Europe has spoken, and the bookmakers have answered; with tonight’s rash of fresh finalists decided, there are some big changes to the top half of the favourites board.
Finally, the holy Eurovision trinity of Sweden, Italy and Australia is broken, with Russia creeping into third favourite across a range of bookies. Polina had lingered in the top five for some time already, before tonight’s performance sealed the punters’ confidence.
However, the biggest winner in terms of movement is Serbia. Completely overlooked by most betting fans, Bojana had barely featured in the top half of the favourites to win, let alone troubled the top ten. Now, after a convincing rendition of Beauty Never Lies, she finds herself catapulted to sixth favourite, just behind Estonia and Australia. Betting historians take note: much the same happened with the odds for Conchita in 2014.
Belgium and Georgia also creep up a notch, and Greece makes an appearance higher up the table for the first time.
Mixed bag of predictive success
As for the non-qualifiers, the collective wisdom of the betting public resulted in a mixed bag of successes and failures. Finland was the biggest case of misplaced confidence, careering off from top five favourites to semifinal oblivion. However, on the Netherlands, the betting pool seems to have got it right; Trijntje had drifted badly into odds of up to 150-1 after enjoying somewhat shorter odds in the weeks leading up to the contest. Since rehearsals began, Belarus also slid inexorably downwards after a brief period in the top fifteen. Denmark, likewise, had rarely frequented the top group, despite occupying the relatively safe area of mid-board for some time.
Right now, the snapshot is skewed, as the first semifinalists are fresh in the minds of fans. After more inevitable surprises and shocks on Thursday, we can expect more seismic shifts. Watch this space!