A year after its postponement, the Eurovision Song Contest returns this Saturday, May 22, with European broadcasters anticipating a record audience for the international live pop competition in Europe.
SBC takes stock of what may well be the most difficult market for bookmakers to assess, taking into account the performance of live competitors, controversial judgments, cultural biases and, as always, the conflicting political relations of the Europe.
SBC: After a year of event cancellations and disastrous Oscar viewing. Will Eurovision 2021 revive the Bookmaker entertainment markets?
Harry Aitkenhead (PR @ Coral): We are really looking forward to Eurovision this year and are confident that punters are too, based on the early bets we have taken. Traditionally, this is one of the biggest non-sporting events on our calendar every year, this year alongside the election of the Mayor of London.
The wide range of participating countries means there is always value to be had for punters with a flutter and this differs from the Oscars where the smaller estates are often dominated by some very short priced favorites. Eurovision offers people with a bet a plethora of countries that want to win and they will get a good run for their money by supporting any of the top ten or twelve countries in the bet.
Another popular bet is for the UK to finish last and we have already seen it this year well supported, with odds of 2-1 after being reduced to 4-1. It will be a long time before we see the UK win again! “
SBC: European broadcasters expect record audiences to tune in to this final live on Saturday – after traumatic 2020, is Europe in the mood for powerful ballads, anthems disco or snazzy pop tunes?
Patrick Flynn (political analyst @ Smarkets): This year’s Eurovision has been the closest to the prediction markets for some time. A few days before the final, no entry has more than a 25% chance of winning according to our outright market. This contrasts with previous years where market favorites traded at 49% (Netherlands 2019), 30% (Cyprus 2018) and 45% (Italy 2017).
Currently leading our market are contemporary Italian glam rockers Måneskin with a 25% chance, followed by French Barbara Pravi at 19% with her. Piaf-esque song “Voila”.
In third is Malta’s favorite fate at 15%, and at number four are Go_A from Ukraine, who combine traditional Ukrainian folk music with contemporary electronics with great success. Ukraine have upped the odds since their semi-final performance on Tuesday, from a 2% chance to 9% in just a few days.
Gjon’s tears for Switzerland round out the top five, currently at 7%. Switzerland was my first choice to win the competition, although they fell in odds last week after going for an unexpectedly avant-garde staging during rehearsals. However, they recovered from a low of 4% and certainly remain in contention for the trophy on Saturday.
We at Smarkets have focused a lot on Eurovision this year and have already had over 10 times our average trading volume on the competition at this point in the calendar. I look forward to what could be a biting finish on Saturday night!
SBC: Arriving on Saturday Malta ranks as a big away favorite to win Eurovision 2021. Can igaming powerhouse break its duck and be crowned for the first time as Eurovision champion?
Anthony Cousins (Sportsbook Manager @ Kindred Group Plc): Eurovision-mad Malta was one of the favorites for the first time in years, but has now slipped to third favorite, despite being firmly in contention with current odds of 5.50 to be crowned the winner of Eurovision.
The artist representing Malta is Destiny Chucknyere, who had already achieved glory in the Junior Eurovision Song competition by winning the 2015 edition. She was also part of the Maltese Eurovision team in 2019 as the backing vocalist of the entry from that year, so she has an excellent pedigree.
His entry this year is titled ‘I break‘and despite the French name, this is an English song that has been well received by many critics and should do very well in the international jury’s vote.
Its performance with viewers remains to be assessed, we have seen many surprises over the years since the introduction of the televoting concept, but among our clients it has attracted 12% of the bets in the winning market which is more than l ‘Italy with 8% (3.75) and France 7% (4.75).
In fact, only Switzerland has attracted more bets from our clients with 13% of bets even though they have higher odds in the market at 13.00 and have been adrift in recent days.
SBC: Portrayed by James Newman, will “Embers – Will Light the Room” for Britain… Europe’s favorite neighbor?
Paddy Power (spokesperson @ Paddy Power): UK’s recent Eurovision Song Contest record has been far from inspiring, and the chances of James Newman’s Embers lighting up the room are pretty slim. In fact, we’re making him win this year’s crown at 250/1, and he’s not even looking for a top five, currently rating 25/1.
What is much more realistic is the chance that the UK ends up with draws. Newman is as short as 8/1 not to score a single point on Saturday night. Ouch.
The favorites, Italy, are 2/1 to win the contest – up from 11/5 yesterday, while France is also a short 3/1, but has drifted slightly from 13/5.
So it looks like the UK won’t have much success in Europe this weekend. If only there was an organization designed to link the country more closely to Europe to help improve international relations …