Tonight sees the Eurovision Song Contest take to the stage in Kiev. Setting aside the glitter, fake tan and flags of nations for a second, it is a keen betting heat.
Italy head the market with a confidently delivered and suitably quirky number, but they have been pushed in the betting by the unlikely source of Portugal, for whom Salvador Sobral delivers a similarly quirky but soulful number that was a huge hit in the semis.
Both look short enough to defy the handicap of early slots in the running order, and Bulgaria look strongest of the market leaders to us. We have already pinned our colours (red, yellow and blue) to the mast with the fantastic yodel and rap mix of Romania’s Ilinca feat Alex Florea. A slot at number 20 in the order is pretty much perfect, and if you aren’t on already then get stuck in.
We supported Poland in Semi Final 1 (result still unknown). A slot at number 2 is far from ideal, and we can’t support them to win the final even at 500/1. The logic of their massive phone vote still applies however, and even if they trail in the jury vote they could still get a huge boost from the phones. As such odds of 10/3 for a top 10 finish appeal.
As for the UK. Well Lucie Jones (ex X-factor) can belt out “Never Give Up On You”, ironically titled in the first post-Brexit contest. The song is better than many the UK have put forward, without being special. It should pick up some solid jury votes, but the UK only picked up votes from three countries on the phones last year and are hardly more popular now.
Form figures of 25-19-17-24-24, suggest that 15/8 that they finish 21st or lower is reasonable. We have just enough faith in song and performer to push her into the 17th-20th placing bracket (which paid twice in the last 5 years) at 6/1 with Paddy Power.
(Already recommended) Romania, each way, 40/1, Bet 365 1/5 odds top 4.
Poland, Top 10 Finish, 10/3, Paddy Power.
UK finishing position, 17th-20th, 6/1 Paddy Power.
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