• Dale Roberts

Eurovision odds - how accurate are they?

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

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

Now betting markets have been accurate at Eurovision many times recently... but they've also been way off.

Let's take an in depth look at the last two Eurovision Song Contests:


In March of 2018 the odds were spot on the money with the winner 'Toy' as a heavy favourite.

However 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 and a non-qualifier in 'A Matter of Time' from Belgium.

Eventual runner-up 'Fuego' was 25th at this point at prices between 67-1 and 100-1, 3rd place 'Nobody But You' was in 16th.


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) go the Grand Final ticket.


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

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

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


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 (though in 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'.

So should we trust the odds?

Overall the last two Eurovisions have got a lot of things right - the winner to start with! And certainly those in the top three in the odds generally do well.

But it's certainly missed a few big ones - 'Fuego' was a huge blind spot and a semi-final record of 70% overall isn't bad, but isn't super accurate either. Particularly with 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 2021 will it be the winner they miss? The qualifiers? Or an outside chance to almost snatch the crown?

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