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That’s how you place a bet: Your guide to the grand final!

by | May 12, 2018

That’s how you place a bet: Your guide to the grand final!

by | May 12, 2018 | Eurovision |

The final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is nearly upon us, and as always, one way of adding a bit of spice to proceedings is to have a bet or two on what’s going to happen. Unlike the semi-finals, today is where the mainstream bookmakers also turn up with some interesting markets. This post will help to navigate some of the bets available to you for tonight’s show – though as always, you should take anything I say as information and not an active recommendation!

Our good friends at Sofabet have a handy guide for you if you need some help understanding betting odds – I’ll be using the European-style decimal odds throughout this piece. All odds are correct at time of writing but liable to change as the day progresses. You have been warned!

So let’s start with the obvious question: who’ll be the winner tonight? Eleni Foureira from Cyprus picked up momentum after her first rehearsal and is now seen as the clear favourite – the best odds you’ll get for her to win are a remarkably short 2.38 (Betfred). Her nearest rival in that respect, Netta from Israel, is currently trading at around 4.0 (Boylesports) at best, which is a little shorter than she was a few days ago – that may reflect a strong performance at last night’s jury final.

You might want to hedge your bets by going each-way, which means betting on a song to win and also to finish in the top 4 (or 3 or 5, depending on the site – make sure to check!). For example, reliable ESC performer Sweden probably won’t win tonight, but odds of 21.0 (various) make them an interesting each-way punt. Further out, Michael Schulte from Germany (26.0 at Black Type) has gained a lot of momentum in the last few days, or you might fancy an each-way nibble at the cheesiest entry of the night, DoReDos from Moldova, at 67.0 (Paddy Power and others).

Bet your hat on a DoReDo?

If you’d rather eliminate the potentially confusing each-way option, you can just bet directly on a country to finish in the top 4. Ryan O’Shaughnessy from Ireland has been perhaps the biggest mover in the market since the final running order was announced, and while an eighth Irish victory seems highly unlikely, odds of 3.1 (BetStars) are available for “Together” to suck up the ballad vote tonight and sneak into the top 4. The aforementioned fun-loving Moldovans are available at 9.0 (William Hill) if you believe Europe will fall for the charms of their Carry On Up The Chișinău performance, or you could take a punt on Waylon from the Netherlands to repeat his high-scoring antics from 2014 as part of the Common Linnets – odds of 29.0 (BetStars) say he’ll reach the top 4 tonight.

The top 10 market is an interesting one, not least because the number of points needed to reach that particular mark on the scoreboard can vary wildly – just remember 2015, when Bojana from Serbia grabbed a top 10 spot despite scoring very little outside her obvious target audience. So where’s the value here? If you think returning hero Alexander Rybak from Norway has enough residual love among Europe’s televoters to at least hit the upper reaches of the scoreboard, you can currently get 1.8 (BetVictor) for him to achieve a top 10 finish. Ukraine have been given the opening spot in the contest, and they have a bit of recent form in that respect, finishing 6th from the same position in 2014. If you think Melovin can repeat history to a sufficient extent to make the top 10 tonight, odds of as long as 4.0 (Boylesports) are available. And speaking of repeating history, Australia have never failed to reach the top 10 on their three contest appearances to date. Following some shaky rehearsals, Jessica Mauboy is surprisingly far out to make it four out of four for the Aussies – you can back her at 2.1 (Bet365 and others).

Rybak: Still pulling in the crowds

There are several group bets available for the grand final, too. Bulgaria are the clear favourites in the Top Balkan market (1.4 at Betway is the best you’ll get for them); if I say the nearest challenger is Albania (8.0, Bet365), that gives you some indication of how uncompetitive the market is. Top Scandinavian country is a far more interesting proposition: if you think frontrunner Sweden is overrated, you could punt on Norway at 3.5 (Betway), or you could plump for Saara Aalto from Finland to leave all the boys behind and take the Nordic crown – odds of 9.0 are available at various sites for that outcome. There’s also a non-regional group market for the Top Big 5 country, too. No one is inside 2.0 here, with France leading the way at 2.2 (Betfred). Given their excellent starting position and the potential for the other “big” countries to flop, you could do worse than bet a few currency units on Italy, which you can grab for odds as long as 7.0 (Betfair Sportsbook).

A few sites are also offering head-to-heads or match-ups. The advantage here is it doesn’t matter where your pick finishes on the final scoreboard in absolute terms, just as long as it finishes higher the other country in the bet. For example, if you feel Eleni has been overrated by the fan hype, you can get 2.62 for Israel to beat Cyprus tonight. You may think the Bulgarian team have put in enough groundwork to finish ahead of Mikolas from the Czech Republic – 2.00 is available for that outcome. Alternatively, if you believe AWS’s screamo schlager will prove more popular than the fun but dated DoReDos offering, odds of 3.0 are available for Hungary to beat Moldova. All of these (and more) can be found on Bet365, but several other sites are offering similar markets, so do check them out.

There’s also an interesting little market at Betfair Exchange for the lowest score, i.e. how many points will be scored by tonight’s last-placer. The options are under 10 points (currently 1.62), 10-15 points (2.44) or over 15 points (1.76). The latter could be worth a punt if you believe this year really is as all over the place as it looks.

Stormy times ahead?

And last of all (appropriately enough), there’s the small matter of who will occupy that last place on the scoreboard. The “big 5 + host” automatic qualifiers are always at risk of taking home the wooden spoon, as they haven’t been subjected to quality control in the same way as the qualifying semi-finalists. As such, it’s no surprise to see the United Kingdom leading the way in this market at 3.0 (Betfred and others). If you think SuRie’s vocal strength and natural charm will persuade enough people (especially jurors) to at least lift the UK to Joe & Jake levels of mediocrity, you might want to consider the host country Portugal (13.0, Paddy Power) or even the Spanish lovebirds Amaia and Alfred with their early slot in the running order (15.0, Boylesports). If a semi-final qualifier does fall through the cracks and end up at the bottom of the pile, meanwhile, it could be Slovenia – they almost did exactly that in 2014, after all, and Lea Sirk shares the Spanish fate of an unfortunately early place in the running order. Odds of 5.50 (Ladbrokes) say that Ljubljana will be the destination of the 2018 wooden spoon.

As always, you can see an overview of the odds in most of the available markets at Oddschecker. Wherever you place your money and however you watch the show tonight, I hope you have a wonderful and profitable evening. May the best song win – and your best bets, too!

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