Political pomposity, ridiculous hairstyles and more camp than a tent covered in sequins – no, we’re not talking about Donald Trump and his family but the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
This year Eurovision 2017 will be hosted live in Kiev, Ukraine, after Jamala’s winning entry ‘1944’ won the most votes a year ago. This will be the 62nd edition of the competition, with the two semi-finals on May 9 and 11 before the final on May 13.
There will be 43 countries that enter, but only one can ultimately triumph. Portugal and Romania will return to proceedings after their absence in 2016, although Bosnia and Herzegovina will once again be missing due to their financial difficulties.
1. Friendly Voting the Key for Punters
While you might think that the Eurovision Song Contest is, well, a song contest, and thus that the best entry would win, it never really seems to pan out like that.
Instead, the way the voting system works means that groups of countries that ally together always seem to do well; no matter how much their song sounds like a cat dragging its claws across a blackboard. Of the last ten editions of Eurovision, five have been won by a Scandinavian country, two by an Easter European member and two by allied nations from Western Europe.
Punters will note that the political neutrality of the Scandinavian countries seems to translate well to Eurovision success: Sweden (2012 and 2015), Denmark (2013) and Norway (2009) have all won the competition in the past eight years. These are friendly, peace-loving countries that really epitomise the Eurovision spirit – contrast that to the United Kingdom, for instance, who haven’t won or even finished runner-up since 1998 and more specifically joining forces with America to wager war all across the globe.
A further investigation reveals the extent to which the Nordic nations have enjoyed the contest. The 2009 Norwegian entry, ‘Fairytale’ by Alexander Rybak, won by a record margin of votes – 169 – from second-placed Iceland. Sweden’s pair of most recent winners – ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen and ‘Heroes’ by Mans Zelmerlow – recorded the widest margins of victory since Norway almost a decade ago.
Block voting amongst groups of allied countries? Eurovision is rife with it. As such, punters are encouraged to think about such alliances and bet accordingly; Sweden, with six Eurovision titles to their name are the second-most decorated country in the competition behind Ireland - would be an excellent place to start.
2. Novelty Value - How to Bet
It’s also not a bad idea to consider entries that offer novelty value when putting together your bets. In 2006 the contest was won by Finland’s entry from Lordi, who looked and sounded like what would happen if the cast of Lord of the Rings, in full make-up, found themselves in a musical instrument store. Their song was, well, awful really, but the novelty of their look and style won over the voters.
And then there was Conchita Wurst in 2014, who must be the only bearded lady to enter Eurovision. The Austrian claimed victory by a margin of 52 points for her/his song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’.
So, sit down with a beer on May 13 and enjoy the show. And remember, if you are going to be placing your bets than get behind those entries from Scandinavia or with the novelty factor!
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Eurovision 2017 Winner (Favourites) - Best odds
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