This article uses decimal odds throughout – for more about understanding betting odds, we recommend the guide here. All odds correct at time of writing!
And so the big day is here! How did your semi-final bets go? Or have you been holding off until the grand final? Either way, now is the perfect moment to make yourself a cup of tea and sift through the betting markets for tonight’s show.
As the Oddschecker overview shows, there are so many different markets and I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I’ve decided to limit myself to just five of the most interesting ones. Do click that link and take a look at what’s out there, though.
Starting, of course, with the winner market. If you’re anything like me, you have no real idea who’s going to win tonight, and that’s reflected in the prices here. No runaway leaders à la Duncan Laurence this time – although the bookies’ favourite, Italy, feels relatively short at 3.25 (Betfred) for a potentially divisive rock song – but after that, you’ve got former favourites France and Malta lurking at 4.5 and 6.5 respectively (both Unibet).
An each-way bet might be more interesting here, as that’ll pay out a smaller amount (usually 1/4) if the song of your choice ends up in the top 4. Switzerland (11 at William Hill and others) and Iceland (17 at Bet365) could be worthy of your attention here – if the jury and public votes are as wildly split as some expect them to be, there’s room for a song to come through the middle and take a top 4 finish with decent support across the board.
Betfair has markets for top 3, top 4, top 5 and even top 15 (usually a great place to lay the United Kingdom, but even British punters seem to have learned this year!). We’re going to concentrate on the top 10, though, because that feels like quite an easy market to get your head around, similar to the Q/NQ question in the semi-finals.
As you might imagine, the big favourites here have incredibly short odds – even Lithuania is a mere 1.5 (Skybet) to bag a top 10 finish – but if you think you’ve spotted the sleeper hit of the night, there’s potential here. Could it be Portugal (2, SBK) with its potential “real music” jury appeal? How about Manizha from Russia (3, Paddy Power), who’s guaranteed to hoover up votes from a strong subset of countries? Or to take more of a punt, Norway (4.33, Paddy Power) and Greece (4.5, Bet365) also feel like the kind of songs that could get enough televotes to offset a weaker jury score and pop into the lower reaches of the top 10 with a fair wind.
Regional markets are one of my favourite things because they narrow down the field for you.
For example, which “Scandinavian” (i.e. Nordic) country will come out on top? The market still believes in the power of Daði: Iceland are the hot favourites here, but if you believe their bubble has been burst by the Covid situation and Blind Channel have the momentum from the semi-final (as indicated by the producers giving them the final envelope, perhaps?), you can get Finland at 3.0 (Paddy Power) to win this particular fight.
Elsewhere, the top “Balkan” market – defined here as Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania – might be of interest to you. Victoria from Bulgaria is still sitting pretty here, with a best available price of 1.9 (Bet365). But if you think the sand is running out of her momentum, you can get 3.5 (various sites) if you believe Hurricane’s huge YouTube views will translate into televote love for Serbia tonight – or 4.75 (Unibet) if you think we’re all forgetting about Greece’s green screen appeal. What’s nice about this market is it’s interesting even if the countries all flop somewhat – it’s feasible that the Balkan countries mentioned could all finish between 11th and 20th, say, which could make it a bit random as to who’ll come out on top. And where there’s random, there’s value!
In a year where the winner is up in the air, you might be interested in the separate jury winner and televote winner markets.
You can see the odds for yourself at the above Oddschecker link, but there are some interesting observations. Like Ukraine lurking as the second-favourite to win the televote at 4.5 (various sites), something that would have been inconceivable a week ago – and Iceland priced as long as 9 with Betway despite the possibility of a sympathy vote (and really, why shouldn’t they be this year’s KEiiNO?).
Elsewhere, the markets are fairly confident that France have the jury vote wrapped up, but I think there’s still a case for Malta (4, Boylesports) – the island nation always does significantly better with the juries anyway, and the empowerment message of “Je me casse” should be jury catnip on top of that.
Finally, here’s the big question: Who’s going to finish in last place?
As so often, the least impressive of the automatic finalists are the big favourites here. James Newman from the United Kingdom leads the way, with a longest price of 2.5 with the mainstream bookies (e.g. Paddy Power). That’s gotta hurt. If he picks up some jury support, however, there could be a path to the wooden spoon for Germany’s Jendrik (4.5, Unibet) or Blas from Spain (6, Skybet).
Is there any chance that one of the semi-final qualifiers will end up at the bottom of the pack? If so, the markets believe that Moldova is the candidate there, but even a price of 13 (Paddy Power et al) feels stingy given the Romania and Kirkorov/Dream Team factors at play here. Looking further down the list, there are conceivably arguments for the early-drawn Israel (15, Paddy Power), but Eden knocked it out of the park at last night’s jury final and should get some love as a result. So, no… I’m afraid I don’t really see past the UK, Germany or Spain here. But your mileage may vary!
However you watch tonight’s show and wherever you place your money, I hope you have a bloody wonderful time. We all deserve it after the last year and a half. Cheers, and here’s to a profitable – and enjoyable – evening!