Editorials & Opinion

EXPANDED EDITION: We rediscover pre-contest Eurovision odds from 1998 to 2021!

This is an updated version of an article published in March 2021

I’ve always had a slightly unhealthy obsession with Eurovision odds and continue to do so. I often believe that they can’t be that wrong when it comes to the results at Eurovision itself. In the weeks before their respective contests, I was convinced France had it in the bag in 2011, Armenia the same in 2014, Russia in 2016 and Italy in 2017. They were all such strong favourites that surely they would follow in the footsteps of other strong favourites such as Alexander Rybak and Loreen? Nevertheless, this didn’t turn out to be the case.

Are odds really a good indicator of the eventual results?

For many fans, betting odds are considered the most important ranking when it comes to predicting where entries will finish in May. Fan forum rankings or YouTube views can always be skewed by either the often atypical taste of Eurovision fans or the size of the populations of the participating countries. Yet, with odds, people have to put their money where their mouth is. They have to think with their head rather than follow their heart.

To discover how good an indicator betting odds really have been in predicting Eurovision successes prior to action kicking off at rehearsals, we are about to take a look back at the pre-contest odds from every single contest since 1998 (which is the furthest back that I can find on the internet!). For each contest, we’ve used recordings of odds from approximately a month before the contest. This is ideal as it doesn’t take into account the effect of rehearsals on odds. However, people will have had weeks to get to know all the entries and make logical predictions. The only exceptions to this are the earlier contests as due to the scarcity of available information, I just had to use whatever I could find!

So sit back and enjoy this 23-year Eurovision flight!

🇬🇧 Birmingham 1998

Date of final: 9 May 1998
Odds recorded: 8 May 1998 (1 day before the final)
Source: BBC

  • The winning entry was placed 6th in the odds.
  • 40% of the eventual top 5 at Eurovision placed inside the top 5 of the odds.
  • 80% of the eventual top 15 at Eurovision placed inside the top 15 of the odds.
RankOddsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
15/2🇬🇧 United KingdomImaani – Where Are You?2nd
25/1🇧🇪 BelgiumMélanie Cohl – Dis oui6th
37/1🇸🇪 SwedenJill Johnson – Kärleken är10th
48/1🇮🇪 IrelandDawn Martin – Is Always Over Now?9th
59/1🇲🇹 MaltaChiara – The One That I Love3rd
610/1🇮🇱 IsraelDana International – Diva1st
710/1🇳🇱 NetherlandsEdsilia – Hemel en aarde4th
812/1🇩🇪 GermanyGuildo Horn – Guildo hat euch lieb!7th
914/1🇵🇱 PolandSixteen – To takie proste17th
1016/1🇫🇷 FranceMarie Line – Où aller24th
1118/1🇨🇭 SwitzerlandGunvor – Lass ihn25th
1220/1🇭🇷 CroatiaDanijela – Neka mi ne svane5th
1320/1🇪🇪 EstoniaKoit Toome – Mere lapsed12th
1420/1🇳🇴 NorwayLars A. Fredriksen – Alltid sommer8th
1520/1🇵🇹 PortugalAlma Lusa – Se eu te pudesse abraçar12th

🇮🇱 Jerusalem 1999

Date of final: 29 May 1999
Odds recorded: 25 May 1999 (4 days before the final)
Source: Ladbrokes via BBC

  • The winning entry was placed 2nd in the odds.
  • 40% of the eventual top 5 at Eurovision placed inside the top 5 of the odds.
RankOddsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
14/1🇬🇧 United KingdomPrecious – Say It Again12th
26/1🇸🇪 SwedenCharlotte Nilsson – Take Me To Your Heaven1st
37/1🇲🇹 MaltaTimes Three – Believe ‘n Peace15th
47/1🇳🇱 NetherlandsMarlayne – One Good Reason8th
58/1🇮🇸 IcelandSelma – All Out Of Luck2nd
612/1🇨🇾 CyprusMarlain – Tha’nai erotas22nd
712/1🇮🇪 IrelandThe Mullans – When You Need Me17th

🇸🇪 Stockholm 2000

Date of final: 13 May 2000
Odds recorded: 27 April 2000 (16 days before the final)
Source: myledbury.co.uk

  • The winning entry was placed 11th in the odds.
  • 20% of the eventual top 5 at Eurovision placed inside the top 5 of the odds.
  • 73% of the eventual top 15 at Eurovision placed inside the top 15 of the odds.
RankOddsCountryEntryEurovision Placing
19/2🇬🇧 United KingdomNicki French – Don’t Play That Song Again16th
24/1🇮🇪 IrelandEamonn Toal – Millennium Of Love6th
35/1🇩🇪 GermanyStefan Raab – Wadde hadde dudde da?5th
46/1🇮🇸 IcelandAugust & Telma – Tell Me!12th
510/1🇲🇹 MaltaClaudette Pace – Desire8th
612/1🇪🇪 EstoniaInes – Once In A Lifetime4th
714/1🇳🇱 NetherlandsLinda Wagenmakers – No Goodbyes13th
814/1🇳🇴 NorwayCharmed – My Heart Goes Boom11th
914/1🇨🇭 SwitzerlandJane Bogaert – La vita cos’è?20th
1016/1🇧🇪 BelgiumNathalie Source – Envie de vivre24th
1120/1🇩🇰 DenmarkOlsen Brothers – Fly On The Wings Of Love1st
1220/1🇫🇮 FinlandNina Åström – A Little Bit18th
1320/1🇲🇰 F.Y.R. MacedoniaXXL – 100% te ljubam15th
1425/1🇦🇹 AustriaThe Rounder Girls – All To You14th
1525/1🇱🇻 LatviaBrainstorm – My Star3rd

Our journey down memory lane continues on the next page…

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Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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