You can throw a few quid on anything nowadays and music awards ceremonies are certainly not off the table. The Mercury Prize, awarded annually for the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act, is next up on the specials betting calendar. Thursday’s ceremony is set to be an intriguing affair for fans of modern music and interested punters alike, with BBC DJ Annie Mac hosting on the night.
Mercury Prize betting options are limited to one main market - the winner. The usual suspects are about for 2018 (think Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, Noel Gallagher) alongside some lesser-known hipster goodness in the likes of Nadine Shah, Novelist and Sons of Kemet to name a few.
Here’s a breakdown of this year’s Mercury Prize odds:
The award often causes the winner’s album sales to skyrocket which helps to maintain significant interest from the public. However, it has been asserted that the Mercury Prize can also be a curse. In 2001 Gorillaz requested that their debut LP be removed from the shortlist stating that winning would be similar to “carrying a dead albatross around your neck for eternity”. Lovely.
Despite Gorillaz’ fascinating description, the award still gives unknown artists a chance, making Mercury Prize betting highly profitable if you can find the right note. That note however, can be difficult to predict. Fear not - we’re here to help make your money sing!
Let’s take a look at the past 10 winners of the Mercury Prize to see if we can notice any discernible patterns:
|2017||Sampha||Process||Electronic / Alternative R&B|
|2015||Benjamin Clementine||At Least for Now||Rock Opera / Spoken Word|
|2014||Young Fathers||Dead||Alternative Hip Hop / Alternative R&B|
|2013||James Blake||Overgrown||R&B / Electronic / Soul|
|2012||alt-J||An Awesome Wave||Pop / Indie Pop / Art Rock|
|2011||PJ Harvey||Let England Shake||Folk Rock|
|2010||The xx||xx||Indie Pop / Dream Pop / Indie Rock|
|2009||Speech Debelle||Speech Therapy||50|
|2008||Elbow||The Seldom Seen Kid||Art Rock|
The genres of R&B and Indie Pop have featured quite heavily over the past 10 years but so too have Indie Rock and Art Rock. This is quite a broad spectrum meaning the genre stats won’t give us much to go on for our 2018 bet.
If we go even further back we can see that Mercury has even awarded subgenres like drum and bass (Roni Size, ‘97) the top prize, so it really is difficult to draw any conclusions in this manner.
To answer this question we must first answer another. What type of artist normally wins the Mercury Prize? There have been arguments in the past that jazz and folk artists are nominated as ‘tokens’, serving only as a box-ticking exercise. Could 2018 be the year that changes? We’re not sure.
Artists with a political message often do well and it’s difficult to rule out commercially successful artists who have been nominated before. There is no one specific type of artist that wins the Mercury prize, but there are often common traits among winners.
So, keeping the above in mind, our shortened shortlist for 2018 looks like this:
Arctic Monkeys are an obvious pick with their intrepid comeback ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, but as we’ve seen time and time again, the Mercury judges like to mix things up. This makes their 8/1 at Paddy Power look less favourable. The same goes for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and ‘Who Built the Moon?’. Sons of Kemet are third-favourite at 5/1 with Betfair for the honour but as a jazz outfit it’s easy to see them walking away empty-handed.
Nadine Shah’s odds of 4/1 at Betway are a solid choice. She earned significant critical acclaim for her gob-smackingly powerful and deeply political ‘Holiday Destination’ LP. Although it shouldn’t necessarily be a contributing factor, the fact that a solo woman has not won since PJ Harvey in 2011 may also help Shah’s case.
We know the Mercury judges like under-the-radar shots so it’s clear to see why she remains shortest in the odds at top specials betting sites going in to Thursday night.