NME.COM discovers that 'Asleep In The Back''s is emerging as bookie's favourite...

Manchester five-piece ELBOW have emerged as growing favourites for next week’s MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE, NME.COM has discovered.

A spokesperson for bookmakers William Hill have revealed that the majority of bets placed on the likely winner over the last three weeks have been put on Elbow‘s ‘Asleep In The Back’ album, shortening their odds from 12/1 to 5/1. Though this still leaves them behind current favourites Basement Jaxx with ‘Rooty’ at 5/2 and PJ Harvey with ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’ at 4/1, the surge is very similar to that enjoyed by Badly Drawn Boy when he came from nowhere to win with ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ in 2000.

in related news, cartoon band Gorillaz have been officially withdrawn from the shortlist of entries after asking to be removed. The album had initially been installed as bookmakers’ favourite when nominations were announced in July, but one of the animated four-piece Murdoc said at the time that it was like “carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity”.

The remaining entries shape-up as follows;

Zero 7, ‘Simple Things’ (11/2)

Turin Brakes, ‘The Optimist LP’ (6/1)

Goldfrapp, ‘Felt Mountain’ (8/1)

Super Furry Animals, ‘Rings Around The World’ (8/1)

Radiohead, ‘Amnesiac’ (14/1)

Ed Harcourt, ‘Here Be Monsters’ (16/1)

Susheela Raman, ‘Salt Rain’ (28/1)

Tom McRae, ‘Tom McRae’ (33/1)

The prize, for best new album of the year in the UK and Ireland, will be announced at a ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel next Tuesday (September 11).