Saturday, 23 May 2015

Final betting guide: some bets you should have placed

For an event that's meant to be the highlight of our year as Eurovision fans, final night can sometimes be a bit of an anti-climax. We've seen nearly all the songs, we have a good idea of how everything's going to be performed, and, more often than not in recent years, the winner is a bit of a foregone conclusion.

So, let's spice things up a bit with a few bets!

The obvious place for most people to bet is the win market, but honestly, that's a bit dull. All the good money has gone weeks ago, and unless you've suddenly spotted something that you missed until the semi-finals, betting on the final is all a bit ho-hum. Sweden are an ever greater favourite than they were before, with best odds of 2.4; maybe you've spotted something in Belgium, whose odds are now at 11, having come in dramatically since the semi-final, or you still have faith in Italy, whose odds have drifted slightly to 6 since the running order announcement.

However, let's brighten up the rest of the voting. Betting on other outcomes gives you the chance to look further down the scoreboard - particularly if you're convinced Sweden are winning, betting on other results can liven up a potentially dull voting.

There's obviously the Top 3, Top 4, Top 5 and Top 10 markets offered by a number of bookies (though they rarely offer all combinations). The Top 10 market has been one of my favourites to bet on this year, as with a few key favourites probably occupying the top positions, the rest of the high end of the scoreboard could be a bit volatile. It's worth remembering that you don't always need a huge amount of support to reach 9th or 10th - Ruth Lorenzo came 10th with just 74 points last year.

This means that a country can often reach the top 10 without getting all-round support - either just winning votes from one part of Europe or, as Ruth did, scoring mainly from juries. Interesting bets here to my mind therefore include Georgia, at 2.75, and Romania, at 3.25. I also find it intriguing that you can still more than double your money by betting on Azerbaijan to be Top 10. The performance on Thursday was, to my mind, overly messy and distracting, but I still think there'll be certain viewers who will gobble this up.

Of course, if you want to be looking down at the right of the scoreboard, there's always the market for last place. The UK is 'favourite' here, with odds of 4, but I'm surprised you can get odds of 11 for Poland to come last - they only narrowly escaped the last place in 2008 with a similarly-styled song, and could well go one worse, with televoters and juries alike having plenty of other stronger-voiced balladeers to choose from.

One of my favourite markets during the final is the head-to-heads (sometimes called match bets). This effectively pits one country against another, with the higher placed one winning. There's tons of combinations of these spread among the various bookmakers, and I'd advise you to have a browse. Particularly if you think a certain song is underrated, it might be safer to bet on it to beat another, weaker song, rather than to come Top 5 or Top 10 - after all, if you bet on France to beat the UK, France could come 26th and you'd still win your bet if the UK came last!

One of the countries I've been looking at in the matches is Germany, as I feel they're generally quite underrated - not a top 10 contender, but also likely not bottom 5 to my mind. So I've taken odds of 2.25 for them to finish ahead of Poland, for example, who, as you'll have gathered from above or my earlier prediction, I think are pretty doomed. There's also odds of 2.1 available for them to beat France, though I haven't gone near that one as France could potentially gather a lot of jury support. It can also be fun to bet on matches that are rated quite close, and keep an eye on them throughout the voting - Greece vs Cyprus is always a good one (Greece are seen as the favourite here), or Armenia vs Azerbaijan. One head-to-head that stuck out to me was the 3.5 offered by Bet365 for Hungary to finish ahead of Romania. While I do think Romania is probably the victor here, those generous odds convinced me it was worth a punt.

Finally, there's always the occasional random bet out there, and this year bwin want to know if you think Loïc Nottet will score more points than Mariya Yaremchuk did last year, or if Polina Gagarina can get more points than Andras Kallay-Saunders amassed (spoiler: yes).

As always, oddschecker is your friend, and I hope you have a very enjoyable (and profitable) evening!

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