Heads You Win

Apr 26, 2011 by

It’s not long to wait now for Eurovision punters with the all-important rehearsals getting underway this coming Sunday in Dusseldorf.
The ESC markets on Betfair are looking a little bit like the Harrods shelves the day after the New Year sales, and the real frenzy hasn’t even begun yet.
So what’s most of interest currently? France has strengthened as Outright favourite as the wise sages of the ESC are now convinced it will win the jury vote in runaway fashion. The question that remains is whether Amaury can connect with televoters and a recent appearance in Kiev suggests to us this is still a massive doubt.
The UK has also strengthened (8.8 to back currently), though the concern here is whether the boys from Blue can truly nail the tricky vocals performing live in the final. Hungary is the other noticeable mover in the market (13), largely due to the song topping various ESC fan polls. But can Kati Wolf get anywhere close to singing this immensely demanding track in comparable fashion to the slick studio version so loved by fans?
Sifting through the innumerable ESC markets, we see some great value in the head-to-head betting offered by bwin.
In semi-final 1 we recommend backing Greece at 13-10 in head-to-head betting with Turkey. As previously posted we think this is an extremely weak Turkish entry and its voting friends in semi-final 1 are not great, whereas Greece – while not the best song it could have entered this year – has a host of allies it can rely on and is also boosted by being drawn last.
Finland is also worth backing at 17-10 in its head-to-head with Norway. Norway has a poor early draw in 2, whereas Finland is drawn 10. Norway will likely receive decent televote support but Finland should be able to overtake it comfortably overall as we think juries will rate this entry highly. Paradise Oskar is the potential Tom Dice of this year’s ESC and stands alone as a simple, stripped down guitar and vocal combo.
We also think a back of Russia at 18-25 is good value in its head-to-head with Norway. Russia’s Alex Sparrow is vying for heart-throb status with Eric Saade at this year’s ESC – Saade already leading the way with some verbal fisticuffs. Sparrow has a decent live vocal judging him on recent YouTube footage we have seen, and Russia has stronger voting allies in this semi than Norway and a better draw at 7.
In the final, the stand-out head-to-head value has to be the UK at 18-25 to finish higher than Germany. Unless Blue make a complete Horlicks of their live performance we reckon the UK has an outstanding chance to be in the top 5 this year, whereas Lena’s ‘Taken By A Stranger’, as stated previously, lacks the instant hook of ‘Satellite’ and could even struggle to finish in the top 10.
So much can change given the vagaries of live performance and the critical final draw, but below is our video prediction of this year’s top 10 songs. We also invite you to give your opinions on our ESC poll found to the right on the sidebar. Please note the wording as this is not a poll for your personal favourites but the entries you think have the strongest chance of winning.
Rob Furber

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