Keeping Your Powder Dry

Feb 21, 2014 by

Keeping Your Powder Dry

It’s another busy Eurovision weekend upcoming especially on Saturday with the Latvia, Hungary and Spain national finals, the FYR Macedonia song presentation, not forgetting heat 4 of MF 2014 in Sweden.

Tonight it’s the Eesti Laul 2nd semi-final in Estonia. The best song of Eesti Laul 2014 will be heard tonight and it’s certainly not Sandra Nurmsalu’s ‘Kui tuuled poorduvad’. This is the sort of effort that would sound cliched if you heard it during a summer solstice gathering at Stonehenge. ‘New age, hippy crap’ would be how South Park’s Cartman might describe it.

It’s horrendously twee and it must have more to do with Sandra’s stunning ESC effort in 2009 that there is so much heat around this song. But to compare Urban Symphony’s excellent Randajad to this dire effort is like comparing a Terry’s milk chocolate orange with a box of Ferrero Rocher. Not remotely in the same league.

The gem in Estonia this year is undoubtedly Traffic’s ‘Fur Elise’. This song knocks Malta and Switzerland’s efforts into a cocked hat in the Mumford & Sons Stakes.

Can it beat Sandra and win this semi-final? It really should, and go on to win the final, but clearly Sandra has a huge following in Estonia so the advice would be, ‘no bet’.

The hope here is Brequette wins in Spain and Dons in Latvia to add some much needed quality to this year’s final. If neither qualifies and the appalling novelty folk of ‘Saule diet’ wins in Latvia, and Ruth Lorenzo’s tame effort wins the ticket in Spain, a head in hands man will be needed to encapsulate the despair at how this year’s Eurovision is shaping up.

In Sweden, Anton’s song sounds very generic and his live vocal is desperately poor as we knew from last year. This does not look like being a contender to win MF 2014 though it may well get through direct to the final with the advantage of the pimp slot and the Oscar Zia effect.

The Alcatraz song, while somewhat retro, has plenty of impact and the staging looks impressive. But Evens makes no appeal when the taste of Swedish televoters can prove so unreliable. The remainder of this 4th heat doesn’t seem to be the strongest.

Based on the snippets in Sweden, Ammotrack has a certain USP, like Outrigger last week. Outrigger only made it to 2nd chance and that may be the best Ammotrack can hope for, and 2.7 with Betsson for this to come to pass is a small piece of value. Janet Leon’s song is a big disappointment. The ballad here with potential to progress is Josef Johansson’s.

In the Outright Sanna Nielsen has hardened further to 4-5. This seems a barmy price given Ellen Benediktson for one has a stronger live vocal than Sanna, and the quality of her song seems more meritorious. But if you take Swedish ESC forum posters’ views as a barometer it looks like Sanna has as good as won already.

In the Danish final, the early picks here would be Michael Rune ft Natascha Bessez and Nadia Malm based on the studio version snippets. Rune has the pimp slot and some epic sax in its favour. But we saw last year with Mohamed Ali’s ‘Unbreakable’ that dance tunes are tough to deliver live. It is better to leave this market well alone and only get involved in-running on Betfair on the night.

Sometimes it is better to pass on these markets, especially when earlier this week Unibet’s opening market for the Norway final was running at 184 per cent. That is frankly scandalous. For the layperson, an acceptable betting market should come in around 115 per cent – that, in theory, gives the bookmaker a 15% edge to turn a profit. What Unibet was offering there is tantamount to robbery.

The Norway final looks strong this year and Carl Espen is a worthy favourite but value is non-existent with Unibet quoting 11-13, and you will be doing well to get a bet as big as £13 to win £11 accepted. So ‘no bet’ would be the advice here too. A key element in successful trading is simply not to bet if in your considered opinion the price represents no value.


  1. Popking

    Really under-rating that Sandra song for me. One of the best songs I have heard in this years NF season. Shades of “Kom” from MF a few years ago. I dunno what it will do at eurovision even if it does win though, language barrier to overcome.

    In Sweden, of Anton is as home and hosed as most think, it has to be Alcazar or Linda for me. The latter has pulled off plenty of shock DTF’s before so has to be the valye, although I favour the dated fan favourite of Alcazar myself.

    • Rob

      Many ESC fans would agree with you, pk, re. Sandra based on what I’ve been reading on the forums. I don’t rate it personally but that’s not to say it won’t win in Estonia & go on to do very well in Copenhagen.

  2. geoff

    Hi Rob couldnt agree more on the Quality this year, Theres absolutely nothing released yet that screams Top four material so far,lets hope it picks up soon.

    My main plays this week
    Alcazar Q 2.25
    Josef Q 9.25
    Linda ac 3.5
    I.d.a to be last 2.35

    Covered a little on linda direct and linda anton but still running a small loss if shes direct.

    Played some San remo as well this week Arisa looks fantastic There i have her at 8.0,Giusy as high as 26.0 on betfair and tiny saver on gualazzi,but to be honest i think Arisa should take it.
    Good luck for the weekend

    • Rob

      Looks like you’ve done brilliantly getting Arisa at 8, Geoff – I see she is now trading at 2.16 on BF. I love Sanremo but not had time to follow it this year, sadly.

    • Rob

      Well done with Arisa at Sanremo, Geoff, & thanks for flagging it up here.

      A good night’s trading with Ammotrack, advised at 7-4, to AC.

      I see Helena is 7 of 8 at AC – do we know the duels yet?

      I think last night was a terrible night for ESC 2014. I want to see strength in depth at the finals & plenty of quality – it makes for more robust betting markets – but country’s keep shooting themselves in the foot by rejecting their most promising entries. Latvia and Spain the latest 2 culprits. Hungary could have chosen better too imho.

      • geoff

        Thanks rob was a good night on sanremo ill give some props to durham born on that one too for asking my opinion and getting me involved, after seeing we were in agreement on the strongest acts and running some stats the bets looked fantastic value. I wish italy went with the sanremo winner again it looks a better song then emma.

        If i remember correctly are the andra chansen duels decided on top 4,like 1st and against 4th in the televote and second against third i think thats how it worked last year?.

        Yes another bad night for esc, shame about brequette as that was one of the only glimpses of quality we have seen this year so far this year, i didnt watch spain last night but heard she was poor live though. What a bad year for quality though its just abysmal, nothing looking even anything better then a average entry in most years.

        • Rob

          Brequette was excellent live. It was her style of performance that was idiosyncratic but for me added to the power of the song. Ruth’s song is nowhere near the quality of Brequette’s. A great shame. How Latvia can go and pick that over Dons is beyond comprehension.

  3. geoff

    Yeah i hear she is 2nd in the first part of the televote with francesco first, but she also has a song i think jurys will love, plus was second to emma two years ago,Her and giusy seem much more popular on social media too. I think some bookies might get involved today so worth keeping an eye open ?

  4. Rob

    As feared, Eurovision collectively lost ‘les marbles’ tonight.

  5. Rob

    Judge for yourself here, Geoff, but for me this was a top 5 contender & maybe even a potential winner:

  6. geoff

    Thanks just watched it, Yeah her vocals are good enough and the song is great, it does lack something visually though i dont think she was connecting very well and her body language looks to relaxed for the song, the whole visual package would have needed a big lift for eurovision.

    The good outways the bad though and i fully agree the song is top end stuff, cool contemporary rihanna esque verses,love the way it explodes into the chorus its powerfull and epic and at times you can imigine it being sung to the winners confetti.

    Oh well another decent contender bites the dust, This years esc just doesnt seem to be getting going with the lack of quality plus no bookies pricing up it just does not feel right this year

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