Some of the recent winners advised on NMP include:
Sir Ron Priestley 5/2
Raffle Prize 9/2
Royal Intervention 12/1 (-15p R4)
Tis Marvellous 11/2
Copper Knight 3/1
Tuesday 7th May
Bet: Netherlands to win Eurovision 2019 - 15/8 Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 7/4 William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral
We’re part-way through the first set of rehearsals at present and it is crunch time for the NETHERLANDS, who take to the stage for the first time in Tel Aviv this afternoon, around 1 pm UK time.
There has been a big antepost plunge on the Dutch since Duncan Laurence’s track, Arcade, was released and the song has proven very popular with the fans in the early polls.
It reminds me of Beautiful Mess, which was second for Bulgaria in 2017, and it will be a similar make-or-break scenario due to the staging.
The news from the Dutch press is that the team have opted for lasers as part of their production, and if they can get it right, that could prove a game changer in a year where repetition and a lack of originality is widespread among the entries.
With a good first rehearsal this afternoon we could potentially see the last of the 15/8 and 7/4 disappear and the general price could be closer to 5/4 and evens.
Friday 10th May
Bet: Australia to win Semi Final 1 - 9/2 Coral, Ladbrokes, each-way (3 places, 1/5 odds)
Semi Final 1, which takes place on Tuesday 14th May, looks the weaker of the two this year - exemplified by the fact Greece (who are 50-1 to win the whole competition) are 6-4 favourites. The Aussies, who have been clipped into 20-1 to win the competition now, thus look value at 9-2 to win their semi.
Before rehearsals began, Cyprus looked as though they may be able to give Greece’s Jess Glynne-esque entry, Better Love, something to think about, though having experienced a few teething issues with the backing vocals in their rehearsals last week and having also secured a first-half position in the running order, they've proven very easy to back and the semi final market seems a little more open now.
In contrast to Cyprus, AUSTRALIA have impressed on stage in the last week, bagged a solid, second-half draw and have shortened in the betting.
One Eurovision fan on Twitter (@EsckazChris), talking about the first rehearsal of Zero Gravity said, "this is so mad, it is epic”, and that is what I like about their entry here - it is memorable and sticks in the mind. Imagine Fearne Cotton, dressed as a ‘Frozen’ princess, perched on a high pole, waving from side to side over a globe projected onto an LED screen, with two background dancers, all the while singing opera.
This is Australia’s fifth entry in the competition since debuting 2015. They were arguably unlucky losers with Dami Im’s Sound of Silence in 2016, when they finished runner-up to Ukraine, who won with their song about Russia’s invasion of Crimea (even though political song’s are supposedly banned) and, last year aside, they have registered two other top 10 finishes.
Even though We Got Love (a limp effort from Jessica Mauboy) bombed for them in the final last year, finishing in UK territory (20th), it is still worth noting Australia were third top scorers in the Jury vote in the semi and finished fourth in that semi (dragged down by the televote in which they were seventh), despite their moderate entry.
It seems they have gained respect from the juries in the past as a high jury score also helped Isaiah Firebrace finish ninth in the 2017 final, when they scored a decent 171 with the juries (fourth highest) yet collected only two points from the public vote (second worst!). Dami Im won the Grand Final Jury vote in 2016, finishing miles clear of the overall winner, Ukraine's Jamala (320 vs 211 jury points).
This year’s entry could feasibly better last year's forgettable performance and hopefully, at worst, finish top three in the semi to land a place - propped up by the jury score. Admittedly, Greece have backed a good draw in being late on. But, at best, Australia may be able to run Greece close - at least closer than a discrepancy of 6-4 and 9-2 implies.
Sunday 12th May
Bet: Netherlands to win Eurovision 2019 - 11/4 Paddy Power, 5/2 Bet 365, Coral, William Hill, Ladbrokes, each-way (4 places, 1/4 odds)
The NETHERLANDS have been eased out to 11/4 in places (it was 3/1 earlier today, which has already been nibbled at) following some solid rehearsal performances from other nations, but I get the impression the Dutch haven't peaked yet and are keeping a little back for the semi-final and final.
There have been a number of big market moves since rehearsals began - the likes of Sweden and, today, France, have been really well supported in the outright betting, as have the likes of Azerbaijan, Malta and, to a lesser extent, Australia, earlier in the week. The drifters have been Switzerland, Cyprus and Italy.
Netherlands have thus been eased out from 7-4 from before the rehearsals began, with the initial comments from the bloggers in Tel Aviv being that they initially felt slightly underwhelmed by the Dutch staging. The lasers have made an appearance at some point, but not used during all of the rehearsals, while a bright globe was introduced during the second rehearsal, with the suggestion being that it may be hung from the arena ceiling on the big day, rather than just being stuck on the end of Duncan's piano on a box.
Personally, it doesn't bother me that the Dutch performance hasn't been fully polished in the rehearsals yet. Arcade is a powerful, emotive track which is all about Duncan's voice, and the rest of the show - including his choice of piano and clothing - is secondary. We can trust these minor elements will be tweaked before the semi final.
We've already heard from the rehearsals that the Dutch director plans to pan out to the arena for wide crowd shots and, just as was the case with Salvador Sobral, who won the 2017 contest for Portugal, you'd expect the song to really come to life in a packed arena on the big night(s) when the crowd are waving their phone lights around.
You have to respect the power of Sweden - the Eurovision kings - as their gospel entry, Too Late For Love, is guaranteed to score highly with the jury - the norm for Sweden. They seem to have taken inspiration from Austria last year, who nabbed third place against the odds (with an excellent jury score enabling them to defy market expectation) and their song is a nice break from the slick (but cheesy) pop we've seen with I Can't Go On and Dance You Off the last two years. It will take a mallet to knock them out of the top five.
Given Bilal Hassani's popularity on social media, I also respect France's Roi, especially in light of today's market support, as a strong televote score may beckon. However, I just don't think either of those songs has the "wow" factor that Arcade could potentially have when belted out with pure emotion infront of a packed arena.
With the revised odds now opening up the possibility of backing the Netherlands each-way (if you get 11/4 and 1/4 odds you are essentially covering 70 % of the win stake by going each-way) I have topped up my bet today.
Netherlands have a strong draw for the semi and would be expected to finish top three, if not win, that second semi. We won't know their draw for the final until after the semi final (they draw first or second half and then the show's producer decides the exact running order) but, even if they were drawn in the first half, you would like to think the producer would slot them as far into the running order as possible given this is a popular entry among the Eurovision community and you surely want to see it do as well as possible (Amsterdam 2020 would go down a storm wouldn't it?!).
This isn't an upbeat track you would want to be opening proceedings, so, on the assumption the Dutch will be looked after as much as possible with the draw, I've gone back in.
Fingers crossed they progress from their semi on Thursday and get drawn in the second half, but we'll take what we are given anyway now taking out some place insurance on the top-up bet.
Sunday 12th May
Bet: Italy to finish in the top 10 in the Eurovision 2019 final - 1/2 William Hill, Sky Bet
Another bet I've had today is ITALY to finish top 10 at 1-2. Before rehearsals began Italy were considered viable win contenders, or at least each-way ones, though a lacklustre first rehearsal saw their odds drift. However, singer Mahmood has been ill so he needs cutting a bit of slack. There was also criticism of his outfit and the lighting but he changed his wardrobe for the second rehearsal today and the staging seemed brighter. We also learned today that Italy have bagged a second-half draw.
Italy traditionally do very well in the competition even when sending out 'moderate' entries such as Non mi avete fatto niente, which was fifth 12 months ago. They last won the competition in 1990 and on the 12 subsequent occasions they have entered the competition their form figures read, 740429703065 - that is a 75 % strike rate of hitting the top 10.
Their entry this year, Soldi, has been very popular in the build up and has amassed hits galore on You Tube after winning the national selection - the Sanremo music festival.
Telling the story of an unreliable father whose main priority is money over his family, it contains a line of Arabic and has an element of uniqueness about it among this year's entries. It is catchy and you'd be absolutely gobsmacked if this didn't finish top 10 - I'd be disappointed if it was out of the top five to be honest but only Sky Bet have that market priced up and Italy will potentially face competition from Azerbaijan, France, Australia and Malta to grab a place behind three strong looking candidates in the Netherlands, Sweden and Russia (the latter of whom must surely bounce back this year and tap into support from their traditional voting allies).
Sky Bet have started to put up request-a-bet markets and I expect William Hill and Coral may follow suit too. If there are any bets where you can bet on clusters of nations to finish top 10 or 15 then Italy, along with those aforementioned rivals, would be ones I would be interested in.
Sky Bet currently have one listed at 6/4, "Netherlands to finish in the top 4 & Russia, Italy and Sweden all to finish in the top 10" which would interest me, along with these..........
Other Sky Bet request-a-bets that look good to me are:
"Netherlands, Italy, Russia and Sweden all to finish in the top 10" Evs
"Netherlands, Italy ,Sweden, Azerbaijan & Russia all to finish in the top 10" 2-1
.........the problem is I cannot get on! Instead I've just backed Italy to be top 10 at 1-2, given that market is open with the main firms and the price is more accessible.
Sunday 12th May
Bets: Spain to win Eurovision 2019 - 100/1 Bet 365, Sky Bet, Betfred, very small each-way (4 places, 1/4 odds)
Spain to finish top 10 - 5/2 Bet 365, 9/4 William Hill
These are the most left-field of the bets I've posted but at Eurovision there is often a song at large odds that springs a shock on the night of the final and nicks a place. Bulgaria managed it with If Love Was A Crime when placing in 2016 and, more recently, Romania's Yodel It and Moldova's Hey Mamma and My Lucky Day have also hit the frame/filled the top 10 at big prices.
The common denominator to the Romanian and Moldovan entries in particular was that they were fun. They had upbeat tempos, bright colours on stage and the performers all looked to be having a good time - their enthusiasm spread to the public and they gathered support on the televote.
When I look through this year's contenders, Malta, Norway and SPAIN all look possible 'fun' angles to me.
Malta's Chameleon is choreographed by Sasha Jean Baptiste, who has such a great reputation in Eurovision circles (she was responsible for Loreen's Euphoria for Sweden in 2012), though the song has already been smashed up in the betting (as short as 12-1 now to win the whole thing and odds on for a top 10 placing). There are plenty of bright colours on the LED screen but I can't help but feel we've missed the boat with that one now.
Norway have a decent draw in the second semi and look likely qualification candidates. Their song, Spirit In the Sky, is upbeat, catchy, and even features a segment of joiking (a traditional form of song in Norway) which helps it stand out (though it does seem a bit like the club singer from Shooting Stars on first listen!).
However, having already guaranteed their place in the final, by virtue of being one of the big five, thus alleviating the need to qualify through a semi, I narrowly prefer SPAIN, who are similarly priced to Norway in the outright and top 10 markets.
Spain do not have a strong recent record in the competition, but that didn't put me off Bulgaria in 2016 (they hadn't qualified the last six times they had entered) or Moldova (failed to qualify in the three years that preceded Hey Mamma, which came third in 2017). Sometimes a nation can fire one in from out of the blue, which the public, on what to many is considered to be a night of laid-back entertainment, buy into.
Spain have won the competition twice in the past (1968 and 1969) but their best recent placing was their second in 1995 and they've been in the bottom six in five of the last seven competitions (finishing 10th the other twice). However, they have submitted some real dross in this period. Do It For You Lover in 2017 and Tu cancion last year were both limp efforts, and almost as bad as the 2008 mickey take that was Baila el Chiki-chiki (Rodolfo was on stage with a kids toy guitar).
This year they at least look to be trying and they've submitted a fun entry in La Venda, which is upbeat, features an energetic performance from Miki on a bright stage and will lift the audience's spirits. They bagged a second half draw today for the final and given the nature of the song, it wouldn't surprise if the producers stuck them on right towards the end of the night right before the voting opens.
As I say, this is merely a speculative bet as I am going massively against the grain. I've staked much less than I have on the Dutch (have have a maximum bet on them to win it), but it is a fun competition at the end of the day and I'd like to have one running for us at a price.
We know we can't get Spain knocked out in the semi's given they are automatic qualifiers, so hopefully we can ruffle a few feathers and possibly break into the top 10 if we do land a plum draw for Saturday's final.
It might be asking a bit much for them to finish in the top four but I would have said the same about Bulgaria and Moldova, both of whom finished in the frame, and with Spain being available to back at 100-1, we only really need peanuts on to make the bet interesting.
Sky Bet are offering 4-5 for a top 15 finish but I can't get on and no other firms have this market priced up yet.
Tuesday 14th May
Bet: Accumulator on Greece, Australia, Cyprus, Iceland, Hungary, Czech Republic & Estonia to qualify from semi final 1 - 23/10 Coral
Small, speculative accumulator on Greece, Australia, Cyprus, Iceland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia & San Marino to qualify from semi final 1 - 12/1 Coral
The way to create these bets is to visit this link on the Coral homepage, which is on the TV specials for 'semi final 1' via the 'to qualify' dropdown. Add each individual country to your betting slip and Coral have removed the related contingency element from the market, enabling punters to multi up the selections in an accumulator (though you cannot cross these picks with selections in the other semi final for Thursday).
My four bankers to qualify tonight are Greece, Australia, Cyprus and Iceland. It would be a huge shock if any of these four failed to progress.
Hungary, Czech Republic and Estonia all look to have a decent chance of qualifying in my opinion so I've banged them in the first accumulator to boost the odds up from 1/4 to 23/10.
For those who want an even bigger price for an interest, San Marino, who have backed the plum draw in the running order, being on last, boost the odds to 12/1, so I have had a speculative wager involving them too.
San Marino's song, fronted by Turkish singer Serhat (a Pitbull look-a-like) is so, so cheesy....but it is so bad it may stick in the mind of the public given it is the last song on before the voting opens. This looks the weakest of the two semi finals so I've taken a chance.
This semi final takes place tonight at 8 pm UK time and is shown on BBC Four.
Tuesday 14th May
Bets: Norway to finish top 10 in the Eurovision 2019 final - 9/4 Coral, Ladbrokes
Norway to win Eurovision 2019, 125/1 Sky Bet, 100/1 William Hill, Bet 365, very small each-way (1/4 odds, 4 places or 80/1 with Paddy Power, 5 places EW)
The reasons for liking this song are exactly the same as highlighted in the reasoning for them in the article on Spain posted previously - it is a fun, upbeat song, and I think I'd rather back Norway at 9/4 to hit the top 10 than I would to have a single on them to qualify from the second semi on Thursday, for which they are 2/5 (will probably put them in a qualification multiple on Thursday with Coral as well though).
This year's Norwegian entry, Spirit In The Sky, scored well in the OGAE fan poll before the competition started and has progressed nicely through the rehearsals, with the LED display much improved from the first showing.
A good draw in Thursday's semi should assist their qualification that night and whether they can then hit the top 10 in the final would probably depend on their draw.
If they make it to the final, I think other nations will fare better with the jury but feel as though they could feasibly pick up support on the televote.
I've also chucked a few speculative quid on them outright at 100/1, each-way (you can get 125/1 if you can get on with Sky or, if you prefer taking an extra place, Paddy Power are offering 80/1). Again, as with Spain, it is probably asking a bit much for them to break into the top four, though we needn't have much on for an interest and hopefully they finish in the top 10 and cover the each-way stake anyway.
With seven nations sent home from the competition after the first semi tonight, we may see a bit of odds trimming later on, so it makes sense to back now.
Tuesday 14th May
Bet: William Hill special: Australia to win SF1, the Netherlands to win SF2, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Italy all top 10 in the final. 10/1 William Hill
I had to request this but 10/1 seems very fair. Sweden, Azerbaijan and Italy are strong top 10 contenders and I think Australia are leading candidates, along with Greece, for SF1, while the Netherlands and Sweden could be the two big guns who fare well on the jury vote on Thursday - the televote will no doubt prove key in settling that particular battle.
Thursday 16th May
Bets: Denmark not to qualify from semi final 2 - 4/5 Coral
Norway and North Macedonia to both qualify from semi final 2 tonight - 10/11 double, Coral
Norway, North Macedonia & Lithuania to qualify from semi final 2 tonight - small 11/2 treble, Coral
Denmark have a tricky draw to overcome tonight in the second semi, which appears the strongest of the two heats. I struggle to see who will vote for their song - which features a bunch of kids sat on a large deckchair, swaying their heads from side to side.
In terms of qualification, Norway and North Macedonia both have good draws and could follow through the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia and Azerbaijan, all of whom are bankers to progress. Norway have a catchy upbeat entry, Spirit In The Sky, while North Macedonia have a solid ballad which has earned rave reviews in rehearsals.
Lithuania, with a likeable entry, Run With The Lions, look tempting to progress at 5/2 too and including them in a qualification treble, although a bit riskier than the double, bumps the odds up to 11/2 in a treble.
Friday 17th May
Bets: Australia to finish top five in Eurovision - 8/13 Coral, Ladbrokes (used to cover stake on the first Netherlands outright win bet).
Australia to win the Jury vote 14/1 Sportspesa, 10 Bet, Red Zone, 12/1 Sky Bet, Bet 365, small win single (or EW if betting with Sky, who are 3 places, 1/4 odds...they are the only firm offering EW).
Australia to receive over 3.5 sets of 12 points on the Jury vote - 5/6 Bet 365
Australia will have been delighted to have landed the penultimate slot in the 26-strong Grand Final running order - a draw which potentially suggests they could have put up a big showing in the first semi final on Tuesday. The likes of Bulgaria and Cyprus were both handed the same slot in the 2016 and 2017 finals, respectively, following strong semi final performances (Australia won theirs and Cyprus were second). Draw 25 gives the Aussies a real chance of finishing in the frame and bouncing back from last year's dismal display.
Australia's semi-final performance was very, very good. Kate hit the notes and the staging looked brilliant, as she and her dancers were swinging around on poles over the LED image of a globe. I would be amazed if she finished out of the first three in that semi and judging by the betting, they are in contention to win the heat (the results are not announced until after the final).
What history has shown us, however, is that Australia usually fare much better on the jury vote than they do with the public. This simply hasn't been factored into the betting.
Isaiah Firebrace is a prime example - he scored 171 of his 173 points with the juries two years ago. Two points with the public, just two!
In the final, given the shows producers announce all of the jury votes first and then the public votes second, I think there is an angle into backing Australia now with a view to trading out on them in play. I have taken 8.20 in the outright market on Betfair, hope they score well with the jury, offering a get out point before the clumps of points are added on from the televote.
In a similar vein, the 14/1 for Australia to win the televote is a massive, massive price. I thought they'd be 7/2 here and priced up behind Netherlands and disputing second favouritism with Sweden (they are priced around 6/1 to win the whole thing, which is based on a jury AND a televote!). Sky offer EW in this market on three places and, if I could get on, I'd have a decent bet on them EW here. I can't get on with them, though, so instead have had a punt on the 14/1 to win the jury vote outright and covered the stake with an overs/unders market Bet 365 are offering.......
Bet 365 are offering markets on how many sets of 12 points each country will receive on the jury vote, and the 5/6 for Australia to receive over 3.5's lots of douze points looks a tremendous price when you consider the line on the Netherlands is set at 7.5 and they are priced at 8/13 to go over.
There are 41 sets of juries awarding their scores and if the Aussies are to come top three in the jury vote, as I anticipate, I'd be disappointed if they couldn't get at least five sets of '12' here. Dami Im, the 2016 runner-up for Australia, received nine sets.
Even looking at a year when there is a clear winner, like in 2017 when Portugal's Salvador Sobral wiped the floor with everyone and landed 18 sets of '12' from the juries, the runner-up, Bulgaria's Kristian Kostov, received four lots of 12.
I've backed them so that If the Aussies can land at least four sets of '12' off the juries and land a 5/6 winner, it will cover the win only stake at 14/1 for them to win the jury vote (if only I could get on with Sky and just back them in a simple EW!!).
The 8/13 for Australia to finish in the top five also looks worth taking. Even if they are reined back in when the televote scores are added onto the totals, I think there is good reason to think this one might pick up a few more vote phone votes than recent Australian entries have mustered and do enough to hold onto a top five position. For that reason I've backed them to a stake which will cover my win only outlay on the Netherlands in the outright market in case that bet gets chinned (we do also have Norway, Spain and Italy running for us in the top 10 market to provide other cover).
All that said, Netherlands will be main result of the competition for me and they've been the biggest bet among the sea of small interest singles and multiples.
I am hoping there are some match bet markets priced up tomorrow and may look to get a few of those onside for the final bets.
In summary, the best scenario for us in Saturday's final would be a Netherlands outright victory, with Australia finishing in the top five, winning the jury vote and getting over 3.5 sets of 12 jury points, with Spain, Norway, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Italy all finishing in the top 10 (if Norway or Spain could sneak into the top four...which is a tad ambitious......that would be even better). We also want Australia to be announced winners of SF 1 and the Netherlands to be announced winners of SF 2 - the results of which are only announced once the final is over.
Saturday 18th May
Happy Eurovision final day everyone!
I've not found much that interests me in the match bet markets so will head into the final battle with what we already have onside - there are no new bets to advise this evening.
If anyone is looking at this page for the first time and wants a bet for tonight, I'd probably take a flyer on Norway EW at 28/1 (with 4 places EW) or back Australia to get over 3.5 lots of '12 points' from the juries with Bet 365 (has been cut to 8/13 now though) if you are looking for a shorter price. Australia to win the jury vote looks massive at 14/1, though with Netherlands and Sweden live players in this market, it isn't one to get too carried away about.
The likes of Switzerland, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Italy are others I am hoping finishing in the top 10, though the prices have gone there now, as they have for Netherlands to win the whole competition.
There is still 8/13 for Australia to finish top 5 and 2/5 for Italy to finish top 10 (should be 1/3 or less), albeit the value margin has been slightly eroded on the latter.
Generally speaking, the markets have had plenty of time to factor in the running order positions and semi final performances, as well as the performances made for the juries last night, so things are pretty much coming into line as we approach kick off in under an hours time.
Thanks for reading over the last few weeks and here's hoping for a memorable final. I will provide a brief comment tomorrow on the fate of the bets as we only learn the results from the semis once the final itself is over.
Best of luck, everyone.
Sunday 19th May - Results fall out
He did it! Duncan Laurence won Eurovision 2019 for the Netherlands!
It has been a very good punting week in Tel Aviv.
The Netherlands 15/8 outright - WON
The Netherlands 11/4 EW outright - WON
Norway 80/1 EW outright - placed (with Paddy Power)
Norway to finish top 10 - 9/4 - WON
Australia to win SF1 9/2 EW - WON
Australia to win SF1, Netherlands to win SF2, Sweden, Italy and Azerbaijan all top 10 special - 10/1 - WON
Italy to finish top 10 - 1/2 - WON
North Macedonia and Norway to qualify from SF2 double - 10/11 - WON
Of the losing bets, Spain (top 10 and EW outright) were never in the hunt and finished 22nd. Australia managed two lots of 12 points from the juries (with plenty of 10’s) and fell short of clearing the line of 3.5 we required. The Aussies finished sixth in the Jury vote and ninth overall.
We were unlucky with three qualification accas in the semi’s. Hungary were 12th (we needed 10th or better) in SF1 to thwart 23/10 and 12/1 winners, while in SF2, Lithuania missed out by ONE POINT, scuppering a 11/2 treble. They finished 11th when, again, we needed 10th or better. Who stole 10th? Denmark, who was a 4/5 suggestion not to qualify! So, so close to two winners there.....
Overall, it was a decent competition, however. Thanks for reading - i’ll be back next year to get involved again no doubt!