‘Did you back the winner?’ It’s a common question to any gambler. But in Eurovision there are a huge variety of bets on offer, often giving more opportunities than the win market for the Saturday final. Look beyond finding the overall winner.
Firstly, there are two semi-finals, on the Tuesday and Thursday beforehand, in which ten songs qualify from each. Betting on whether countries qualify or don’t qualify could be a big money-spinner with plenty of research.
You can bet on who wins or is placed in each semi-final, though the results are not released until after the final, so you won’t know if you’ve made a profit before then. Qualification is known on the night in question, so if you have winnings, they come back to you then, to be potentially ploughed back into the next phase of Eurovision week.
Then there are Top 4 and Top 10 bets in the Final. So you can take a position on any country reaching these landmarks or not. You may think Nation X is a Top 10 certainty, if not a definite for a Top 4 finish. In which case, you can back it accordingly.
Both Betfair and traditional bookmakers offer bets for or against countries reaching these heights. They also offer bets on individual nations’ finishing positions. Then there are match bets between two countries, or group bets between countries from the same region. Which will finish higher?
The beauty of all these options is that you can have a strong feeling about a certain song, and can back up your opinion away from the normal win market. You think a song is going to do really badly? Back against it: either not to qualify, to finish last, or to lose in match bets against other countries.
On this note, be aware on Saturday night that the Big Four nations (UK, Spain, France and Germany) automatically qualify for the final (along with the host country), so haven’t proved their point-scoring abilities, whereas the others have all managed to qualify from the semis.
In short, you might not have a clue which performer is going to win on the big night. But you could well be counting your winnings anyway.
One of my favourite bets in 2009 was the Spain v Portugal match bet. The Spanish performance was bombing in rehearsals. Portugal had a nice song that had already qualified from its semi-final. It wasn’t going to set the scoreboard alight but it would get points. I put a four-figure sum on Portugal beating Spain at Evens, which it easily did.
One of the first bets that made me realise backing at short odds on Eurovision could be good value, was cheesy UK representatives Scooch to finish in the bottom third of the scoreboard at 4-7 back in 2007. I never had any doubt, and ‘Flying the Flag’ duly finished joint-last.
General Eurovision Advice
DO look at all the markets on offer for the contest
DON’T restrict yourself to just the final – the two semis means that you get three bites of the cherry overall