History Maker

May 13, 2023 by

History Maker

It wasn’t long after Loreen was spotted at rehearsals during Melodifestivalen, emerging from that giant sandwich toaster, that the Swedish price to win ESC 2023 began to collapse. And going into today’s grand final, it’s a red-hot 1.53 favourite, with Loreen on the verge of making history.

Watching yesterday’s rehearsals it was interesting to note they project a giant scoreboard early in the show, highlighting the all-time list of country wins, with Sweden one victory away from drawing level with Ireland at the top on seven wins. This is tied in to Luxembourg’s return to the Contest next year but also hints at the narrative being teed up.

It would be surprising if Loreen didn’t top last night’s jury vote. Just as she always does, she rose to the occasion and it felt like a throwback to watching her go through her paces in Baku in 2012, only without the drama of snowflake-gate. She won the jury vote that year by 123pts and it may well be she pulls comfortably clear of the field during this evening’s initial points reveal.

Who are her closest pursuers likely to be during the jury sequence? It’s an important question to ask if you are in the business of trying to take trading advantage. The EBU may try its best to conceal Sweden at the start of the reveal but it might not be easy to rein it back.

Loreen won the jury vote in Baku by 123pts and it may well be she pulls comfortably clear of the field during this evening’s initial points reveal

The impact Loreen has, arriving in the 9 slot, could throw a lot of shade on all those nations who perform prior to her. It is also noticeable how they have placed two wailing women either side of Loreen, courtesy of Spain and Albania, and this doesn’t look a coincidence.

We have a clutch of countries seeking jury points in that first half including Switzerland, France, Spain, Sweden obviously, Italy and Estonia.

With Spain being divisive in nature, and France unconvincing both song quality and live performance-wise, Italy could turn out to be the most solid jury proposition among those three automatic qualifiers, and looks the value to land Top Big 5.

Marco Mengoni has the handy advantage of coming after Loreen, with room to breathe, and we also know Italy tends to pull in a solid televote.

It’s a very red and black presentation for Spain by the way, which isn’t an especially enticing spectacle when combined with Paloma’s flamenco caterwauling.

Perceived televote titan and second favourite Finland stubbornly remains a 4.5 shot to win. Thinking about the jury side of the equation it’s hard to find a place for it in the jury top 12 this year and if that forecast is anywhere close to correct, the Finnish price will rapidly drift out tonight. More so if this happens in conjunction with Sweden bounding ahead at the top of the leaderboard.

And if Finland is falling a long way down on the jury side, then there will be scope for a nation or two to potentially finish above it if they can marry solid points totals on both sides of the voting equation. This is where this year’s Contest gets ticklish and difficult to forecast.

We also have the unknown Ukraine factor to weigh up. There are clear signs the EBU is desperate to avoid another Ukraine win, barring Zelenskyy from making an address during the broadcast for instance, and Martin Osterdahl must be having sleepless nights over the possible spectre of another Ukraine win for reasons outside of the Contest.

It’s a very red and black presentation for Spain by the way, which isn’t an especially enticing spectacle when combined with Paloma’s flamenco caterwauling

It’s virtually impossible to predict public sentiment towards Ukraine tonight and whether we might see anything resembling what happened last year on the televote. My purely gut feel is, we won’t, and there is scope for Ukraine to miss the Top 10.

There is a case to be made for both Israel and Armenia achieving a high finish tonight. There are clear similarities between the pair, as much as ‘Future Lover’ looks the real deal compared to ‘Unicorn’’s cheaper confection; Tiffanys & Co vs Ratners if you will.

Brunette is teed up in the broadcast as, ‘Hoping to become a Eurovision icon, taking to the stage, it’s Armenia’. ‘Future Lover’ certainly feels stronger in all departments when compared to Iveta Mukuchyan’s ‘LoveWave’ which came 7th in 2016, and on that basis alone there are grounds for believing it can finish higher. Whether it does or not remains to be seen as the Armenian diaspora has failed to show up on occasions in the past.

Noa has the later running order for Israel with ‘Unicorn’ and sometimes at Eurovision, countries are able to get away with turning base metal into gold, but she did, again, go off the rails vocally last night prior to the, ‘You wanna see me dance?’ end sequence.

There are clear signs the EBU is desperate to avoid another Ukraine win, barring Zelenskyy from making an address during the broadcast for instance

More than anything hoping to see some justice prevail for Armenia after Rosa Linn’s baffling snub last year, finishing 20th prior to global music success with ’Snap’, Brunette is the tentative call to finish higher.

The market also remains keen on Norway’s chance of a Top 5 finish. Positioned in 20, this looks like a clever way to try and deflect attention, and votes, away from Ukraine performed one before. There is a clear argument for Norway going well on the televote, though its jury score is questionable.

Alessandra also struggled at moments last night in front of the juries as has consistently happened when she performs ‘Queen Of Kings’. She also has to deal with two strong Scandi entries in Sweden and Finland which could dent her chances of a high finish.

Bubbling under are Vesna for Czech Republic, who performed brilliantly last night, and Slovenia’s Joker Out. Both these entries have unique selling points, merit decent jury scores and can go well on the televote.

Joker Out are on later but find themselves squeezed between Israel’s Noa and the craziness of their Balkan neighbour Croatia. As a band they are just as authentic and professional peddling their rock shtick as Maneskin, but whereas the Italian language seems to provide score inflation, will the Slovenian language see this more harshly assessed? Possibly.

You see people blindly, and wildly, jumping from one hype vehicle to another trading Eurovision throughout the season. France was matched below 10 on the Winner market only a week ago, don’t ask me why, and now it’s trading at 90.

The latest snowballing gambles are Belgium and Croatia. While Gustaph is loved by fans, ‘Because Of You’ risks going down less well with the wider audience tonight, and its jury appeal is highly questionable despite its Eurojury performance offering backers hope.

The Top 10 is so competitive this year, it looks a difficult path for both. Croatia may have a perceived great late slot but there will be a ceiling to its televote and it’s pure jury poison.

Austria opens the show and despite the televote appeal of ‘Who The Hell Is Edgar?’ this does look a setback. If it did win semi-final 2 it is a harsh decision by the EBU to then select it as the opener.

While Gustaph is loved by fans, ‘Because Of You’ risks going down less well with the wider audience tonight, and its jury appeal is highly questionable

Malta’s Destiny did go from semi 1 closer in 2021 to slot 6 but this seems more pernicious, especially when there were other options on the table including Poland. Teya & Salena could still do a Laura Tesoro (Belgium 2016, 10th) and creep into the top 10.

This game is a lot less interesting when the markets are right, and a value approach demands that you successfully identify where they might be wrong. In the hope they are wrong, my top 10 is:

1st Sweden
2nd Armenia
3rd Finland
4th Israel
5th Italy

6th-10th, in no particular order – Slovenia, Czech Rep, Norway, Spain, Estonia

My view is, Estonia has potentially, mistakenly, been overlooked. It could go really well on the jury side this evening, Alika did a fine job performing it last night, ‘Bridges’ is easily accessible as an English language ballad, it’s well staged, and there’s no reason it can’t earn decent televotes as well.

So the biggest misses there are France and Ukraine. They are obviously not out of it. Austria remains in Top 10 contention as well, and it could yet end up tight between Estonia and Lithuania in the battle for Top Baltic which, if correct, would suggest Lithuania is also there or thereabouts.

Last place often sees an unexpected one fall through the cracks. Watching Mae last night for the UK, once again she struggled vocally and went completely awol at the end.

It did feel like the UK was an after-thought with the preceding entries stealing focus away from Mae. Only score inflation, perhaps courtesy of some good will votes, might save the UK from total ignominy.

Germany may gather enough televotes to escape, Australia could be one to consider at a price, but gun to head Portugal would be the selection. Performed from slot 2, it’s going to be forgotten and while fans got it through semi 1, its voting pool tonight looks much more shallow.

It did feel like the UK was an after-thought last night with the preceding entries stealing focus away from Mae

The very best of luck with your trading this evening. Please do let us know your winners/losers, top 10s and best bets.

Time now to spend several hours scouring the multitude of markets out there which leaves us all on the stretch today, ahead of tonight’s full-on, in-running trading experience.

Matt’s thoughts:

No argument over this year’s winner. While I share reservations about some elements of the package, there isn’t a viable challenger in the field and Loreen will haul the Eurovision powerhouse level at the top of the all-time leaderboard.

The market has Finland as the main rival and while the televote will be sizeable, Kaarija’s jury shortfall will be too big to bridge. I actually see Israel as a more viable challenger and can see agreement across both constituencies.

This pushes Finland to third. A breath of fresh air and a fantastic live moment, but loses its nerve in the last minute and descends into cabaret.

A vocal tour-de-force and visually captivating three minutes. Jury second tonight, despite reservations of Eurojury and the like, and with enough televote to become top Big 5.

A traditional Italian ballad sung by the charismatic Marco is the perfect antidote to Finland and Spain, and completes our top 5.

Difficult to predict with any real certainty and could go top 5 or miss top 10 all together. For balance, sixth seems reasonable.

One of the best songs in the competition and will continue its ascent from death slot on the Thursday to deserved top 10.

My numbers actually had this higher, but had to apply a rather unscientific Nordic tax. Safe top 8 regardless and the classic probably peaked-too-early entry.

Czech Republic
Shafted by the running order, this still manages to shine following Finland and has enough currency on both sides to reach top 10 despite the betting market’s cold feet.

While my top 8 is confident, Czech Republic and France are more vulnerable. France should get enough jury love and completes my top 10 predictions.

I have spent less time looking at the lower places, but have backed Portugal to finish last, saving the UK from a deserved wooden spoon.

Good luck tonight and go well.


  1. Montell

    ESC 2023 TOP 10 prediction:
    01. Sweden
    02. Norway
    03. Finland
    04. Italy
    05. Israel
    06. Spain
    07. Armenia
    08. Ukraine
    09. France
    10. Australia

    My biggest bets on the grand final are:
    Sweden to win at odds ranging from 1.80 to 7.00
    Germany No Top 10 @1.20
    Top Balkan – Croatia @5.00
    Top Big 5 – Italy @5.50
    Italy Top 10 @1.60

    My worst bet that I managed to partially reverse was backing Austria Top 10 @1.50

    I was also backing Lithuania Top Baltic but when Estonia qualified I realised this bet was too risky and covered potential losses backing Estonia.

    If I could recommend any value bets right now, that would be Estonia Top 15 @3.00 on Betfair Exchange. Decent draw and juries should really appreciate it.

    Best of luck to everyone and big thanks to Rob and Matt for coverage of the contest.

  2. neomichael

    Close to the final there are always so many betting option in some bookers. Having the odds changing on a regular basis while having the metrics (that each one of us is checking) changing as well you need to be full time occupied. I wonder how you guys manage to do all that while posting articles and betting advices at the same time. Kudos!

    My current value bets for tonight are as follows:

    -Finland as Televote Winner 1.55

    -Top10 Belgium
    -Top10 Croatia (although I had’t been convinced for the French hype , I did for those of Belgium and Croatia 🙂

    -Top10 Slovenia (I think this was the semifinal 2 winner and that’s why they gave them the best available slot)

    -Israel was from the begging in my book , in every possible bet , so nothing to recommend with the current value apart from 1.Sweden 2.Israel (10.0)

    -Top 20 Estonia & Top3 Finland (1.85)

    -Top15 Portugal (3.50)

    -And laying France and Austria in various markets Top5,Top10, H2H etc

    Good luck everyone!

  3. dimitris esc

    Always interesting to read your predictions. Some random thoughts:
    -I wouldn’t necessarily agree that juries will bury Finland. They do occasionaly back some fun entries like Israel 2018. If the margin between Loreen and Kaarija is not really big after the jury vote i believe we can be almost sure we’re heading to Finland next year.
    -Checking the juries voting order i believe Italy did well with all of Greece,Albania and Slovenia announcing their votes towards the end.
    -I wish juries have rewarded Czechia both for the song and the really good staging even though they tend to snub folk in general and Slavic folk in particular(see Go_A).

    • Rob

      Hi Dimitris. I see ‘Cha, Cha, Cha’ as a very different animal compared to ‘Toy’. It’s an important distinction. The Kaarija staging descends into high cabaret and the song itself is a fusing together of 2 primitive songs. ‘Toy’ was a credible 3-minute pop banger staged as such. This Finnish entry goes much more blatantly down the novelty route.
      Best of luck tonight.

  4. James

    I think the main lessons from yesterday are that a) the fan reaction and enthusiasm for somewhat ropey acts like Belgium caught on more with the juries than it did with the wider public (which also ties into Finland getting a higher jury score than you might expect) and b) running order feels more crucial than it ever was before, not just in terms of pure positioning in the show but being somewhere where you can stand out in a positive way from the acts around you.

    Let’s hope the UK delegation learns lessons and sends an act with stronger vocals and charisma next year.

  5. Mark dowd

    Rob…good call on Estonia! Tenth in semi two yet eighth in final. Always thought this was a sleeper for top ten.
    Despite poor start, Finland scored creditably well with the juries.
    Anyone who saw flaws in France and Spain appeal will be smiling today at Italy for top big five…it was trading at silly prices a week ago!

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