There have been an unprecedented number of bets at bookmakers on the singer and internet polls have been flooded with votes for his album 'Wake Up The Nation' to win the coveted industry accolade.
A spokesperson for bookmaker William Hill said: "This is a pretty unprecedented gamble - certainly in the history of the Mercury, and also every other music award."
While the public are in favour of Paul - known as the Modfather - winning however, the Barclaycard Mercury Prize is decided by a panel of figures from within the music industry and has notoriously produced some unexpected winners since its inception in 1992.
Virtually unknown artists frequently triumph over more established acts when the award is given, such as last year, when virtual unknown hip hop artist Speech Debelle scooped the award.
The winner does usually see a boost in their profile however, and it was after scooping the award in 2003 that obscure 16-year-old rapper Dizzee Rascal got mainstream attention which started him on the path to becoming one of the most popular performers in the UK.
Paul, 52, was last nominated in 1994 for his 'Wild Wood' album, which lost out to M People's album 'Elegant Slumming', though Paul says he had never expected to win that year because he was up against Blur's career defining album 'Parklife'.
'Eton Rifles' hitmaker Paul added that he's already started work on the follow up to 'Wake Up The Nation' and has hit something of a creative spurt.
He told the Daily Star newspaper: "We've done around eight tracks in four days and they sound mega. I would say it's more pop, it's different again, another move on.
"It's not about shocking people, it's just me being a little more willing to push the boat out."
The other nominees for tonight's Mercury Music Prize are:
Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominees:
Biffy Clyro - 'Only Revolutions'
Corinne Bailey Rae - 'The Sea'
Dizzee Rascal - 'Tongue N' Cheek'
Foals - 'Total Life Forever'
I Am Kloot - 'Sky At Night'
Kit Downes Trio - 'Golden'
Laura Marling - 'I Speak Because I Can'
Mumford And Sons - 'Sigh No More'
Paul Weller - 'Wake Up The Nation'
The XX - 'xx'
Villagers - 'Becoming a Jackal'
Wild Beasts - 'Two Dancers'