Disclaimer – these are personal random thoughts for fun only. I have no special insight into this market, I have not studied it in depth and my taste in music is distinctly dodgy i.e. I like Elvis Costello - say no more!!
First and Seconds since "Love Shine a light" (1997)
Country, 1sts, 2nds
Azerbaijan 1 0
Belgium 0 1
Denmark 1 1
Estonia 1 0
Finland 1 0
Germany 1 0
Greece 1 0
Iceland 0 2
Israel 1 0
Italy 0 1
Latvia 1 0
Malta 0 2
Norway 1 0
Russia 1 3
Serbia 1 0
Serbia and Montenegro 0 1
Sweden 2 0
Turkey 1 1
Ukraine 1 2
United Kingdom 1 1
My thoughts looking at the list is that only Sweden have won it twice recently - i.e, there is fairly likely to be a unique winner. Both Iceland and Malta have 2 seconds and no wins. I am thinking Malta could get a sympathy vote!!!
Anyway Both Iceland and Malta feature in the second semi, so hold your plums till they get past "quali2".
I have even gone to the trouble of listening to Malta's entry. Think Mumford and Sons with repetitive strain injury. Although I have to say the audio quality on the Eurovision website was terrible.
As for Iceland, it is nowhere in the betting, but the guy singing it has got a very strong voice and looks a little like Kurt Cobain (which is probably a plus). Musically, it builds nicely and sounds like boys zone sing Titanic. I am thinking this could shorten in play.
I am also surprised that San Marino (who have failed in their previous 3 attempts to get to the final) are above a fairly strong (IMO) UK entry in the betting. But it is composed by a Eurovision veteran Ralph Siegel, who wrote the classic "Ein Bißchen Frieden" , which won in 1982. I have to say it builds to a satisfying climax and the singer is drop dead gorgeous, which can only help.
Also The Netherlands are a surprise fancy in the market given that they have failed to qualify for the final since 2004. They have qualified in the first semi final and their performer is an established artist with hits in several European countries. She is a looker, but I have to say on first listening I was not impressed, but given my musical taste that might be a good thing.
I think laying is probably safer than picking a winner and I think the "big 5" are always worth a lay. The big 5 are United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Only Germany have managed to win as a big 5 - the UK having won before the rule change. I think being in the semis, actually helps, It is extra rehearsal, it familiarises the televoters with the songs and crucially, I think some televoters resent the rule.
So in Summary
My Betting shorlist -depending on the second semi.
Iceland, Malta, San Marino and The Netherlands
My laying shortlist
United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
You can lay all these in one go on the "Big Five v The Field" market at 6.
Finally, GO BONNIE!!!