Cape Town - Beauden Barrett is bidding to become the first player to be named World Rugby Player of the Year three times in a row.
According to the Stuff.co.nz website, the New Zealand flyhalf is a 9/1 shot with Paddy Power to land the prestigious accolade, which will be handed out at the World Rugby Awards in Monte Carlo on Sunday, November 25.
It has been yet another stellar year for Barrett in the No 10 jersey for the All Blacks, scoring seven tries, one of which has been nominated for the 2018 International Rugby Players Try of the Year award.
Barrett’s compatriots Richie McCaw (2006, 2009, 2010) and Dan Carter (2005, 2012, 2015) have both been named the best player in the world on three occasions each, but neither earned it three times on the spin.
The Kiwi opened as the initial 5/4 favourite in the betting odds, but has since been pushed out to a distant second favourite following New Zealand's loss to Ireland last weekend.
Since 2012, only players from New Zealand have won the award.
Ireland flyhalf Johnny Sexton is the overwhelming favourite to claim this year's award and is on offer at 1/8.
Sexton's chances were boosted as Ireland beat the All Blacks 16-9 in Dublin.
Sexton literally kick-started Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam, landing a 45m dropped goal in the 41st phase of play to seal a last-gasp 15-13 win over France in Paris in their opening match of the tournament.
Ireland recorded just their third Grand Slam when they defeated England 24-15 at Twickenham.
Sexton also guided his Leinster team to the PRO14 and Champions Cup double.
His remarkable Test season included helping Ireland seal their first series win in Australia since 1979.
The judging panel consists of Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi, Sir Clive Woodward, Brian O'Driscoll, Fabien Galthie and Agustín Pichot.
Fans and media also have the chance to be involved in the voting process. A new format also sees international captains and coaches join the panel for one final vote to determine the winner.
Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk joins Barrett as a 9/1 joint second favourite for the award, while All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane can be backed at 40/1.
Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx, the fifth and final finalist, is the rank outsider at 50/1.
Previous World Rugby men’s XVs Player of the Year Award winners:2017 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2016 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2015 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2014 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
2013 - Kieran Read (New Zealand)
2012 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2011 - Thierry Dusautoir (France)
2010 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2009 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2008 - Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 - Bryan Habana (South Africa)
2006 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2005 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2004 - Schalk Burger (South Africa)
2003 - Jonny Wilkinson (England)
2002 - Fabien Galthié (France)
2001 - Keith Wood (Ireland)