• Dale Roberts

Eurovision odds - how accurate are they?



Now that (almost) all the songs for Eurovision have been released, fans begin the painstaking analysis of how the entries will go in May.


We review the votes through My Eurovision Scoreboard, OGAE polling and of course we have the odds.


Now betting markets have been quite accurate about Eurovision many times, however, they've also been quite off, by a long way!


Let's take an in depth look at the last three Eurovision Song Contests.


2018



The winner


In March of 2018, the odds were spot on the money with the winner 'Toy' as a heavy favourite. Despite a few hiccups in the week of the contest, Netta did go on to win.


The Top 10


The Top 10 however, was not quite as accurate. Only four of the Top 10 in the odds actually finished there: 'La Forza' from Estonia, 'Lie to Me' from Czech Republic and 'Dance You Off' from Sweden. The other six included five songs outside the 10 (including Australia's own 'We Got Love') and a non-qualifier in 'A Matter of Time' from Belgium.


The big misses


Eventual runner-up 'Fuego' was 25th in March 2018, with prices between 67-1 and 100-1.


Additionally, Austria's song 'Nobody But You', which finished 3rd, was 16th in the odds.


Semi-finals


The semi-final qualifying predictions also paint an interesting picture.


Only six of the 10 predicted acts to qualify by odds made the Grand Final from semi-final 1. Belgium, Greece, Armenia and Azerbaijan all missed out while Lithuania, Cyprus, Ireland (17th in the odds) and Albania (18th) in the odds made it through.


And in case you missed it there, CYPRUS, ie Eleni Foureira's 'Fuego', wasn't in the odds to qualify for the final, let alone finish runner-up.



Semi-final 2 fared a little better with seven out of the 10 predicted acts making it through. Those expected to make it but missing out were Russia, Latvia and Poland. While Hungary, Moldova and Slovenia (16th in the odds) got the Grand Final ticket.



2019




The winner


In 2019 the odds were again spot on with the winner, 'Arcade' was a comfortable favourite and went on to win in Tel Aviv.


Top 10


All songs in the Top 5 were all in the first six of betting at this point. However, three songs in the Top 10 didn't feature that high on Grand Final night - 'Replay' from Cyprus, 'Chameleon' from Malta and 'Better Love' from Greece.


Just outside the Top 10 of the betting in 11th and 12th place were two non-qualifiers - Portugal and Armenia.


Semi-finals



Seven of the 10 expected qualifiers did get through in semi-final 1 with Belgium, Hungary and Portugal missing out.


The unexpected qualifiers from the odds were Serbia (11th), San Marino (14th) and Belarus (15th).




Eight of the 10 expected qualifiers from odds made it through with only Armenia and Lithuania missing out.


North Macedonia (who went on to win the jury vote and finish Top 10) was outside the qualifiers in the odds, as was Albania with 'Ktheju Tokes'.


2021



The winner


The betting odds did not predict a 2021 Eurovision victory for Italy and Måneskin last year.


In early April, they were fifth in the odds with Malta leading the pack. Destiny from Malta would go on to finish in seventh place.


The odds did have some success in predicting Switzerland and France to finish in the Top 3.


The Top 10


Only six of the Top 10 in the odds finished that high on the night. Bulgaria, Sweden, San Marino and Norway all finished further down the scoreboard.


The big misses


Ukraine who finished fifth at Eurovision (and were second in the televote) were only 18th in the odds at the start of April last year.


Semi-finals




Eight of the 10 expected qualifiers made it through to the Grand Final from semi-final 1. Only Romania and Croatia missed out with Belgium (11th in odds) and Israel (12th) taking their spot.


Unfortunately, the odds did accurately predict Australia's non-qualification.



The odds were almost perfect with the qualifying with nine of the 10 that high in the odds before the contest. Austria who were 10th in the odds missed out with Portugal (12th) taking their place.


So should we trust the odds?



Overall the odds for the last three Eurovision Song Contests have got a lot of things right - the winner on two out of three occasions and those in the Top 3 of the odd certainly go on to do well (the lowest an 8th place for 'La Forza' in 2018).


But it's certainly missed a few big results. The winner from last year, Måneskin, was behind the main pack, they were way off with 'Fuego' in 2018 and 'Shum' was a blind spot in 2022.


The odds have a semi-final record of 75% overall, which is very solid, but also allows for a lot of hope for those outside the qualifying odds. And that hope certainly does pays off as songs as low as 18th in the odds to qualify from a 19-song semi-final getting through.


Additionally, when we start to look a further back than 2018, big favourites have also not gone on to win.


'Occidentali's Karma' in 2017 was a heavy favourite but finished 6th and 'You Are the Only One' was the expected winner in 2016 and went on to finish 3rd (with Jamala at around 30/1 only weeks out from the Contest).


So odds are definitely a good guide, but the only guarantee is that they will always get a few things wrong.


In 2022 will they be on the money? Or will we see some shock results yet again?


We'll have to wait until May to find out!