I have written two articles so far on the first semi-final, which finally takes place tonight at 8pm GMT, and I’m sticking to my guns. Those looking to place some money on Betfair should look into doing so between 7-8pm GMT when the market is at its busiest.
My first article on qualification bets picked up that in this weak semi there were four songs above the rest, the BAGS I called them: Belgium, Albania, Greece and Serbia. Their odds to qualify are now extremely low.
I could hedge my bets (a strategy exaplained during this article) and have a guaranteed small profit either way on each. I’m not going to because I remain as convinced they will go through.
I have already hedged some early bets on Slovakia qualifying, which moved into favourite to win the semi-final before disappointing in rehearsals. You can still get 3-1 with a few bookmakers on this NOT qualifying, and that isn’t bad at all.
Poor vocals and a lack of cohesion in the camerawork mean it’s being shown up in rehearsals by the subsequent Finnish song, according to the blogs. That must mean it’s in serious danger.
I’ve hedged my original bet against Finland qualifying due to the enthusiasm of those in Oslo during rehearsals, but I won’t be jumping on the bandwagon any further. No matter how well it’s sold, it’s still a weak song.
Rehearsal blogs also suggest that those with the least chance are Macedonia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Portugal, and the betting market reinforces this. Trouble is, I don’t like many of the others either, Moldova is still messy, Iceland clichéd, Belarus horribly cheesy, Bosnia dull, ditto Russia.
Yet I can’t bring myself to oppose any of these. The lack of quality won’t affect guaranteed diaspora and neighbourly voting for Russia, Bosnia and Portugal. Iceland and Belarus have a good draw to help them. Arguably, Moldova has a bit of both these factors.
Still, given the paucity of what’s on offer, Malta remains worth a small bet at 2.24 with Betfair. A good vocal performance in last night’s dress rehearsal, which is what the juries vote on, may see it through.
As for the winner of this semi, again my thoughts have changed relatively little since my article last week. Albania isn’t quite coming across as well as hoped on the screens, so I think Belgium can edge this semi with the rest of the BAGS close behind. You can still get 4.9 on Betfair.