If you’re sick of the endless wrangling over Brexit, the good news is that there will at least be one Europe-related event worth looking forward to in May, and no, we’re not referring to the Euro elections. On May 14th millions of Europeans will tune in to the Eurovision Song Contest, this year held in Israel, for the annual spectacle that may be short on musical merit, but which usually provides plenty of entertainment, and, for shrewd punters, the chance to cash in.
Betting on Eurovision has been growing in popularity for years, and the market for the 2019 edition looks more competitive than usual. With just two weeks to go before the contest on May 18, there are two clear favourites and a number of other contenders who could shorten in the days to come.
The current favourite is the Netherlands entry, Arcade. Sung by Duncan Laurence, whose previous claim to fame was an appearance in The Voice Of Holland in 2014, it has been a slow burner in the market, opening up at around 20/1 before gradually shortening in price, thanks to some well-received live piano versions. At the time of writing, Arcade is the 15/8 favourite, holding the edge over Russia’s entry, Scream, by Sergei Lazarev, which is generally around the 9/2 mark.
The Netherlands was one of the seven founding Eurovision nations in 1956, but they’ve only won it four times since, their last victory coming way back in 1975, although they finished second in 2014.
This time round, they appear to have a strong contender, as Arcade seems to be a well-arranged, balanced song with plenty of feeling that could have a big emotional impact on television viewers, and Laurence’s performance at the London Eurovision Party earlier this month was relatively impressive, with none of the eyes-closed grimacing that was apparent in earlier performances.
If Eurovision was a pure test of song-writing, then Arcade might be an even shorter price, but performance on the day counts for a lot, and that aspect of unpredictability could deter some punters from backing the Netherlands entry at short odds in a year where there are a number of dark horse contenders, so we can probably expect further volatility in those odds before Laurence takes the stage for the Netherlands in the second semi-final on May 16.