-under has done really well since being accepted into the Eurovision fold in 2015. They have finished inside the top-10 three times and finished runner-up in 2016.
The second semi-final is very strong though, it features the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Malta and Switzerland. These six are all amongst the top eight in the outright betting with the Dutch act being the competition’s outright favourite at 9/4 with bet365.
The Netherlands, who were 14’s at the start of February, 7/1 in March and have been as short as 9/4 with bet365 just a week ago are represented by 25-year-old Duncan Laurence and almost every Eurovision poll that you can find – and some feature over 100,000 votes – has him clear by a big margin at the very top.
These polls, unlike political/election ones of late, are very reliable and I’m in the firm belief the Netherlands will win. Many will be put off by the sudden price drift but this is a consequence of a weight of money for France and last year the winners, Israel, drifted from around 20/1 chance when markets first opened to a 150/1 with Ladbrokes shot in the run-up to finals night.
France Can Collapse Twice
France, as short as 8/1 with Ladbrokes, have been smashed in from 25/1 in just a few days. The collapse came in the aftermath of their dress rehearsal which saw their act, the aforementioned 19-year-old homosexual Bilal Hassani, appear on stage accompanied by a comedic fat fairy.
Ultimately their song is weak – and that means a fair bit these days with half the vote coming courtesy of a ‘professional jury’ – and the staunchest Eurovision supporters will see this act for what it is: a poor attempt to strike the right chords with the ‘popular vote’. Italy tried a similar trick in 2017, as short as 7/4 at one point, their stunt of introducing man dressed as an ape to their stage show went down as well as the proverbial lead balloon and they finished sixth.