It’s a big weekend for Eurovision fans. Tonight Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia select their entries. Tomorrow Montenegro presents its song and contest favourite Carl Espen performs in the Norwegian semi-final.
The Nordic sing-offs always get the most attention from fans and punters because they offer highly professional, competitive events with reliable webstreams. Plenty will be juggling multiple computer devices tonight.
The problem for eagle-eyed punters is that the Swedish event, Melodifestivalen, has already been pored over expertly for the last month, leaving little value left in the markets; meanwhile, the Danish event is too much of an unknown quantity, with the full songs only released yesterday and not enough sense of how each act is coming across on stage.
Continue reading Eurovision 2014: An Ace weekend?
On Monday the UK revealed the end product of a radical new strategy for Eurovision. Following three years of disappointment with formerly-famous acts in the shape of Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck and Blue, this year the Beeb have gone for fresh, credible, unknown talent: Molly Smitten-Downes, with a song she had specially written for the contest, ‘Children of the Universe’. The live version can be viewed here, and the studio track can be found here.
As ever, the insightful community of Sofabet commenters got straight on the case to analyse the UK’s chances. The general consensus, represented by Panos, Annie and Curtis, was COTU is a respectable effort that will be rewarded by a respectable placing, with juries in particular likely to approve.
The two outliers are eurovicious, who thinks a win is possible, and AlexanderS, who is more dismissive. Interestingly, both these views were informed by a general sense that this is an effort that, almost rather cynically, ticks a lot of Eurovision boxes.
What do I think?
Continue reading Eurovision 2014: Should the UK be Smitten with ‘Children of the Universe’?
We’ve had five more entries confirmed this weekend, including those from Ireland, Estonia, Lithuania and France. There’s a growing sense that this year’s contest may lack strength in depth, which makes me more cautious betting against countries managing a top ten placing.
Of the recent selections, flying highest in the Betfair market is Romania’s entry, ‘Miracle’ from Ovi and Paula Seling. The duo already has a Eurovision following, having come third in 2010 with the poptastic ‘Playing With Fire’. This time around they’ve gone for a dance anthem, and the combination of genre and previous form will likely see the pairing remain towards the top of bookmakers’ lists.
I like a dance track as much as the next disco shape-thrower, but I’m not feeling ‘Miracle’ at all. Ultimately, a more important question is: will jurors and televoters agree with that assessment?
Continue reading Eurovision 2014: Will Romania need a ‘Miracle’?
It’s been a slow, subdued start to Eurovision selection season. This time last year, five of the eventual top six songs had already been picked. You’d hope that wouldn’t be the case with the current crop of twelve songs we know will be on stage in Copenhagen.
The Betfair win market has been similarly unimpressed. Norway leads the way based on the excitement generated by Carl Espen’s song, ‘Silent Storm’. We’ll have to wait till a semi-final on March 9th to check he can deliver it live on stage, and March 15th to see if it wins the national final.
Still, having heard nearly a third of the entries, the law of averages suggests a couple of them will be in the top ten. The one that holds the most respectable spot on the exchanges is Hungary’s selection last Saturday, ‘Running’ by Andras Kallay Saunders, currently available to back or lay in the mid-teens.
Continue reading Eurovision 2014: How far can ‘Running’ get Hungary?
Eurovision season has well and truly begun: this weekend Malta will add its selection to the six we have already. We’re yet to hear the final version of some, and I haven’t yet felt the need to write a lengthy, pre-rehearsal analysis for any of them.
But like other Eurovision punters, I’m already making calculations. The semi-final allocation has taken place, and the good people at Esctoday.com came up with a predicted scoreboard for each heat based on previous semi-final voting.
The beauty of betting on Eurovision is the wealth of statistics and the need to carefully interpret them. I’m going to use this well-intentioned Esctoday forecast as an example of how to approach such stats, and an interpretation I’m going to focus on is the concept of ‘hard points’ and ‘soft points’.
Bear with me, I’ve made up these terms myself.
Continue reading Eurovision betting – lies, damned lies and statistics
Our hardy band of commenters continue to dissect the current crop of TV talent competitions. The second Splash semi-final is this Saturday, whilst Dancing On Ice and The Voice carry on. The Oscars are coming up soon too. Can Richard Whitehead overcome Perri Kiely? Is Ray Quinn a justifiably short favourite? Which Voice mentor has the best team? Do keep the conversation going in the comments section below.
Nearly four years ago, the first articles I wrote on Sofabet were my ten top tips for betting on Eurovision. Given that these still feature in the banner of the site, I thought it was time to revisit them to see which ones were most in need of an update.
The biggest update comes out of last year’s rule change requiring the full ranking of all songs by televoters and jurors to be taken into account, rather than just the top ten of each. This was initially covered here, and given further thought in my analysis of Anouk’s ‘Birds’.
The rule change significantly negates the premise of my seventh top tip about the public vote mattering most despite the 50/50 split. Let’s take the Spanish points to Romania over the last two years as an example.
Continue reading Ten Top Tips on Eurovision Betting – Updated
The semi-final allocation draw for Eurovision 2014 has just taken place. We now know which countries will participate in the two heats, and in which half of the draw each will perform. You can see the list here.
With only 37 taking part in total (Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have pulled out since last year, Poland and Portugal return), there are only 16 songs in heat 1 and 15 songs in heat 2 chasing ten qualification places in each.
With the lowest turnout in the two-semi era that started in 2008, there’s less competition for places and the draw may be not quite as vital as before, but here are a few initial thoughts.
Continue reading Eurovision 2014 Semi-Final Allocation Draw