Good afternoon folks - and welcome to our first odds map of Eurovision 2017. Every year, I take odds from as many bookmakers as I can - of songs winning, reaching the top 10 or qualifying from the semi-finals - and aggregate them. I then convert their odds to the percentage of probability they imply: decimal odds of 5 or fractional odds of 4/1 imply a 20% chance, for example. Today, we’re going to have a look at the current odds given for songs to win Eurovision 2017.
At the minute, the bookies seem pretty confident about the prospect of our first Big 5 win since Lena’s: according to them, Italy have a mammoth possibility of getting a third victory, the first since Toto’s in 1990 - with 39.7% chance of winning the contest, three times as much as any other country. Lagging behind them, but still able to join a rarefied group of only 4 countries given more than 10% chance of a win, are the perennially highly-rated Sweden (12.6%), along with a country that made a huge splash on their return, Bulgaria (13.1%) and, given their third strong year in the odds, something of a nascent powerhouse in Belgium (10.4%).
Three more countries join the select group of 8 whose songs have a 1/20 (5%) chance or better of winning. Australia (5.1%) has been consistently highly rated by oddmakers since joining the contest, and Armenia (6.1%) with 9/10 qualifications and 7/10 top 10 finishes are seldom underestimated, but the biggest - and for me, most pleasant - surprise of this year is to see Portugal (8.1%), with its nigh 60 year history of being underesteemed at the contest, up there as the song with the fifth best odds of winning. (I will make a little confession - in 30 years’ viewership, I’ve never felt so close to being “done” with the contest as I was last year. My hopes for Portugal’s timeless and moving song are a big part of what have kept me interested in 2017.) The top 10 is rounded off by the stylish effort by Azerbaijan (4.8%) and Russia (4.9%) - because, even though it seems that they will not send another singer, bookies don’t want to take the risk of them having to pay out if they do.
There are some remarkable geographic divisions when it comes to odds of winning - which I’ve tried to make stand out even further in a second map, where we divide this year’s songs into three categories. At the top of the pack, we have songs that are considered to have more chance of winning than the average song this year (the sum of probabilities calculated by bookies always exceeds 100% - because of this overrounding, our 43 songs this year have a total probability of winning of 160.5%, thus 3.73% average.) The second category are countries that do not pass the average song’s odds, but do have a higher chance of winning than the purely mathematical average of 1/43 (2.33%). The last category are countries that have a lower chance than that average.
From this, we see an exceptionally poor showing from central Europe, with Poland (2.4%) being the only country narrowly rated above the purely statistical average. Years of dubious selections and underperformance have taken the shine off the once much-vaunted Nordic superpowers - these days, it feels like Sweden et al, and indeed, only Denmark (and if one includes them in both this and the Baltic branch, Estonia) exceed the statistical average (2.6% each). The Baltic countries, whose collective star has been in the ascendant for the past two years, seem to be slipping too - whilst the biggest contiguous group of countries tipped for the top this year are in the east of the Balkan peninsula - where we find not just 2nd placed Bulgaria, but also Serbia, Romania (3.9% each), Macedonia (3.4%) and Greece (3.1%) amongst those with better than statistical average odds. You can check a full list of current odds below.
We will come back to look at the odds at regular intervals before Eurovision - one can only wonder how much they will change in the next few weeks, especially as pre-parties and other opportunities to hear the songs live can make a big impact. Will our winner this year be one of the current top 5?