At first glance the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest has something of a group of death look to it, with Denmark, Ukraine and Russia all amongst the top four in the betting for the overall prize, but beyond that stellar trio it lacks strength in depth. Contrary to the contest proper, late drawn nations have held sway in the eliminators of late, meaning some of the competition’s lesser lights are worth backing to qualify for the spectacular finale.
In each of the Eurovision semi-finals 10 of the 16 ditties are voted through, suggesting the standards of acceptable songsmanship are far from stringent and this is just as well for the likes of Serbia, Moldova, Belgium and Cyprus, all of whom are aiming to outrun odds of 66/1 or greater about a victory in this year’s contest.
If the semis of recent years are anything to go by, the fact that the aforementioned foursome are drawn late is an advantage, with Belgium and Serbia’s 15th and 16th berths the holy grail as far as progression to the final is concerned. At least three of the last five acts in the first semi-final have qualified in each year since the two-semi-system was introduced in 2008, with the last two reaching the final every year.
Roberto Bellarosa represents the Belgians with ‘Love Kills’, a crisp modern pop number that comes on like a ballad, before the introduction of the kind of bassline tailor-made for your souped-upped Vauxhall Nova fires it off into Kiss FM territory.
The land of Jacque Brel and Leonidas are not averse to bothering the upper echelons of the Eurovision scoreboard as three-time runners up in the competition.
This term they’ve produced a polished modern pop number deserving of odds more complimentary than the 100/1 currently on offer about them winning the contest and the 13/8 about them qualifying for the big night looks value.
Considering they’re also backable at 100/1 to top the points chart in the semi, a second bet on that eventuality must rate a fair wager for the each-way thieves.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.