The Melodifestivalen final takes place this weekend as a somewhat disappointing Eurovision national final season draws to a close. If the betting markets are anything to go by, we are looking at a two-horse race between Cornelia Jakobs and Anders Bagge.
According to the latest Smarkets probabilities, Jakobs stands a 57% chance of flying the Swedish flag in Turin, with Bagge at half that on 28%. Among the outsiders, Klara Hammarström sits at 8% and LIAMOO at 5%, with just a 2% chance that someone else takes the crown.
Starting with the two outsiders, Klara Hammarström’s already slim chances have been all but extinguished by the Swedish broadcaster’s decision to have her open the show, though she should still record high scores among the younger age groups which tend to vote for songs earlier in the running order (contrary to the general public).
Likewise, while LIAMOO may finish in the top two with the international jury, his streaming numbers simply do not look good enough for a youth-oriented song like this to amass a hefty televote score.
That leaves us with the two frontrunners. On one hand we have a full package in ‘Hold Me Closer’ that could help break Sweden out of its burgeoning reputation for well-produced but inauthentic entries that have brought diminishing returns on the Eurovision stage over the last few years.
On the other we have ‘Bigger than the Universe’, a decent song with a recognisable melody that relies massively on the popularity of its performer. The division between these two entries will be on full display on Saturday night when international juries may generously reward Cornelia Jakobs while the Swedish public propels Anders Bagge to a televote win. We could end up with a split result that looks something like this:
Despite a likely televote deficit, Cornelia Jakobs’ jury score should ensure she maintains a lead over Anders Bagge when all votes are counted. ‘Hold Me Closer’ is the worthy favourite and will make Sweden a serious contender for its seventh Eurovision title if it wins on Saturday.
Patrick Flynn is an analyst at Smarkets. Smarkets is a betting exchange (also known as a prediction market), where odds move based on customers’ betting and trading activity, rather than being opaquely set by a bookmaker trying to maximise profits. You can follow him on Twitter @patrickjfl.