Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest: The ultimate betting guide to the 2023 event

Eurovision Song Contest
Liverpool, host city for Eurovision 2023

"A first half draw is generally seen as a disadvantage but certain entries will maintain the same televote appeal regardless of running order position, and can also rely on points from their most trusted voting allies."

Eurovision returns to the UK for the first time in 25 years with a spring in its step after Sam Ryder finished runner-up last year with 'Space Man'. Rob Furber offers a handy betting guide ahead of next week's action in Liverpool.

The Eurovision trading experience on the Betfair Exchange is the ultimate adrenaline rush, and an intense, plate-spinning exercise requiring cool, calm thinking under pressure.

In an ideal world, you would hire an entire floor of Canary Wharf and have a team of traders working on your behalf, with pit bosses shouting instructions to make the most of opportunities during the manic, grand final in-running points reveal.

As a sole trader you can still make hay and here are ten handy tips to help you find a trading edge:

Look for kitsch, camp and OTT

For the first time, this year's semi-finals are being decided by televote-only before reverting to the traditional 50/50 televote/jury split in the grand final.

This partly explains why Finland is an odds-on favourite to win semi 1, while Sweden is favourite, currently trading at 2.166/5, to win the grand final.

No juries in the semi-finals this year could spell trouble for some nations who have brought jury-friendly songs.

Counter to that, televote-friendly entries are now king so be on the look out for anything kitsch, camp, cabaret and OTT competing in the semi-finals as these are the staples Eurovision audiences tend to lap up and vote for.

Money to be made away from winner bets

You don't have to find the winner of Eurovision to carve out a sizeable profit. Who takes the UK televote 12pts? Which country will perform first in the grand final? Top Big 5? Top Balkan? Who will finish last?

These may sound arbitrary in nature but some of us round here make it our annual mission to try and solve the puzzle to all of the above, and a whole lot more besides. Success in Betfair's Eurovision side markets often holds the key to a profitable Contest.

Top 10 market is built for Exchange betting

The Top 10 market is one of the most keenly fought by traders and can be subject to dramatic price fluctuations.

Following qualification to the grand final you will see Top 10 prices usually shorten across the board. But a key variable can shift prices again - whether nations draw 1st half or 2nd half in the grand final, in the qualifier press conferences that immediately follow the two semi-finals. Prices will then shift again after the reveal of the full grand final running order on Friday May 12, aka, Eurovision Eve.

A first half draw is generally seen as a disadvantage but certain entries will maintain the same televote appeal regardless of running order position, and can also rely on points from their most trusted voting allies.

That won't stop the market from over-reacting and the shrewd trader can take advantage of these price movements.

Every loser wins

The semi-finals, in particular, provide a window to successfully lay countries trading odds-on to qualify. This year there are 11 countries trading odds-on to qualify from semi 1; 12 in semi 2 (including Estonia).

The Top 10 market offers a similar platform for potentially cheap laying opportunities. There will almost certainly be short-priced nations that miss this year's Top 10.

Track public sentiment

Who's gaining traction post-semi-final and who isn't? Some think the semi-final results feed into the betting markets despite the EBU not revealing the full semi-final breakdown until after the grand final. Keep an eye on how things shift following each semi-final.

ESC Tracker offers a handy guide regarding how much impact songs are having on the iTunes and Spotify charts Europe-wide and this will shift prices, as will social media indicators. Let tellystats be your friend.

Reversal in fortune

Semi-final running order favour will often be reversed in the grand final. Australia has the pimp slot in semi-final 2 this year. This looks fantastic for its qualification prospects and boosts its chance of potentially even winning semi 2 this year.

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It's all looking hunky-dory in the Aussie camp but cool your jets, Voyager fans. If it draws first half in the grand final don't be surprised to see it turn up early in the running order, and it could even open the grand final.

Conversely, those nations inconvenienced in the semi-finals with early running order slots will have the chance for much kinder treatment in the grand final if they qualify.

Avoid the early front-runners

Early front-runners during the grand final points reveal are prone to doing a Mister Coffey in this year's Grand National.

The EBU uses an algorithm to try and mix things up as much as possible regarding the order in which countries reveal their jury points during the grand final.

In a nutshell, this means that whoever leads early is less likely to be the eventual winner, as the EBU tries to intentionally conceal the jury topping nation for as long as it possibly can.

Last year, Ukraine started very poorly across the first few nations to reveal jury points, allowing those who realised how cunning the EBU is in creating the order countries reveals their points, to back Ukraine at a drifting price before it came rattling back into odds-on favouritism, and ended up pulling away once the televotes were added on. Trading opportunities will arise courtesy of this EBU switcheroo.

Take off those United Kingdom specs

UK punters drive the Betfair Winner market to a large extent so also be prepared for wrong moves. A UK-centric view of ESC songs does not necessarily marry with the how the rest of Europe views them.

Jamala's '1944' drifted like a barge after it was first seen and heard in semi-final 2 in 2016. This didn't stop Ukraine winning that year's Contest.

Mae Muller performing from the pimp slot in the grand final for the UK, at home in Liverpool, is going to get a huge reception in the arena as the UK takes up hosting duties on behalf of Ukraine.

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There are ingredients there for a potential UK gamble. Not just the Outright, don't forget the side markets such as Top 15, Top 10 and Top 5.

Don't believe the hype

It is useful to ask yourself, which nations might generate snowballing gambles on grand final night, and treat them as back-to-lay propositions.

When Graham Norton told UK viewers Barei's 'Say Yay!' was his favourite entry in 2016, the Spanish price plunged. Those who had followed the entire ESC season knew Spain was a no-hoper for the win and helped themselves to some appealing lay prices.

UK viewers often latch onto the weirdest, wackiest and most in-your-face entries because recreational punters think they are what Eurovision is all about and they are sure to do well. So you might want to consider pre-empting these potential moves by getting the likes of Finland, Croatia and Austria on side.

Jury v televote

Jury-appealing or televote-friendly? It is worth a reminder, during the points reveal in the grand final, we get to see the jury points first. Inevitably, those nations doing well at the top of the jury scoring, will drop in price.

But the jury points are only half of the equation, so if you can identify likely jury darlings that look potentially much weaker on the televote side of the voting equation, laying opportunities can emerge.

In a similar vein, songs with less jury appeal can drift in price if they are initially lagging behind. You can take advantage if you think you've correctly identified countries with big televote potential, which can then go flying up the leaderboard into the top 5, top 10 or top 15, following the addition of their televote points haul.

Fasten those seatbelts, Eurovision traders. We're in for one hell of a ride.


Rob's top Eurovision tip...

Back Slovenia to be Top Balkan @

2/1

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.