The Great Mercury Prize Betting Guide And Drinking Game – How To Spice Up Friday’s Ceremony

Aaaaand they’re almost off! If you’re the sort of person who likes to have a flutter, you’ve no doubt been checking form on the runners and riders for this year’s Mercury Prize. And here, via William Hill, they currently are:

Jamie xx – ‘In Colour’ (7/2)
Benjamin Clementine (7/1)
Wolf Alice – ‘My Love Is Cool’ (7/1)
Eska – ‘Eska’ (8/1)
Ghostpoet – ‘Shedding Skin’ (8/1)
Aphex Twin – ‘Syro’ (12/1)
SOAK – ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ (12/1)
Slaves – ‘Are You Satisfied?’ (12/1)
Roisin Murphy – ‘Hairelss Toys’ (14/1)
Gaz Coombes – ‘Matador’ (16/1)
C Duncan – ‘Architect’ (20/1)
Florence & the Machine – ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ (20/1)

It’s something of a mystery how these odds are come to – we can only presume the bookies have been hacking into the judges’ personal iClouds – but it makes for interesting reading. A fiver on Wolf Alice is far more likely to pay dividends than a fiver on Florence, for instance. Laptop soul and esoteric solo acts remain safe Mercury bets, while anyone looking to optimise their gambling potential is best advised to plump for a pony on Aphex Twin.

But beyond who’s going to win, what else might be worth a gamble on the night? We asked William Hill for odds on the following, but they didn’t get back to us. So we turned them into a Mercury 2015 drinking game, rules as follows:

Dean Chalkley/NME

Lauren Laverne declares the vote “too close to call” – one finger

Lauren Laverne claims that the shortlist proves that British music is “better than ever” – two fingers

Lauren Laverne introduces an act as “really pushing the boundaries” – three fingers

Lauren Laverne, in one sentence, claims that British music is “better than ever” that the shortlisted acts are “really pushing the boundaries” and that the vote will undoubtedly be “too close to call” – triple Laverne whammy! Neck five shots

Benjamin Clementine arrives at the ceremony with bare, bleeding feet, having walked all the way from Newcastle after he couldn’t afford the train ticket – three fingers

Wolf Alice stagedive – one finger

Slaves stagedive – one finger

SOAK stagedives – five fingers

Slaves win and have their acceptance speech read out for them by a roadie dressed as a manta ray – two fingers

Aphex Twin DJs ‘Get Lucky’ at any point during the evening – down drink, stay up all night, get lucky

Florence convinces the entire hall to strip naked in display of paganistic abandon – strip naked, two fingers of sacrificial goat’s blood

Jamie xx wins and appeals to George Osborne to drop his tax credit cuts during his acceptance speech – down every drink in the room in show of solidarity with struggling working families

Any of the acts to turn up obviously drunk for a post-show TV interview – drink until you feel roughly as drunk as they look

Labour’s Andy Burnham photographed shaking hands with the winner – two fingers

The winner throws away their cheque – two fingers

The winner burns their cheque live on air – flaming sambucca

The winner grabs the cheque and runs straight to the nearest Cash Converter or payday loan office – down a Buckfast

The winner sees more than a 1200 per cent increase in album sales the following week, bearing in mind they’d sold just one album the previous week – one finger

Enjoy the night, and drink responsibly.