Northern Monkey Punter

Eurovision 2023

Ante post bets

- Germany top 10 finish - 4/1 Bet 365, William Hill, Bet Victor (posted 6th May 2023)

- Australia to win semi-final 2 - 4/1 Bet Victor, 7/2 Paddy Power (posted 7th May 2023)

Bets before semi final 1

- Finland to win SF1 - 4/7 to 1/2 generally (posted 9th May 2023)

- France top big 5 (in the Grand Final) - Evs Betfred (posted 9th May 2023)

Bets before semi final 2

- Sweden to win Eurovision 1/2 Betfred (Posted 11th May 2023) - strong fancy

- Finland without Sweden 6/5 Star Sports 11/10 Bet Victor (Posted 11th May 2023) - strong fancy

- Sweden - Finland straight forecast in the final 2/1 Sky Bet - strong fancy

Bets before the Grand Final

- WhatOddsPaddy (up to 9/1 section) special - Finland to win televote and Sweden to win overall 7/5 Paddy Power (posted 12th May 2023) - strong fancy https://www.paddypower.com/spe...

- Sky Bet special - Sweden to win, Finland top five finish , Israel top 10 finish - 10/11 Sky Bet (posted 13th May 2023) - strong fancy

- Sky Bet special - Sweden/Finland top 2 any order, Israel/Norway both top five, France top 10, Croatia top Balkan - 10/1 Sky Bet (posted 13th May 2023)

- Sky Bet special - 1st Sweden, 2nd Finland, Croatia/France top 10, UK to finish 21st to 25th - 20/1 Sk Bet (posted 13th May 2023)

- Serbia to finish bottom 10/1 Sky Bet, 8/1 Paddy Power (posted 13th May 2023)

Reasoning

7th May 2023

Scandi battle

The Eurovision rehearsals have been taking place in Liverpool over the last week or so and the main market mover in the outright betting has been Finland, who have shortened into 5/2 or so behind Sweden, who were backed in from 5/2 to odds on once it was announced that Loreen would be representing them with Tattoo after her victory at their national selection, Melodifestivalen.

I aren't going to put up Sweden now at odds on, despite thinking they will win the competition, for reasons which I'll get on to below......

Loreen won the 2012 song contest for Sweden in emphatic style with Euphoria, and became something of a Eurovision goddess thereafter. She was (and may still be, I'm not sure) signed to Sony, so she is going to be drawing on a lot of support from the Eurovision community and music community in general in her semi final on Tuesday and in the final next weekend.

The entry from Finland is rather less known, but very wacky, so will certainly stand out to ensure this isn't a stroll in the park for our Scandinavian Queen, however.

Singer Kaarija, dressed as the Incredible Hulk, has a dodgy fringe and stands on the top of a pile of crates, with a big shadow of him cast on the blank screen behind, while he controls, on several leashes, a collection of cha cha dancers dressed in pink, who he later proceeds to ride across the stage (only in Eurovision, eh)!

Cha Cha Cha is a song that is sure to attract televotes due to its upbeat tempo/uniqueness/novelty factor - all of which makes is very memorable - and it has actually shot to 1/3 favouritism to win the first semi final on Tuesday now - in which Sweden are as big as 11/4.

The reason for that discrepancy in the betting order against the outright market is because of a recent change made by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which means the semi final results are now based entirely from a televote - not formed from a combination of televotes and jury votes, which was the case previously (the process for the final remains the same as before, though).

Cha Cha Cha is very catchy and it definitely has that 'wtf' factor that will draw in votes from those tuning in for the first time on Tuesday. Finland have bagged the best draw of the lot in performing last in the running order on the night, too, so I certainly aren't going to back against them to win the first semi. Finland being shorter than Sweden to win their semi - from a result based purely on a televote - therefore does makes sense.

A strong performance from Finland on Tuesday might see their odds for the final shorten (you could argue there is a small window to back-to-lay but the odds and nature of arbing doesn't interest me) but if that happens, the chances are that Sweden will drift back out to win the final and, if that happens, they will be the ones I would want to be on in the outright market.

We have good reason to anticipate Loreen will hoover up Jury votes - probably more so than Finland - and the song is good enough to hold it's own in the televote, even if she's less likely to win the latter than Finland.

Again, you could argue Sweden are worth laying now, then backing after the semis if you think Finland are going to perform strongly in the semi and will see their own odds trimmed - possibly into favouritism. However, I don't think Sweden would drift back out beyond 5/2 so the margin to arb is again very tight. It isn't something I will be doing, but I will put up Sweden outright on this page if odds closer to 2/1 become available again.

Side markets

So in terms of actual bets, is there still a way in at the ante post stage?..........

I've had bets in two of the side markets so far and will be looking to add more closer to next Saturday's final.

Germany top 10 finish

The first bet is on Germany to finish in the top 10 at 4/1.

Blood & Glitter is a heavy rock number that reminds me of Rammstein but also the Eurovision 2006-winning entry, Lordi's Hard Rock Hallelujah, from Finland.

The elaborate costumes, exciting staging, riffs and a draw in the second half of the final (exact position in the running order is still to be determined) are all factors potentially in their favour and there is every chance Germany can leave behind some woeful recent efforts at Eurovision and finish on the left-hand side of the leaderboard again - for the first time since 2018.

Michael Schulte finished fourth for them then with You Let Me Walk Alone but their three subsequent entries (the 2020 competition was cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak) have all finished 25th.

If truth be told, none of those songs would have qualified, though, if Germany, considered one of the 'big five' and therefore an automatic qualifier every year (along with UK, France, Spain and Italy) had been made to compete in a semi. The semis serve to filter out dross.

I don't think Germany can win the competition due to the anticipated lack of jury support, but if they got a good draw (somewhere between 20th and 26th) and were to finish around the top five in the televote then that might be enough to nick a top 10 finish overall in the final.

The way the telephone voting system works could suit them because people either like this sort of music or they detest it. If you like it you pick up the phone and vote for it, rather than a safe-and-steady song that you'd rate as a 6/10 or 7/10 but aren't going to vote for if you have other stronger favourites.

As long as the rock fans out there turn out, you'd like to think, in theory at least, there will be some support for it across Europe, even if they are chipping away and getting four or five points from various countries, for example, rather than being a douze points-magnet, as we expect Finland and Sweden will prove.

Weighing up the semis - SF1

If you had looked to get semi final tickets for either of the days this year, you'd be delighted if you landed them for Tuesday. Finland, Sweden, Norway and Israel all look certainties to qualify from Tuesday's heat and you've also got an interesting Moldovan entry which, although a bit of a rip off of Ukraine's Shum from two years ago and France's entry last year, is different to a lot of the other entries this year.

Switzerland and Czech Republic have songs which have attracted plaudits (the latter also benefits from a good slot in the running order), and there is the barmy entry from Croatia, which has to be seen to be believed. I understand the song is having a pop at certain dictators/presidents across Europe and the moustached singer from band Let 3 bears an uncanny resemblance to someone from the Third Reich. He rode a missile in the music video and they'll draw attention on stage. Interesting.

Portugal never send songs to the competition that interest me. This year is no different, but, at the same time, they are rarely non-qualifiers so I respect them on that basis and expect them to progress.....all of a sudden it looks like there may only be one or two qualification places realistically up for grabs for the likes of Serbia, Netherlands, Ireland, Malta, Latvia and Azerbaijan.

Personally, of those entries, I'd like to see Malta progress. They have a sax player and there is something about sax players at Eurovision (remember Hey Mamma that placed for Moldova's Sunstroke Project at huge odds in 2017)! They are 7/4 to qualify, though, which sets alarm bells ringing as most of the genuine qualifiers are priced up at long odds on.

Malta do not fare well on the digital streaming figures relative to some of the others in the first semi and their draw, second on after Norway, is not ideal either, so I won't be backing them.

Semi-final 2 - Aussies look a bet

Although SF1 looks like a group of death, Thursday's SF2 looks god awful.

I think this is best illustrated by the fact Austria and Australia are the top two in the 'SF2 winner' betting at 4/6 and 4/1, even though they are 66/1 and 100/1 in the outright betting - around 10th and 16th in the Grand Final betting lists.

That isn't to say these two don't deserve to be at the top of the SF2 winner betting, though - they do!

Belgium and Cyprus have likable songs but there isn't really much beyond those aforementioned four that I would regards as being strong to qualify. I think the 'SF2 winner' market is effectively a match.

Austria's Who The Hell Is Edgar? is a catchy pop song about being haunted by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe and looks great on stage, but I don't really think the Austrians deserve to be 6/4 and Australia as big as 4/1 as the Aussies have a catchy rock song and have bagged a plum draw in being last on in the running order.

Neither song would have scored highly with the juries but that doesn't matter anymore, due to the changes in the semi-final qualification process, so in backing the winner of this market we are effectively asking 'who is going to get the most televotes'?

Australia, with Zero Gravity (opera singer floating about on a pogo stick with a globe backdrop) finished second in the televote in their 2019 semi final (behind Iceland) - and won the semi overall. Australia also finished second in the televote in Dami Im's 2016 semi with Sounds Of Silence (and won that semi overall too).

Despite not actually being in Europe, it appears the Aussies do have their supporters across Europe, so they could give this bet some mileage at prices up to 4/1 and run Austria closer than the market is anticipating.

Both this and the Germany bets would only be moderate fancies and fun interest bets, though.

We will assess the Sweden outright bet again after the market has adjusted after the completion of Tuesday's semi final.

Pre-semi final bets

9th May 2023

Ahead of the first semi tonight I’ve backed Finland to win SF1 and have also backed France to finish top big five (vs UK, Spain, Italy and Germany) in the Grand Final on Saturday.

I fancy Finland to win the televote-only semi tonight and think France will do very well with the juries with Evidemment on Saturday given the money they’ve invested in the staging and production.

France could have been stronger EW players in the actual outright market had they bagged a second half draw but I still think they will have an edge over Spain and Italy with the juries. The UK have no chance this year and aren’t feared in this market.

Germany isn’t jury friendly but hopefully gets enough televotes to bag a top 10 finish - to land my earlier bet - but I think France look the strongest option in this side market.

11th May 2023

The money has continued to pour in for Sweden in the outright ante post market market after Loreen performed at the first semi-final on Tuesday and my hopes of capitalising on a drift in the aftermath, when I was anticipating an overreaction to Finland's performance, were dashed.

I have put Sweden up in a strong double with yesterday's Cheshire Oaks winner to NMP members on Wednesday morning, when Sweden were 4/7. They can be backed at 1/2 this morning so I am now adding it to this page for transparency too.

The Sweden entry is just epic. The song is perfect for Eurovision, Loreen simply IS Eurovision to many after her 2012 romp with Euphoria, which is widely regarded as the greatest Eurovision song of the modern era, and she is such a great performer that draws audiences in with her captivating routine. Her staging for Tattoo looks even better than Euphoria did and she's just a born performer who is made for this stage.

As she sings "violins playing, and the angel's crying, when the stars align then I'll be there", hopefully she's talking about the betting shop manager crying and the stars aligning as we turn up there at the shop door on Sunday morning to collect!

Recent competitions show it is possible for class songs to win from earlier in the running order and, while you would prefer a slot in 20-26th if you could, this song is no average entry. Typical of Sweden, and Loreen, it is oozing class out of every orifice and it quite simply is not going to get lost in the middle of the running order, should it end up there. It is Eurovision gold and I expect will be talked about for years to come.

The weight of money for Sweden has seen Finland take a walk in the outright betting since Tuesday evening, understandably. I still think Finland will have a great night on Saturday as their performance in the semi was fantastic and televoters will love Kaarija smashing open the crates in his Incredible Hulk costume and doing his funky routine!

Because of their drift in the outright market, Finland are back out to odds against in the without Sweden market, and the 6/5 with Star Sports there looks worth taking - and backing strongly. The 2/1 with SkyBet for a Sweden-Finland straight forecast is also worth covering strongly - if you can get on.

Finland are another who are berthed in the first half of the running order, like a lot of the big guns this year, but their song is that catchy and memorable I am thinking they are more likely to still rack up a big televote score and give Sweden backers something to think about, rather than getting lost in the running order and bombing out.

With regards to the second semi-final tonight, this looks the weaker of the two heats. I put up a small fun bet bet on Australia to win this semi earlier the week. I can see the song getting lost in the final as they could be a prime contender to open if they drew in the first half, but in the semi tonight they have a plum draw and their catchy song look a little overpriced at 4/1 to win the heat as there is nothing standout performing.

With this being the more open of the two semis there are some bigger prices available in the 'to qualify' market tonight. I was hoping to make a case for Albania, who are around 5/4 or so, as they have a good position in the running order and I noticed Greece are voting in this semi - they have been a strong source of points for Albania in televotes over the years.

My worry, though, is working out where the other votes are going to come from to justify a bet. Slovenia and Romania could perhaps be sources of further Balkan votes, but Swizerland and Italy, who have both scored well to Albania on televotes in the past, voted in SF1 on Tuesday, while North Macedonia and Montenegro, who are usually generous towards them as well, are not competing this year, nor voting in this semi.

Paddy Power let you multi up nations to qualify tonight but the bankers look too short to touch even when combined so I just I've stuck with a small fun bet on Australia to win the semi from earlier in the week in terms of SF2 bets.

We will know all of the countries competing in Saturday's final after tonight's second semi is complete, so we should have more side markets popping up in the days ahead. I have a few countries I want onside in the top 15 betting, but a lack of firms offering the market so far has meant I haven't been able to get involved. We should also get more novelty markets appearing, particularly match bets and 'number of 12 points awarded' etc - so they could be a source of further bets before Saturday evening. 

I will add further thoughts below in due course!

Post semi-final bets

12th May 2023

Paddy Power are offering 7/5 on ‘Finland to win the televote and Sweden to win the overall competition’. That’s the most appealing of the specials I’ve seen put out today.

Coral and Paddy are now offering odds on the Sweden-Finland forecast but not at the 2-1 taken the other day with Sky Bet earlier up this e-mail.

13th May 2023

There are loads of specials floating about ahead of the Eurovision final tonight with firms such as Hills, Paddy Power and Sky Bet and they vary between the firms and are various combinations of the side markets combined into one bet - effectively bet builders. Getting on such bets obviously isn’t straight forward but they are a bit of fun for those who can.

I’ve given my predictions for tonight below, which fits in with the specials at the top of this page on the bet list:

1st - Sweden. Think they’ll win the Jury vote and be top four in the televote

2nd - Finland. Think they will win the televote. They would have preferred a higher position in the running order but my god it’s a catchy song they’ll not be forgotten.

3rd - 10th - I am expecting Israel, Norway, France, Italy, Ukraine and probably Spain to finish in these positions - in line with the market. Israel, Ukraine and Norway are songs that could secure televotes and France, Italy and Spain all look like they could pick up Jury points.

That effectively leaves two remaining places in the top 10. I hope Germany can nick ninth or 10th although having another good rock entry, Australia, in the second half maybe isn’t ideal. Croatia is as mad as is gets but by the time they are on the voting public could be well oiled and they might pick up televotes to sneak into the top 10. 

The ninth and 10th places are looking quite open - will Switzerland (nice voice) nick it, despite being on so early, a comment also applicable to Austria, who were the bookies’ favs to win SF2 on Thursday and bring a catchy pop song that opens the show - Who The Hell is Edgar?

Czechia seemed to receive plaudits in the semis and was gaining popularity, although they are in the middle of Finland and Australia which is a tough slot. Belgium bring an upbeat disco number and Moldova’s mystical entry with a flute is different to anything else this year.

It could be very tight from 9th downwards but from good draws, Israel, Norway and Croatia interested me for the purposes of the fun specials.

RE the ‘to finish last’ betting, Mae Muller has really struggled vocally live for the UK but we have the best draw and she has a social media following, which may keep her off the bottom if securing a few televotes.

Albania also have an okay draw, so I was looking at Serbia (stall five) as live contenders at a value price in this market. 10/1 with Sky or 8/1 Paddy is no forlorn hope.


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