Mercury Music Prize 2018 Odds

We’re right in the middle of awards season right now and amongst the many trophies that are handed out in the music industry, the Mercury Prize is arguably the most prestigious. The interesting thing about this award is that there is only one category so there is no glitzy awards night with endless prizes dished out over many hours.

All that’s up for grabs here is the title of Best Album by an artist across the UK and Ireland from the previous 12 months. It also simplifies things from a betting point of view too so, let’s look at our options for the 2018 edition and see if we can pick a winner.


Gallagher Brothers

There are some very familiar names in this list and that should help punters when choosing who to back. Both of the Gallagher Brothers are here with their new ventures and they sit alongside the Manic Street Preachers and the Arctic Monkeys as artists who have enjoyed a significant period of success in the music industry.

However, it’s all about 2017 and who had the best album and the bookies have identified a clear leader.

Out in Front

As we’ve seen with a lot of these entertainment markets, Ladbrokes and Coral are the only bookmakers to have declared odds for the Mercury Prize so far. That may change in the lead up to the award but with these two we can always be certain that their prices offer decent value.

Ahead in the betting for 2018 are Shame who can be picked up at odds of 8/1 with either bookmaker. With all due respect to the band, they aren’t as well known as some of the names we’ve already mentioned but this Post Punk outfit have captured a great deal of interest with their debut album, released at the start of the year and while it’s early days as far as this award is concerned, the bookies are clearly impressed with Shame.

Chasing Artists

Arctic Monkeys

Behind the leader we have a significant gap before we find a clutch of bands and individuals who are all available at the same best price of 16/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. Among these are young, upcoming acts such as Wolf Alice along with more recognisable names including Arctic Monkeys who we mentioned earlier.

Also available at that 16/1 price are Chvrches and Superorganism who are relatively new acts still looking for a breakthrough. A Mercury Prize win would certainly offer a huge boost to their careers but is it too early to expect them to make their mark on the award in 2018?

These artists certainly sit amongst illustrious company and one band who will be known, even to those with just a passing interest in the music industry is Bastille. Formed in 2010, last year was a busy one for Bastille and at this early stage they look a good prospect at odds of 20/1 with both Ladbrokes and Coral.

Also at that 20/1 figure are Hookworms, The Animal Spirits and Charli xcx. There are some new artists here looking to make it big in the business and while they all underline the diversity of the Mercury Prize, it doesn’t make it any easier to pick a winner.

Further Back

Liam Payne

Twenty-One names in total are listed on the initial short list for the Mercury Prize so there are some good prices on some bands and acts that will be very familiar. Included in the long-range section is Liam Payne at 66/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes as he builds a solo career for himself outside of One Direction.

Elsewhere, the long-established Manic Street Preachers could be considered less of a punt at their price of 33/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes while also at 33/1 are Franz Ferdinand, Sam Smith and The 1975.

Liam Gallagher is at 50/1 while brother Noel and his High Flying Birds are at that same price, to their probable annoyance. Lily Allen is very distant at 66/1 while the latest X Factor Winners, Rak Su, bring up the rear with the longest odds of all at 100/1. Once again, all of those prices can be found with either Coral or Ladbrokes.


That’s a long list of 21 contenders for just one award so just how can we pick a winner? The list also covers most genres and a set of artists from all ages so could we possibly get some clues from recent Mercury Prize victors?

From 2014 through to 2017, the winners have been fairly unknown on a worldwide basis: Acts at the start of their careers who were looking to make a mark and not since James Blake in 2013 have we seen a winner who could be identified as a ‘household name’.

Other trends suggest that while there have been multiple winners in the past, these are very rare. PJ Harvey completed the ‘double’ in 2011 but that’s not a good indicator for previous winners that have been nominated this year. On that basis, perhaps we should rule out Franz Ferdinand, Young Fathers and the Arctic Monkeys.

Identifying firm trends isn’t easy but the tendency to reward new acts does bring us back to Shame who are listed as the bookmakers’ favourite. A young, raw band, they are set to make a real breakthrough in 2018 and justify their position at the top of the markets.

And, as the favourites, that 8/1 is actually a very good price so, if you don’t want to wait for the markets to move, Shame are a good option to take at this early stage.

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