Costa Book of The Year 2018 Odds

In the course of any calendar year there will be a host of literary awards up for grabs and naturally, some are more sought after than others. The Booker Prize is considered as the pinnacle of achievement for most while those with loftier ambitions might target the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Then we have awards for specific genres such as the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. All of these will have betting markets attached to them and, depending on the prestige attached to the award, some of these markets can be very busy indeed.

In contrast, the markets for the Costa Book of the Year are not quite so active but it’s all about finding value and we think there are some good options for the 2018 edition.


The name may not be familiar but in fact, this set of awards has been around since 1971 and is now enjoying the backing of a well-known sponsor to see it through the modern era. It’s one of the most sought after prizes for writers in the UK and Ireland and there are a number of categories up for grabs.

There are five sections in total – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book and then, one of the five winners from the previous year is considered for the overall Costa Book of the Year. Books are entered by publishers and must be with the judges by the end of June for the formal list to be made up.

For 2018, the awards will be announced on January 30 so this is a perfect time to wade in and consider the available set of prices.

Out in Front

At the time of writing, William Hill are the only bookmaker to get behind the event. That may change in the coming days but we know that Hills are strong on any market so the odds here are likely to be good ones.

The one available market is for the overall Costa Book of the Year and the current favourite is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Winner of the Debut Book of the Year in 2017, this is a classic tale of an outsider trying to fit in and subsequently face up to change.

Second on the list is Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore which is available at odds of 2/1 with William Hill once again (WH T&C). This was the winner in the poetry category 12 months ago and while the genre doesn’t quite get the same attention from the buying public, there are many critics and observers who feel that Inside the Wave has a genuine chance this year.

It’s also quite a moving collection that considers impending death and was, in fact, Helen Dunmore’s last published work before she sadly passed away in June of 2017.

Chasing Authors

Behind the two favourites the prices start to get a little distant and in third place we have Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. Hills have quoted the book at 5/1 and this is the winner in the best novel category for 2017.

Reservoir 13 was also nominated for the Man Booker prize so is clearly highly thought of and is another piece of work with strong claims for the Costa Book of the Year in 2018.

Completing our list of five options for this award are two books that are quoted by William Hill at the same odds of 7/1. In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott was the 2017 winner of the Costa Biography category and is a collection of childhood memoirs detailing a relationship with the author’s father. It really is a fascinating piece of work and certainly a worthy champion in its own category 12 months ago.

Finally, we come to The Explorer by Katherine Rundell: Also at that 7/1 price with William Hill, this piece took the Costa category for Best Children’s Book in 2017 and is a thrilling story of four young friends and their battle for survival in the Amazon.


In a sense this can be tough to call because all of the books involved are winners in their own right. There are no makeweights in this set of five contenders, just stunning pieces of creativity that have already claimed their own awards.

We can, therefore, take something of a lead from the bookmakers and consider why they have priced the entries in the way that they have. Sales can have some bearing while impact is also important so the stunning debut of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is perhaps a worthy favourite.

We also particularly like the claims of the 5/1 shot Reservoir 13 from Jon McGregor which has scooped and been nominated for other awards since. But maybe we should be looking at the second favourite here and Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore at 2/1.

It’s incredibly moving and while there is no hint of a sympathy vote in this instance, it would be a fitting and poignant way to mark the passing of its author.

Best Bet:

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