Bosnian Beauty The Semi-Final 2 Value

Apr 17, 2012 by

Bosnian Beauty The Semi-Final 2 Value

ESC semi-final 2 poses something of a dilemma for traders. Is it wise to take on red-hot favourite Sweden or, in doing so, would you be turning your back on something of a good thing? After all, trading on the ESC can often come down to heavily backing nations at odds of 1-5 or less in the semi-final ‘to qualify’ markets – and 1-5 can still be a value price after assessing the different variables at play and concluding a nation’s true price should be 1-10 or even shorter. But with 17 nations to beat – admittedly a fair few of them being also-rans – we cannot help thinking 4-6 Sweden to win semi-final 2 is not a value price and our instinct is to look elsewhere.
Sweden has a decent draw in 11 coming after the slow, solo female ballads of Slovenia and Croatia, but there have to remain question marks over how much support Loreen can summon among Eastern European juries in particular, and there could be one or two other nations that can get close to her on the televote. It also may not be that straight forward to precisely transfer to the stage in Baku what we saw, and were so impressed by, at Melodifestivalen 2012. The rehearsal period will certainly be revealing on the not insubstantial matter of staging of the Swedish song.
Serbia has the far from ideal 1 slot to contend with but aside from this, it has a lot going for it and it’s hard to see it not finishing in the top 3. It certainly strikes us as a very jury-friendly song and Zeljko Joksimovic has telegenic looks which will aid his televote. Serbia’s voting strength in this semi-final puts it clear of the remainder of the field. And despite competition from Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia in this semi, we expect to see Serbia top the Balkan vote.
If you recall, Dino Merlin had similar credentials last year singing ‘Love In Rewind’ for Bosnia & Herzegovina from the 1 slot in his semi, and fell to 5th. The difference is, Bosnia was only 6th in that semi in terms of voting strength, but still managed 2nd on the televote, and was penalised heavily by juries, falling to 11th. We reckon ‘Nije ljubav star’ should surpass Bosnia 2011 with both constituencies but a best price of 4-1 e/w a fifth the odds does not strike us as value either, given you would lose money on this bet even if Serbia finishes 2nd or 3rd. We reckon a far better way to proceed is to back Serbia heavily to finish top 3 on Betfair, ideally at no shorter than about 1.4.
The song best placed to potentially steal Sweden’s televoting limelight has to be Norway. It has a better draw in 16 and Tooji is sure to prove a big hit with young, female televoters. Last year, we saw the similar pop package of Sweden’s Eric Saade singing ‘Popular’ win his semi from the 8 draw, boosted by a massive televoting score of 159pts. Norway could achieve something comparable on the televote as ‘Stay’ also has the potential to resonate with Eastern European ears. Our only concern is whether the juries may be harsh in their assessment of Norway. A song arriving one year later on the ESC scene so similar in style to a predecessor could be enough to dampen jury enthusiasm but at a best price of 9-1 e/w Norway with Ladbrokes and William Hill we reckon it is worth the risk, and we can only hope Tooji can win them over with an impressive stage performance in Baku.
In our semi-final assessments we always look for a nation at a big price that could prove the surprise package. And in semi-final 2, the outsider we like the look of most has to be Bosnia & Herzegovina. B&H has 2 key variables in its favour. A late draw (17 of 18), and a strong voting core – 2nd on our voting allies figures behind only Serbia. Another potential plus, as discussed at length before, is that ESC juries have a predilection for well sung solo male/female ballads. Maya Sar is an accomplished vocalist and ‘Korake ti znam’ has a haunting beauty juries should lap up:

B&H in the 17 slot also offers the only female voice among the last 7 songs in semi-final 2 and as such should stand out, more so given Maya is preceded by a hard rock tune and a slick pop number. You could argue she faces tough competition in the jury-charming stakes, with ballad competition coming from Serbia, Macedonia, Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia and Estonia in this semi-final, but with Slovenia and Croatia potentially cancelling each other out in 9 and 10, and Macedonia and Portugal lacking the same quality in our view, there’s a strong case to be made for Maya achieving a top 3 score among the juries. Combine this with what should be a respectable televote and B&H simply screams value at a best price of 40-1 e/w with SportingBet, and 33-1 with William Hill.
Rob Furber

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2 Comments

  1. fiveleaves

    I like the site revamp Rob.

    Also like the logic behind Bosnia ew for the 2nd semi.

    It’s not a song I’m a fan of.
    I hated Greece too but that didn’t stop me backing it to win it’s semi last year.

  2. Rob

    Thanks fiveleaves. Bosnia is the value angle and has some key elements in its favour. Hopefully it will be well staged giving it a further boost, as was very much the case with the superb staging of Greece last year. I see you can still get 33s e/w Bosnia with SportingBet.

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