One of the great betting nights of the year for many people, Eurovision 2019 takes place from the picturesque Tel-Aviv in Israel following the success of Netta with the catchy song "Toy" in last year's contest. Our man Danny Archer has previewed the market principals for this year's renewal and given his fancies for the event.
The in-depth focus
The betting markets for Eurovision are always lively from the start of January when most of the songs for the upcoming contest have been decided. The warm favourite since the start of the year has been The Netherlands, who at the time of writing are the solid 5/6 favourites following a strong showing in yesterday's second semi-final. Arcade by Duncan Lawrence has a James Bond-esque feel to it and has little staging with Lawrence at the piano. It's haunting feel could certainly resonate with voters and the Eurovision jury. In essence, the song is a power ballad and it's crescendo inducing finale definitely makes it of interest. If you are looking for a song in the contest which could be an actual hit in Western countries in particular, then this is certainly it.
Other front-runners include Sweden (8/1) who are represented by John Lundvik. Their song Too Late For Love is quite anthem and Sweden have an excellent record in Eurovision. Winners of the contest six times, they have the most top 5 finishes in the 21st century at Eurovision (13), but I just think their song is just lacking that sucker punch.
The big market mover of late has been Australia (5/1) who were 33/1 shots, but have been steadily backed in. Their song Zero Gravity by Kate Miller-Heidke has an operatic feel to it and is undeniably catchy. Of course Australia is not a European nation, but since their involvement for the 60th anniversary, they have achieved three top 10 finishes from four efforts. The staging of the song is also significant with Kate and two other back-in singers elevated into the air which will definitely strike a chord with those watching at home and they have to be feared at a juicy E/W price.
Russia (14/1) are represented by Sergey Lazarev who was third in 2016, but their song is another which just lacks some conviction. It has ah haunting beat, but there just looks to be something missing from this effort which makes me happy to oppose Putin's men.
Others who deserve a mention are Iceland (20/1) who perform a synth punk song in leather clad clothing. The lyrics and looks are weak however and it looks worth opposing. Similarly, France (28/1) have a song called Roi with a Conceit Wurst lookalike, but it is another performance which might struggle. Italy (16/1) have a song called Soldi which does improve as it goes on, but I cannot fancy it to cause ructions on Saturday.
One song I am very keen on is Azerbaijan (12/1). Sung by Chingiz, their effort is called Truth which has an excellent chorus and has a more pop sound to it, which should resonate with voters and hopefully the juries. Azerbaijan have failed to make the final just once since re-entering the competition in 2008 and their is hope of a big performance on Saturday night. There staging is slightly messy, but it is a powerful song and you have to be hopeful that they can go very close in the event.
At bigger prices, Greece (100/1) have an excellent song, but they struggled in their semi-final with a performance that was very laboured. Switzerland (20/1) are represented by Luca Hanni and this effort has a good beat with a song that resembles something which could be played in a club scene. Hanni, who performs She Got Me won the German version of Pop Idol and this song could outperform its price. Furthermore, Malta (66/1) are represented by Michela Pace who won Malta's first ever X Factor competition this term and the song holds up pretty well, but it has a random beat drop during the middle which might not be for everyone.
As for the United Kingdom (200/1), we are represented by Michael Rice who performs Bigger Than Us. It is not a terrible song, but again our lack of friends within the European sector will make this another difficult night. Rice has arguably got one of the best voices in the competition, but continuing problems with Brexit and our distinct lack of support could leave us facing a battle to not finish in the bottom couple of places in Tel-Aviv. Overall, this year's competition probably lacks the strength in depth of recent years, but in The Netherlands, they have a very solid favourite who will take a lot of pegging back, particularly given their strong semi-final showing.
In terms of OUTRIGHT WINNER, Netherlands look sure to have an excellent night on Saturday. It's an emotionally moving song and if the staging holds up, Duncan Lawrence could land the contest in Tel-Aviv. At 5/6, that could look a tasty price once they have performed on the night. They started the week as the 9/4 favourites, but are now as short as 8/11 in some places, highlighting how fancied they are to land the spoils.
There are plenty of other bets worth having and Azerbaijan to FINISH IN THE TOP 5 at 11/10 looks an outstanding bet. I really think this song could make its stamp on the contest if getting a good draw on Saturday night and this price could look big by then.
The Greece song struggled in the semi-finals, but it is certainly a solid song and I think the 6/4 available for them to FINSH IN THE TOP 10 is of definite interest.
Germany (300/1) have got one of the worst songs in Eurovision history and ay EVENS TO FINISH LAST, that looks a belting bet.
Sweden are underpriced to win the competition, but they should be the TOP SCANDINAVIAN country and 4/11 whilst short shows that they should come out on top in that area.
Netherlands to win outright - 5/6
Azerbaijan Top 5 Finish - 11/10
Greece Finish In The Top 10 - 6/4
Germany To Finish Last - Evs
Sweden Top Scandinavian - 4/11