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So here we are, just a few hours away from the start of this year’s grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest! For 90%+ of ordinary viewers, this is where the show really begins – and whether you made money on the semi-finals or not (and our recommended bets were, it must be said, a mixed bag), tonight’s betting markets offer so many options for you to consider.

In my view, there’s almost no point in looking at the winner market – the obvious favourites are and remain the obvious favourites, and even potential value bets like Belgium have come in to far shorter odds now. With the running order like it is, an each-way punt on Latvia is one of the few potentially appealing options in that respect, but top four instinctively feels a step too far for an entry with “Suus”-like levels of difficulty (although we’ll get back to Latvia later…).

So where should you be putting your money for tonight’s show? Oddschecker will give you a comprehensive overview of all the many, many options available to you – but before you dive in, here are five potentially interesting bets to consider:

  • Australia to finish in the top 5. Guy Sebastian’s momentum has slowed somewhat from the days when he was the second-favourite behind Sweden, and a first-half draw for “Tonight Again” hasn’t helped matters – but normal viewers will be captivated by the novelty factor of Australia’s participation, not being as blasé about it as fans have already become, and their entry is one of the most professional and potentially jury-friendly of the night. With that in mind, a price of 1.96 (Betfair) feels like it’s worth a nibble.
  • Lots of betting sites offer regional groupings – this means you can bet on the top Scandinavian country, the top Balkan country, and so on. I love these categories, and I’m going to be betting on Latvia to be the top Baltic country, which you can currently get at odds of at BetVictor. That’s a good price considering Estonia has a seriously unfriendly slot in the running order, while “Love Injected” comes as a breath of dynamic fresh air in the middle of the ballad-heavy second half. Unless you think Lithuania can spring a surprise (and Vaidas & Monika’s happy duet feels to me like the kind of thing that works well in a semi-final but does very little in the final), this essentially amounts to a head-to-head bet between Aminata and Stig & Elina – and at that price, it’s surely worth a look.
  • Speaking of head-to-heads (or “match bets” as they’re often called), they’re another fun set of markets that brighten up the Eurovision final – and as you can see from Oddschecker, there are absolutely tons of them available for tonight. I like them because the absolute finishing position of the respective songs plays no role whatsoever – as long as Country X finishes ahead of Country Y, it makes no difference whether they’re 1st and 2nd, or 26th and 27th. With that in mind, how about Cyprus to beat Greece at odds of 2 (PaddyPower) or 2.18 (Betfair)? I don’t think it’s going to be a particularly good night for either song, but “One Last Breath” is up against a huge amount of competition in the ballad field tonight, while “One Thing I Should Have Done” at least stands out a little within its genre and should pick up points here and there, especially from the Anglophone/Anglo-friendly nations. We could be talking about two songs that finish firmly in the bottom third of the table tonight, but relative positions are all that counts where match bets are concerned!
  • I was going to recommend a bet on the United Kingdom to finish last, but with Australia, Ireland and Malta all voting, anything can happen in that respect (just ask Scooch!). So why not bet on the United Kingdom to be the worst “big 5” country instead? The sites offering this market, which include Unibet, are defining “big 5” as including Australia and Austria. For whatever reason, the UK is only the third-“favourite” here, currently trading at 2.75. So if you think Electro Velvet will definitely finish below Ann Sophie, the Makemakes and co., but could accidentally fluke their way ahead of some of the weaker semi-final qualifiers, this is the bet for you – it’s a lot safer than the 3.5-4 you can get for the United Kingdom to finish outright last, anyway.
  • And finally, I always throw a “free money” bet in here, so I’m going to end by recommending a bet that all countries will score at least one point, which you can get at various sites for around 1.29 (see Oddschecker for details). While the evocative “nul points” is something we love to see at Eurovision, there hasn’t been a big fat zero on the grand final scoreboard since Jemini in 2003. Friendless countries that haven’t had to prove themselves in the semi-finals tend to be the obvious candidates for a duck-egg score. While France came close last year, Lisa Angell should pick up enough jury love to score points here and there, and the UK has the aforementioned voting friends to show it some kind of sympathy even with a dodgy performance of a dodgy song. All the other direct finalists have merits (whether musical or geographical) that should see them safely onto the scoreboard, as do even the weakest of the qualified semi-finalists. As such, I’m confident enough that there’ll be no big fat zero on the scoreboard by the close of play tonight.

And there we go! Once the semi-final results have been revealed after tonight’s grand final, I’ll be taking another look at how my recommended bets from Tuesday and Thursday would have served you. In the meantime, wherever you decide to place your money, I hope you have an enjoyable – and profitable – Eurovision night!

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