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 beย 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!

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 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
15/2๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomImaani – Where Are You?2nd
25/1๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช BelgiumMรฉlanie Cohl – Dis oui6th
37/1๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช SwedenJill Johnson – Kรคrleken รคr10th
48/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช IrelandDawn Martin – Is Always Over Now?9th
59/1๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น MaltaChiara – The One That I Love3rd
610/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ IsraelDana International – Diva1st
710/1๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsEdsilia – Hemel en aarde4th
812/1๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช GermanyGuildo Horn – Guildo hat euch lieb!7th
914/1๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ PolandSixteen – To takie proste17th
1016/1๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceMarie Line – Oรน aller24th
1118/1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ SwitzerlandGunvor – Lass ihn25th
1220/1๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท CroatiaDanijela – Neka mi ne svane5th
1320/1๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช EstoniaKoit Toome – Mere lapsed12th
1420/1๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด NorwayLars A. Fredriksen – Alltid sommer8th
1520/1๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น PortugalAlma Lusa – Se eu te pudesse abraรงar12th

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ 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
14/1๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomPrecious – Say It Again12th
26/1๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช SwedenCharlotte Nilsson – Take Me To Your Heaven1st
37/1๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น MaltaTimes Three – Believe ‘n Peace15th
47/1๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsMarlayne – One Good Reason8th
58/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ IcelandSelma – All Out Of Luck2nd
612/1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ CyprusMarlain – Tha’nai erotas22nd
712/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช IrelandThe Mullans – When You Need Me17th

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช 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
19/2๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomNicki French – Don’t Play That Song Again16th
24/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช IrelandEamonn Toal – Millennium Of Love6th
35/1๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช GermanyStefan Raab – Wadde hadde dudde da?5th
46/1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ IcelandAugust & Telma – Tell Me!12th
510/1๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น MaltaClaudette Pace – Desire8th
612/1๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช EstoniaInes – Once In A Lifetime4th
714/1๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsLinda Wagenmakers – No Goodbyes13th
814/1๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด NorwayCharmed – My Heart Goes Boom11th
914/1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ SwitzerlandJane Bogaert – La vita cos’รจ?20th
1016/1๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช BelgiumNathalie Source – Envie de vivre24th
1120/1๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ DenmarkOlsen Brothers – Fly On The Wings Of Love1st
1220/1๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ FinlandNina ร…strรถm – A Little Bit18th
1320/1๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ F.Y.R. MacedoniaXXL – 100% te ljubam15th
1425/1๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น AustriaThe Rounder Girls – All To You14th
1525/1๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป 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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