Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision 2024 Ultimate Betting Guide: How to win big in Malmo

Eurovision betting tips for the 2024 event
Fifty years on since Abba's famous victory, Malmo will host Eurovision 2024

"The Modern Contest is an audio-visual competition and being able to swiftly discern the hits from the misses when viewing entries for the first time can keep you on the right side of Betfair price movements."

Grab your glow sticks, the world's biggest live music event is about to descend on Malmo! Rob Furber offers ten handy betting pointers ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024...

  • Eurovision is a dream for Betfair Exchange trader Rob Furber

  • Read his ultimate guide to turning a profit for the week

  • Get betting insights for all the key moments


Eurovision represents the ultimate Betfair Exchange trading challenge. A test of temperament as much as skill requiring Cool Hand Luke calm in the midst of market mayhem. It is a competition tailormade for Exchange betting, with dramatic price fluctuations bringing with them big opportunities.

For serious Eurovision traders, five months of meticulous study and building of market positions are about to come to a frenetic climax in Malmo.

But if you're arriving late to the ESC party, fear not. There is still plenty of scope for profit across Betfair's myriad markets. Here are ten potential angles of attack...


Identify audio-visual winners and losers

A vast amount of intel based on fan sentiment, polling information and online rehearsal footage helps to form markets heading into semi-final one on Tuesday night. But everything will change once we see and hear entries performed on the Eurovision stage, crucially, on a TV monitor.

A great stage show can work wonders; poor live execution will likely prove damaging. The Modern Contest is an audio-visual competition and being able to swiftly discern the hits from the misses when viewing entries for the first time can keep you on the right side of Betfair price movements.

You need to assess key visual clues as much as an entry's catchiness and musical quality. Study the camera work, the lighting, the backdrop, the choreo... Will the overall package charm televoters and impress jury members alike?

Some music artists have the stagecraft and charisma to own the stage, and the camera loves them. Others miss the mark. Telegenic appeal cannot be under-estimated as it's all about making that vital connection with the TV viewer in the space of three short minutes.


Semi-final lay potential

There are ten qualification spots up for grabs in each semi-final and 12 nations have been trading odds-on to qualify in semi one. Something's got to give.

With ten odds-on shots to qualify in semi two don't be put off by the prospect of laying one or two here as well because it's very rare indeed for 100% accuracy in these qualification markets.

You need to identify entries with potential chinks in their armour - uninteresting song, underwhelming staging, poor live vocal...? If successful, a big profit awaits with only a small potential downside.

The semi-finals are 100% televote which makes running order a more significant factor. Some entries can risk being memory-holed if surrounded by stronger entries on either side. The two draw is a notoriously tricky running order slot to qualify from.

There is often a tiny points difference between a nation finishing ninth in a semi-final, and qualifying, or 11th and not qualifying. Never be afraid to ignore the herd and lay an odds-on shot because there is always scope for a perceived qualification good thing or two to be turned over.


Rule, Britannia!

To qualify prices will move live in-running during the two semi-finals, shown this year again live on BBC1, as will Winner market prices. And UK sentiment can carry significant weight on Betfair in shifting prices.

Brits often find foreign language ballads dull, boring and impenetrable, while being charmed by the whackiest and in your face entries. Viewing entries via a prism of UK Eurovision taste can enable you to identify likely shorteners and drifters.

Riding these short-term price movements can secure a profit prior to the actual reveal of the semi-final qualifiers, or Saturday's grand final winner. Just be sure to remove those UK-centric specs when trying to predict the actual semi-final qualifiers, and who wins the Contest.


Momentum builders

Along with the 31 nations competing for 20 grand final qualifying spots across the two semi-finals, this year will see the Big 5 entries and hosts Sweden all perform live in full for the first time. UK, Germany and Sweden in semi one; France, Spain and Italy in semi two.

Keep abreast of online data metrics once the dust has settled on the semi-finals. Who's building up a head of steam heading into Saturday's grand final and who might be under-performing?

It's a rapidly evolving picture and you need to follow the likes of Tellystats and ESC Tracker to stay ahead of the curve and beat the markets to the punch in assessing the overriding sentiment.


Be a draw hawk

It is always in the early hours of Eurovision Eve - Friday May 10 this year - that the all-important producer-decided full running order drops for the grand final. A late night vigil can be well worth it so you can get first dibs on the big winners and big losers coming out of that draw.

Show producer Christer Bjorkman has even greater power this year in deciding the make-up of the first half and second half. This will give you a strong indication of the likeliest semi-final winners, who among the Big 5 he is favouring, and hence the main contenders to win on the Saturday night.

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Keep an eye, in particular, on who he places in slots ten to 13 at the end of the first half. The 13 slot is effectively the pimp slot in the first half of the grand final. Prime second half slots are usually running order positions between 20 and 24.


Jury scores first, televote second

Back-to-lay or lay-to-back? An often simple and effective strategy in the Winner, Top 3, Top 4, Top 5, Top 10 and Top 15 markets is trying to figure out the jury and televote appeal of entries. This crucial dichotomy perplexes the most seasoned Eurovision trader annually.

While televoters often lap up kitsch and kooky entries, they invariably prove jury anathema. Big on spectacle but small on actual musical merit is a clear red flag with juries which consist of five music professionals there to lend a more critical eye.

The precise criteria used by juries in ranking the entries is: composition and originality of the song; quality of the performance on stage; vocal capacity of the performer(s); and overall impression of the act.

The jury points and televote points have a, more or less, 50/50 say on the grand final outcome. If you can spot the likely jury toppers these will be the potential shorteners during live in-running trading during the grand final because we find out the jury scores across the 37 competing nations first.

Entries with clear televote appeal can end up trailing well down the leaderboard following the jury points reveal, and as a result drift in price, but this is only the halfway mark. You can potentially avail yourself of some great value if you can identify those entries you think have likely gone down a storm with TV viewers.

Adopting a back-to-lay approach with the jury darlings and a lay-to-back approach with the biggest potential televote hits can pay off handsomely.


Heads you win, tails you also win

The Top 10 market is always a key battleground at Eurovision and if you don't have the big pockets to lump on perceived locks trading at very short prices such as Ukraine and Croatia, there are usually one or two nations trading at more attractive prices that make the Top 10.

Last year, Estonia squeezed into the grand final by finishing tenth in semi-final two. Available at double figure prices to finish Top 10, and tipped up by yours truly, it went on to finish eighth.

With the two semi-finals now being decided by 100% televote, it can pay to spot potential jury-pleasing entries, like Estonia last year, and invest in them to make the Top 10 or Top 15.

The wisest insurance policy is to lay these sort of entries to qualify, given the risk of non-qualification, and combine this with backing them to make the Top 10 and/or Top 15.

What you lose if the entry qualifies you will get back, and more, if it goes on to finish in the Top 10 or Top 15. And if you're talking about an odds-on shot to qualify, you can easily put yourself in a profitable position if it fails to qualify, regardless of the Top 10/15 loss.


Put aside personal bias

You may have a predilection for Estonian hip hop or Icelandic Aggrotech but personal taste needs to be put on the back burner when it comes to assessing the Eurovision field. ESC trading rewards cold, calculated analysis combined with an intuitive knack for distinguishing Europe-wide hits and misses.

You will be better served studying diaspora patterns across the Continent because people who have dispersed around Europe can and will support their former homeland at ESC and can provide a crucial televote boost.

But be sure to take off those patriotic blinkers in assessing the UK's chances. Never be afraid to bet against your home country in the various Betfair markets no matter how much the BBC tries to talk up Olly Alexander's 'Dizzy'.

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Crying game

As much as people love the bragging rights of finding the ESC winner, you need to hone your ears and eyes to spot the likely biggest losers because their failure can earn you just as much profit.

A successful short-priced Top 10 or Top 15 lay is an absolute joy. Ditto flooring an odds-on shot to qualify in the semi-finals. And Eurovision betting coups don't come much sweeter than finding the winner in the Last Place market.

Germany has finished last in the last two years; the UK in 2019 and 2021. Both bring jury-friendly entries this year, so there looks scope for a surprise. Keep an eye on Spain. It's an absolute shocker.

Back Spain in 'Last Place' market @ around 4.216/5

Bet here

Norton's coin

Graham Norton will adopt his traditional commentary role for BBC1 during the grand final. Whenever he informs the UK audience which entry or entries he likes the most, you can guarantee this will lead to a flood of money for said entry.

It's a case of fastest fingers winning the day hitting the Back button, Eurovision's equivalent of a shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, as the price will drop. Buy, sell... In a scene reminiscent of the climax of Trading Places you need to then rapidly hit the Lay button for some quick and easy gains.

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Put in the hard yards and the Eurovision trading game really is a piece of cake, and enormous fun too. The 2024 Contest is appropriately being held in Sweden 50 years on following Abba's landmark victory with 'Waterloo', and a fantastic week of Exchange action lies in store.


Rob's Top Eurovision Tip

Back France in 'Top Big 5' market @ around 3.211/5

Bet here

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