Eurovision tips: Best bets and odds for Thursday night’s semi-final in Liverpool

16 more nations will find out if they make the main stage on Thursday night - here's Andrew Cunneen's pick of the wannabes


Eurovision 2023 – Semi Final 2 Best Bets

Cyprus to Win Semi-Final 2
Greece to Qualify
Albania to Qualify

Not all sequels are huge successes. Jaws 2, which, I assure you makes no sense, is right there among them.

As does I Still Know What You Did Last Summer which is comfortably the worst-titled follow-up of all-time.

But the odd time you get surprised by a production and it can even enhance the original. Enter Terminator 2, Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight and Top Gun Maverick.

Oh, and the second Eurovision semi-final of 2023.

The first night may well have the big hitters and the most likely winners, and the ehh.. record holders *cough* but the second night is a wide-open heat where anything can happen.

And given the bizarre nature of Eurovision productions, an unpredictable night by their standards is definitely something you don’t want to miss.

But can we find some value among the madness? Sing it with me, my brothers and sisters.

Cyprus to Win Semi-Final 2

Told you we’d find some value didn’t I?

While I understand the appeal of the Austrian hit, the big attraction of them is their presentation rather than the song itself – and that’s always a roll of the dice rather than a surefire way to justify favouritism.

And with Australia getting the premium slot, I also understand the desire that many have in backing them – even if their weird dad rock vibe is hardly generation-proof.

An aerial view shows the Royal Albert Dock (L) and the Liverpool M&S Bank Arena (R) on the bank of the River Mersey, in Liverpool, north west England on April 18, 2023. – The M&S Arena is set to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Police on Wednesday urged the public to remain vigilant against terrorism as thousands of visitors prepare to visit Liverpool for the Eurovision final on May 13. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Instead I turn towards Cyprus who are the biggest geopolitical victors of the semi-final pairing, having benefited from being in the same running order as Greece, Armenia and Albania.

Given televotes are the sole factor here, this is the value play of the entire competition.

Greece to Qualify

It’s probably the safest bet available to you and could be shorter in the market.

Acting as the midway point and thus escaping the doldrums of early performance, Greece actually occupy a run of suspiciously short-priced flaky entries and could even benefit from a boost in that regard.

Victor Vernicos’ entry is getting a lot of buzz in its neighbouring countries and while I assure you this hit does absolutely nothing for me, it ticks all the boxes of an Aegean-friendly entry that will end up mid-pack in Saturday’s grand finale.

And again for those of you in the back – Cyprus, Armenia and Albania are all in this semi-final.

Albania to Qualify

Every year there’s an oversight in the betting and once again, people are forgetting about Albania.

Yes, their entries are incredibly formulaic and will almost never win one of these contests as long as they keep pumping this tedious format, but the theme remains from above, as well as some historical form people keep ignoring.

Members of the band “Kalush Orchestra”, Oleh Psiuk, Tymofii Muzychuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vitalii Duzhyk, Oleksandr Slobodianyk and Vlad Kurochka performs on behalf of Ukraine during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on May 14, 2022 at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Of course the benefit of Greece, Cyprus and Armenia is important – but you have to understand that the region really responds to native tongue songs and feel a pride in that.

Ronela Hajaiti failed to qualify last year. Why? English. As did Lindita, and Eneda Tarifa and Hersi Matmuja. It’s endless. Only ‘I’m Alive’ got them to the Saturday while sung in English over the last decade.

But with a strictly Albanian anthem to come, it’s worth noting that five of their last six Albanian-written songs have qualified.

So strike up the band, Tirana.

Eurovision 2023 – Semi Final 2 Best Bets

Cyprus to Win Semi-Final 2
Greece to Qualify
Albania to Qualify

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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