From the longlist alone, it is clear that this year’s judges of the MAN Booker Prize are not crowd pleasers, seeing that both of the UK’s heavyweight contenders Martin Amis and Ian McEwan are glaringly absent from the list of potentials.
Given this information, we can confidently pare down the options to a few real contenders and some outside shots that have a real chance of taking the prize.
With Amis and McEwan not listed, the likely winners are clearly David Mitchell (no, not of Peep Show fame) and two-time winner Peter Carey. Although the odds are slightly against Carey because he has won it twice already, we know that this is not something that would turn the judges, so Carey could be a safe bet at 7/1. In fact, he represents greater value than Mitchell who stands at 7/2f.
Going by hype, second-favourite Tom McCarthy is priced about right as he has built a huge amount of momentum since his first book was published. This means that 4/1 is a good chance of taking an easy score. However, Booker Prize judges have traditionally been against listening to public hype in favour of their own opinions.
At 11/1, Rose Tremain is probably not going to get you any returns as her book Trespass has not made any waves and lacks the sort of clout judges look for in a winner. She has also made a few other long and shortlists but has failed to make a big impression.
Andrea Levy at 10/1 could be a valuable pick though. She may not be well known but her lyrical and contemporary approach suggests that she is just the sort of author, and ‘The Long Song’ just the sort of book, that the judges could favour. I would put it in the same bracket as Anne Enright’s ‘The Gathering’ and Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ – both outsiders which won The Booker Prize in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
Along similar lines, Paul Murray’s ‘Skippy Dies’ and Christos Tsiolkas’s ‘The Slap’ follow in the same vein as DBC Pierre’s ‘Vernon God Little’, winner in 2003. With Murray at 7/1 and Tsiolkas at 11/2 these bets have more value than either Carey or Mitchell when taking the judges’ penchant for surprises into account.
So overall the best bet this year is Andrea Levy at 10/1 followed by Paul Murray at 7/1 and Christos Tsiolkas at 11/2. However, if you want to have a safe bet with a little less return then it is worth putting some money on Tom McCarthy (4/1) as the grapevine is ripe with rumours that he will be taking the prize.
But remember, when betting on The Booker Prize, the judges like some shock value and this can come in unlikely forms.
Tags: Andrea Levy, Anne Enright, bet on the MAN Booker Prize, Christos Tsiolkas, David Mitchell, DBC Pierre, Hilary Mantel, MAN Booker Prize bets, MAN Booker Prize betting, MAN Booker Prize odds, Paul Murray, Peter Carey, Rose Tremain, Tom McCarthy