Plenty of punters are hoping Italy can come out triumphant in Saturday night's Eurovision final in Stockholm.
The long wait for Eurovision is almost over. Millions of fans across the world have been counting down the days since Ukraine were crowned Champions 12 months ago. Events in Stockholm a year ago didn’t fail to disappoint and Saturday night promises to be just as enthralling.
Surprisingly, Oddschecker have been seeing bets come in for the annual event from as early as last summer with the activity really starting to ramp up as the final in Kiev approaches.
One nation, in particular, has dominated the betting in recent weeks with fans going crazy for Italian entry Francesco Gabbani and his dancing ape. The Italians have been towards the top of the betting market throughout the year with some Oddschecker punters placing bets upwards of £2,000 on Italy winning at evens. Surprisingly, the hot favourites have drifted out from 19/20 to 15/8 just 24 hours before Saturday’s final.
The drift has been so severe that despite being favourites for almost the whole of 2017, they look likely to lose the favourite’s tag to Portugal ahead of the live final. Portugal have benefited from an impressive semi-final performance that saw their odds reduce to 2/1 from 3/1 on Friday.
Another nation to progress in this year’s semis were Bulgaria, who were 18/1 to win the competition just two days ago but are now 9/2.
Can the odds be trusted?
On the day before the final last year, Ukraine, the eventual winners, were third favourites at 11/1 yet drifted to 14/1 on the day of the final. Runners-up Australia were priced up at 5/1 the day before only to come into as short as 9/4 just hours before the final got underway. Bulgaria provided the biggest shock of 2016, outperforming their odds of 150/1 to finish 4th.
Where is the money going?
So far in 2017, Italy have dominated the betting with their entrant accounting for a massive 20.3 per cent of bets all placed and 48 per cent of stakes wagered on the event. Unsurprisingly, Portugal have been the second most popular pick with 15.5 per cent of bets placed, and 17 per cent of stakes. The top ten most-backed countries by percentage are as follows:
It’s hard to see a scenario where the winner and runner-up come elsewhere from the leading three in the market, but as Bulgaria showed last year, there’s an opportunity for an outsider to grab a place. There has been some interesting money for Croatia in the last 24 hours which has seen their odds tumble from 200/1 to as short as 50/1 and they could be the ones to watch. The running order suits the UK, whereas Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria all have tricky slots.