There are an almost inordinate number of ways to bet with mainstream UK bookmakers, and not all of them revolve around sports.
You can bet on politics – Donald Trump winning the US Presidential race paid out at 5/1, light entertainment – Jack & Dani were easy 6/5 winners for their Love Island backers, and music, in various guises.
One market that has been very good to punters who are willing to look outside the box is the Mercury Music Prize, where there have been some big odds winners in recent years.
Just look at last year’s event, where Sampha triumphed with his record ‘Process’. The 7/2 chance saw off the eminently-more successful Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and co, and proved that the Mercury judges are more than happy to champion the underdog.
Indeed, you wonder if the panel have a flutter themselves before announcing their winner, with Skepta (8/1), Benjamin Clementine (10/1) and Young Fathers (16/1) all taking the spoils at mouth-watering prizes.
The fact that Skepta defeated David Bowie, who had passed away earlier that year, and that Clementine and Young Fathers had enjoyed limited mainstream success up until their triumph confirms that the Mercury Music Prize is one betting market where we can eliminate the big hitters from our enquiries.
It’s been a decade since the last chart powerhouse won the Mercury – that was Elbow with the Seldom Seen Kid, and so we’re happy to cast our net far and wide for this year’s winner.
Let’s take a look at the 2018 nominees and see if we can come up with a likely (or unlikely, even) champion.
Mainstream Acts Don’t Appeal
The history books tell us that Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds stand little to no chance of winning this award; vanilla ‘dad rock’ hasn’t really featured in the Mercury Prize shake-up since Elbow. The former Oasis’ status as co-favourite with he bookies is a false one.
Arctic Monkeys could win – their latest opus is a bizarre space-rock odyssey that the judges tend to enjoy, but at 4/1 and as a former winner we can probably rule them out. Florence & the Machine have twice been nominated for the gong without winning, so we can rule the flame-haired songstress out to.
Wolf Alice, Lily Allen and Jorja Smith have all enjoyed mainstream success – usually a no-no in the portfolio of a Mercury recipient, while Everything Everything’s status as Radio 1 darlings does little to help their cause.
With the panel seemingly keen to champion a diverse range of acts, you could perhaps rule out grime star MC Novelist with Skepta winning in 2016, while jazz outfit Sons of Kemet’s album is called ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’. That’s unlikely to go down well with the comfy middle-class judging panel.
All of which leaves electronic soul warbler Nadine Shah and eclectic shouter King Krule in the running. The latter fuses a few different genres together to create something that is uniquely his own sound, and that is the kind of thing that tends to please the judges.
They don’t mind naughty language either – see Skepta’s 2016 victory, and so as box-ticking exercises go King Krule to win the Mercury Music Prize 2018 looks a value bet at 8/1.