It’s fair to say that for some people, having a flutter on the contest and potentially catching the bookies out is one of the enjoyable aspects of the season. As we’re now in the middle of the selection season, Who do the bookmakers think has a shot at victory this year?
Many bookmakers started taking odds on this year’s contest way back in December. Although at the time they didn’t have much to go on, data from previous years and past Eurovision success stories gave them a fair idea on who to put at the top of their tree.
Usual favourites were all there in prime position – Sweden, Australia & Russia with the likes of San Marino, Czech Republic & Switzerland already being signed off as no hopers. But things have turned an interesting corner since, let’s take a look at where some countries stand now:
Current Favourite: Bulgaria
Best odds offered: 8/1 – Shortest odds offered: 7/1 – January’s best odds: 14/1
Despite little being known about this year’s Bulgarian entry, the official BNT Eurovision twitter account has been teasing fans for many weeks – citing that quality is what matters and hinting international involvement.
Besides the record numbers for songs received, we’ve got one project more compared to 2017. But numbers aside, quality is what matters and we can’t wait to get first feedback of where do we stand 🙂 #Eurovision pic.twitter.com/mRspPtVNVx
— BNT Eurovision 🇧🇬 (@bg_eurovision) December 29, 2017
Aside from this, let’s not forget Bulgaria’s impressive turnaround at the contest in recent years. After a two year absence, the country came back with a vengeance in 2016 when Poli Genova was internally selected with her song ‘If Love Was A Crime’, reaching a record 4th place for Bulgaria. This record was quickly beaten the following year when Kristian Kostov almost sealed victory for the country with the heart wrenching ballad ‘Beautiful Mess’. Is victory finally in sight?
Touching Distance: Finland
Best odds offered: 9/1 – Shortest odds offered: 6/1 – January’s best odds: 25/1
As soon as Saara Aalto was announced as Finland’s representative back in December, the odds for a Finnish win shortened across the board almost immediately. Saara’s success on The X Factor UK had made news worldwide, so it was no surprise to see them regarded so highly. Interestingly though, it took until early February for Finland to have a real impact on the bookmakers – when Saara’s first potential Eurovision entry ‘Monsters’ was unveiled. The feedback from fans and fellow artists alone was enough to boost them into 2nd place, in the odds.
— Duncan James (@MrDuncanJames) February 14, 2018
Finland to win Eurovision 🙌 I’m definitely voting for you ! LOVE ‘Monsters’ and I can’t wait to hear your other songs too 💖💖 I’ve been listening to ‘Monsters’ all day ! 😘
— Teamsnowfairy (@ProudOfSaara_x) February 9, 2018
Never ignore a Fan Favourite: Estonia
Best odds offered: 10/1 – Shortest odds offered: 7/1 – January’s best odds: 25/1
When it comes to bookmakers and Eurovision, fans play the key factor. In 2012, Euphoria hit a chord with fans within seconds of Loreen gracing the stage at the first heat of Melodifestivalen that year. This led to bookies locking Sweden in as the contest favourite, which they remained at until it took the contest by storm in Baku.
In the first semi final of Estonia’s Eesti Laul, fans went wild for Elina Nechayeva’s opera number ‘La Forza’ – with many citing the song as ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘incredibly unique for the contest’. It wasn’t long before the bookies cottoned on to this, which has resulted in Estonia taking current 4th place in the odds.
Highest Climber: Czech Republic
Best odds offered: 16/1 – Shortest odds offered: 14/1 – January’s best odds: 66/1
Back in January, you would have had to scroll down quite a fair way to find the Czech Republic in the list of odds, as the bookies had them listed at 66/1 (who could blame them really?). However, What they revealed as their entry came as a complete surprise to many – Mikolas Josef’s very funky number ‘Lie To Me’.
A million miles away from the ballads that we’ve been given by the Czech’s in previous years – this is not only current but has all the ingredients of a successful entry at the contest. Catchy memorable hook, easy to digest lyrics and a trumpet!
i bet this song is gonna end up in the top 5 because it’s quite catchy and he’s a good looking guy, nglhttps://t.co/5ChdJa4gUI
— LAYLA (@laylamrzk) February 14, 2018
Falling Rapidly: Italy
Best odds offered: 28/1 – Shortest odds offered: 14/1 – January’s best odds: 10/1
Francesco Gabbani’s “Occidentali’s Karma’ was a fan favourite last year, so it was always going to take some beating this year. Bookmakers had faith in Italy however and initially offered odds of 10/1 and lower on them being victorious this year.
Last weekend, the duo Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro won the annual Sanremo and accepted the offer to represent the country with their song ‘”Non mi avete fatto niente”. Although it has received praise among many fans, a lot of people have struggled to connect with both the song and the artists. With Gabbani oozing charisma in Kyiv and still falling short at victory, is the trophy simply unreachable for Italy this year?
ITALY : This song is certainly good, has certainly good lyrics and sounds professional. The problem is…
I don’t like the song. #Eurovision
— Mered🇨🇿PecheMelba113 (@PecheMelba113) February 17, 2018
Worth keeping an eye on: Sweden, Netherlands
In Sweden, Melodifestivalen is still holding it’s heats – which means there’s still time for something special to along to excite fans. Many believe Benjamin Ingrosso’s ‘Dance You Off’ is already a contender, with its impressive light show already standing out among the other finalists. It seems the bookies’ have some faith stored in Sweden, keeping them locked firmly in 3rd place at 10/1.
Waylon was announced as the dutch representative back in November and is set to reveal his entry in the next few weeks. As part of The Common Linnets in 2014, he helped achieve one of the best results for the Netherlands in recent years, finishing runner up with Calm After The Storm. His solo return this year can only mean he has something equally as good up his sleeve. Current odds: 25/1