Eurovision 2018 | Semi-Final 1

Another year has passed and attention turns to Lisbon. One of my guilty pleasures is Eurovision and love trying to work out the betting markets. I had planned to get into the outright market earlier, however due to ‘new information’ I sat on my hands.


The most obvious place to start this year is with the favourite ISRAEL. I think this tune is an absolute ‘banger’. It’s the fanwank of 2018, but unlike the usual hype song this one has a great chance of winning. One of the huge positives with the song for us punters is that it’s priced at 3.25 (9/4). I look at this as an opportunity to be patient, even if jury voting leaks and/or televote leaks come out, we’ll still be able to get odds-against before Saturday. That extra information is worth ‘paying’ the price for.

At this stage I have Netta in almost a three way tie to win the first semi-final, with the Estonian and Czech entries. None of the songs really interest me from a semi-final market betting point of view.

What are they doing?

This is the question I asked myself when BULGARIA released their entry. After two excellent years with Poli (4th) and unlucky runner-up Kristian last year, they’ve gone backwards. Bulgaria managed to qualify for the final once from their first nine attempts. They were so bad they didn’t even enter in 2014 and 2015. It would appear that this year they’ve decided to return to type. Equinox with their song Bones doesn’t even know what it’s meant to be. Is it a goth band? Are they some form of cult? Does the song go anywhere?

From the limited rehearsal footage I’ve been able to see the harmonies and staging are poor, almost atrocious. I don’t see how this song can;

  1. Be 7th in the market to win the whole thing.
  2. Be odds-on to qualify.

Unless the juries are taking backhanders or the public of Europe have suddenly taken an interest in this type of music, they will struggle. If I get time I may pop into the Bulgarian shop in Wimbledon and ask if they like this tripe. I imagine they’ll be embarrassed that their country are using this to represent them, a bit like how we feel towards The UK entries.

Opposing Bulgaria to qualify is my NAP of this Semi-Final. The absolute best chance I can give them of qualifying is 40%, which prices them at 2.50 (6/4). I can lay them on Betfair Exchange at 1.25. In layman’s terms that means you’re getting a 400% return on your investment if they don’t make the Top 10.

LAY BULGARIA To Qualify @ 1.2x (Betfair Exchange)

I Love Belarus, Feel It My Mind

BELARUS have sent a very classy and tasteful song to this years contest. Alekseev has been performing with credit all week. I think the juries will love Forever and I’d expect them to score it higher than Bulgaria. My tissue has these two songs the complete opposite way around in the market. I think the public will vote for this song and if they do it’s a 1.2x shot to qualify. Even if the public dismiss it, I would still have it as an odds-on shot to qualify due to the jury score I believe it will get. If they’d improved the staging, lets be honest a rose and a woman dancing is a bit dated, they be a live outsider to win this show. Once they qualify though, I imagine I’ll be back siding with them on Saturday in a number of markets.

BACK BELARUS To Qualify @ 2.4x (Betfair Exchange)

Greek Tragedy

A few years back it was unheard of for GREECE to finish outside the top ten in the entire contest. Those days have gone, two 19th and a 20th placed finish, along with a DNQ in the last four years is not good reading for them. On the plus side they haven’t been in danger of having to pay for the expense of hosting the final, considering their financial state that’s probably a good thing.

Their song this year is particularly bland and it’s sung in Greek. I believe she’ll not only be memory holed by Saraa Aalto, of X Factor fame, but also by the Armenian entry in terms of singing in a native tongue. They should be able to count on the votes of Cyprus and Albania, which is a positive. Will that be enough to see them through to Saturday night? I’m not sure and I have them priced up at a minimum of 2.25 (5/4) to make the final. Those odds suggest they have a 44% chance of qualifying, the market gives them a 74% chance. I have to oppose them!

LAY GREECE To Qualify @ 1.3x (Betfair Exchange)


I think that there’s value to be had on Switzerland (2.0x), Ireland (4.50), Finland (2.6x) and even Macedonia (12.0) To Qualify. But for those to make it then some of my value lays including the two above would need to miss out. Armenia (1.75) and their bitter rivals Azerbaijan (2.3x) both look opposable, along with Belgium (1.8x). However I’m happy to stick with my above three bets and would be more than satisfied if two of them land.

I’m staking these bets as below (roughly);

  • 23% of Total Stake Lay Bulgaria To Qualify @ 1.2x
  • 47% of Total Stake Back Belarus To Qualify @ 2.4x
  • 30% of Total Stake Lay Greece To Qualify @ 1.3x

If one of my three bets lands then I’ll make about 10%, two and it’s stake doubled, three and it’s job done.

My Ten To Qualify (Just for fun)

Czech Republic

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