After the Mercury Music Prize nominees were announced in July, I said that Self Esteem looked like a good value bet at 5/1.
That looks a good call now, on eve of the announcement of the winner this Thursday, because Self Esteem has shortened in the betting to become the favourite at 5/2.
Self Esteem, who are lead by Rebecca Lucy Taylor, are worthy market jollies for their second album Prioritise Pleasure.
Little Simz (pictured) is a lively contender at 3/1 while previous favourites Wet Leg are out to 4/1.
Twenty-two of the 30 Mercury winners - including last years winner Arlo Parks' Lost in Sunbeams - have been debut albums, so more often than not it pays to back a debut.
Of the debuts on the shortlist, Wet Leg are the shortest price, while Kojey Radical comes next at 9/1.
Time for an upset?
The Mercury Music Prize used to be unpredictable but in recent years it has become a little easier to work out who was going to win.
I said the day before she won last year that Arlo Parks was appealing at 4/1.
Prior to that Michael Kiwunuka was the favourite before he scooped the award.
In 2019, it would have been more of a surprise if Dave hadn't won (he duly did, rewarding those of us who backed him at 4/1).
Those three artists all, broadly speaking, fall under the category of rap and R n' B - which leads me to wonder if it might be time for a rock act to win.
The last time that happened was in 2018 when Wolf Alice triumphed. Four years on, it could be time to gamble on something similar.
The case for a small play on Fender
If we are looking for a bet at this point then we need an outsider to back at generous odds. And if we're buying into the idea that it could be time for a guitar rock act to win then Sam Fender - for Seventeen Going Under - at 12/1 fits the bill.
Like his beloved Newcastle United, the 28-year-old has had a whirlwind 12 months and is on the up and up. He has just sold out a massive homecoming gig at St James' Park.
Fender has already received the Brit Award for Best British Alternative/Rock Act and the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, so he has a knack of winning awards.
The Mercury Music Prize has reputation for rewarding acts of a less mainstream bent than the Brits but Fender is also popular with critics, receiving five star reviews for Seventeen.
Is he too famous to win? No, he's hardly Adele. His music reaches people, with memorable melodies and emotional power while comprising none of its grittiness.
The current price of 12/1 looks generous.
Self Esteem is a worthy favourite, and may well carry off the prize, but a small wager on the Geordie songsmith is worth a go if you fancy getting involved in the market at this stage.
Mercury Music Prize 2022 Latest Odds
5/2 - Self Esteem (Prioritise Pleasure)
3/1 - Little Simz (Sometimes I Might Be Introvert)
4/1 - Wet Leg (Wet Leg)
9/1 - Kojey Radical (Reason to Smile)
10/1 - Gwenno (Tresor)
10/1 - Yard Act (The Overload)
12/1 - Nova Twins (Supernova)
12/1 - Sam Fender (Seventeen Going Under)
14/1 - Harry Styles (Harry's House)
17/1 - Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler (For All Our Days That Tear the Heart)
20/1 - Fergus McCreadie (Forest Floor)
20/1 - Joy Crookes (Skin)