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Bets for Eurovision are hotting up

The first semi-final of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest kicked off in Dusseldorf last night. A total of 19 countries battled it out for ten coveted places in Saturday’s grand final, with a few surprise qualifiers and shock non-qualifiers. The bookies were quick to get on board with releasing the odds for the winners and losers, but as the competition gets hotter and the acts get narrowed down, the markets will understandably keep changing.

William Hill declared Azerbaijan as the favourites to win last night’s semi-final with odds of 7/4, and punters who placed a wager on that outcome have been rewarded. There were however a few shocks in store, as William Hill also had Turkey, who have a history of doing exceptionally well in the competition every year, at 1/14 of qualifying, so must have faced a bit of a shock when they were not in the top ten qualifying countries. The countries who made it through to the final on Saturday were Greece, Russia, Azerbaijan, Finland, Georgia, Lithuania, Serbia, Switzerland, Hungary and Iceland.

Bet 365 is extending the Eurovision market to whether or not Saturday’s winner will be a semi-finalist. The odds currently stand at 4/5 for yes, and 9/10 for no. Bet 365 may have opened that particular market with a hint of hope and national pride for The United Kingdom, as it is one of the five countries, along with France, Germany, Spain and Italy, that automatically has a place in every final. It could also be because German entry Lena Meyer-Landrut, last year’s winner, is reprising her role representing her country, and has gained a large European fan base since her winning performance last year. Bet 365 have Blue for the United Kingdom as 6/1 to win the competition, but also have France as an early favourite at 6/4.

The special bets will also be interesting to look at, as will the odds once all of the finalists are chosen. Even if you’re not planning on watching the event, it is a betting opportunity not to be missed.

Maria Pierides
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