Lisbon 2018

A week before rehearsals: What are the bookmakers thinking?

With the 43 songs known and all preview parties done and dusted, it’s time to go back to the bookmakers and see what they are currently thinking. We’re a week away from the start of the rehearsals in Lisbon, but who is looking good as a favourite at this stage?

Bookmakers started taking bets way in December, when we had no idea what was going to be brought to Eurovision 2018 in terms of songs. Sweden, Russia and Australia were the obvious front runners, with some countries, like Israel and Czech Republic, being deemed as no hopers. As we all know, that sure changed once we got all the songs. Thanks to Oddschecker, we can now see how the songs seem to be doing.

Let us take a look at some interesting ones this time around…

Current favourite: Israel

  Best odds offered: 15/8  –  Shortest odds offered: 6/4  –  March’s best odds: 20/1

There can be no doubt this year. The runaway favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon is Israel. The bookmakers didn’t respond as much when Netta was selected, but the moment she released her song changed everything. Overnight, Israel’s odds dropped from 20/1 down to 2/1.

Her odds are now miles away from the other contestants. The numbers Netta is now showing are similar to the ones we saw from the favourites in 2016 and 2017, Sergey Lazarev and Francesco Gabbani. Can Netta do what those two couldn’t? Can she take the trophy home?

A good second: Bulgaria

  Best odds offered: 7/1  –  Shortest odds offered: 5/1  –  March’s best odds: 7/1

It doesn’t look as if much has happened to Bulgaria’s odds over the past few weeks, but nothing is less true. In the space of two weeks after “Bones” was released to the public, Bulgaria dropped from 5/1 to 20/1, becoming outsiders instead of favourites.

However, the live performances in London and Amsterdam sure put the fall to a hold. With fans now believing EQUINOX could actually pull the song of live, a lot of the money being put on Eurovision 2018 now goes in the direction of Bulgaria. Their odds have gone back from 20/1 to now, as shortest offer, 5/1. They’ve put themselves in second place again. Not quite within touching distance, but rehearsals haven’t started yet…

Highest climber: France

  Best odds offered: 14/1  –  Shortest odds offered: 9/1  –  March’s best odds: 35/1

The past few weeks have been very good for France. Madame Monsieur have seen their odds being slashed down to, with some bookmakers, 9/1. Their odds are continuing to shorten and we may well see them climb a couple more places in the next week. They are now in sixth place, but both Estonia and Australia are in touching distance.

What has caused the sudden surge for “Mercy”? One could say the crowd reaction at all those preview parties helped. The French entry has always been a fan favourite this season, but its chances of winning seemed to be marginal. They found themselves in fourteenth place a the start of March, with odds of 35/1. Critical people may think its chances are still small, as Madame Monsieur didn’t manage to win the jury vote in Destination Eurovision. However, let’s not forget neither Jamala nor Salvador Sobral had the full support in their national finals, with Jamala losing the jury vote and Salvador Sobral losing the televote. Can France do what Portugal did last year and become a favourite after the rehearsals?

Never ignore a former winner: Norway

  Best odds offered: 25/1  –  Shortest odds offered: 16/1  –  March’s best odds: 50/1

It is perhaps even more divisive than Israel this year, but you just cannot ignore Alexander Rybak’s return to the Eurovision Song Contest. The winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest has moved up to seventh place with bookmakers now. His odds are decent: If you believe he can win it next month, there’s a 25/1 up for grabs for you.

One thing is for sure: Rybak has had a strong showing in Melodi Grand Prix this year, where he achieved a landslide victory. His showing on home soil is an encouraging sign for his fans and after all, in such an open year as many seem to think 2018 is, experience with winning the contest might just push him that extra bit forward. Can the outsider take his second victory?

Falling rapidly: The Netherlands

  Best odds offered: 75/1  –  Shortest odds offered: 40/1   –   March’s best odds: 16/1

Things are not looking good for The Netherlands. Waylon was looking like a steady outsider after he released his song. He went as high as seventh with bookmakers, with odds of 14/1. However, the rise came to a sudden end. The Netherlands are now down to 75/1 and find themselves in sixteenth place.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear reason why Waylon is falling with the bookmakers. One of the reasons however might be the lack of exposure to the people who bet the most at this moment: Fans. The Dutch are known for making the choice not to take part in most preview parties or any PR campaign. Will that prove to be a costly mistake? Or will we see the Dutch climb again once the rehearsals have started?

The current ranking with the bookmakers

Below you can see the full ranking of all 43 entries, including best odds and shortest odds at the time of publication, 24th April 2018:

Country Best odds Shortest odds
1.      Israel 15/8 6/4
2.      Bulgaria 7/1 5/1
3.      Czech Republic 10/1 6/1
4.      Australia 12/1 6/1
5.      Estonia 12/1 9/1
6.      France 14/1 9/1
7.      Norway 25/1 16/1
8.      Sweden 25/1 11/1
9.      Belgium 33/1 16/1
10.   Greece 40/1 25/1
11.   Spain 40/1 25/1
12.   Italy 50/1 28/1
13.   Finland 50/1 33/1
14.   Austria 66/1 40/1
15.   The Netherlands 75/1 40/1
16.   Belarus 80/1 50/1
17.   Denmark 100/1 66/1
18.   Cyprus 100/1 50/1
19.   Portugal 100/1 50/1
20.   Ukraine 100/1 50/1
21.   Germany 100/1 66/1
22.   Lithuania 100/1 80/1
23.   Russia 150/1 66/1
24.   United Kingdom 150/1 50/1
25.   Armenia 150/1 60/1
26.   Moldova 150/1 100/1
27.   Latvia 200/1 66/1
28.   Azerbaijan 200/1 66/1
29.   Hungary 250/1 100/1
30.   Malta 250/1 100/1
31.   FYR Macedonia 250/1 50/1
32.   Georgia 250/1 150/1
33.   Serbia 250/1 100/1
34.   Ireland 300/1 100/1
35.   Poland 300/1 100/1
36.   Albania 300/1 200/1
37.   Romania 300/1 100/1
38.   Croatia 300/1 100/1
39.   Slovenia 500/1 200/1
40.   Montenegro 500/1 200/1
41.   Switzerland 500/1 200/1
42.   Iceland 500/1 200/1
43.   San Marino 500/1 200/1

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Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of ESCXTRA.com. Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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