Part of my daily routine at the office consists of checking a variety of offshore sportsbooks for props and futures. One prop that has caught my eye for some time now is the “Next Pope Special.”
Betting on the Pope…seems kind of ironic if you ask me, but I don’t hate it. I’m not a religious fella, but I reckon this would be frowned upon by the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, let’s dive into the madness and assess the situation.
For those who don’t snack on the body of Christ Sunday morns, Jorge Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, has been donning the tall cap since 2013.
With Francis 81-years-old, oddsmakers are prepared for the next man in line. As of today, 37 different men have odds offered to become Pope #267.
Thirty cardinals, three archbishops, one patriarch, one scientist, one fictional character, and….Bono.
I don’t think there’s ever been a Pope weighed in Courics, but as you’ll soon learn, some people are holding out hope.
I went ahead and used my big J journo skills to ask some of the action they’ve been seeing on this bet…and the results are shocking.
According to Eric Rosenthal, Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson has the most money bet on him so far at over $2,350. Interestingly enough, these have been somewhat sizable bets for a wager of this nature, as that money comes from just 29 wagers.
Back when Pope Benedict was set to resign, Turkson was the favorite to become the 266th Pope at several offshore sportsbooks before being upset by the current Pope Francis. Can Turkson put that behind him this time around? “Sharp Pope bettors” believe he can…
Right behind him is the favorite, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines. Tagle has nearly $2,300 wagered on him, but spread between 160 total bets. Looks like the square Pope crowd is piling on the favorite as per usual.
If you’re an American in hopes of seeing the first American Pope, perhaps Timothy Dolan is the man for you. He nearly has as many total bets wagered on him as Tagle does, but they account for less than $1,000. Super square American Pope bettors will never learn, will they?
Rosenthal also states that Irish bettors are also rooting for their native son, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. An 80-1 shot, Martin has over $800 wagered on him so far.
Apparently one wiseguy is going down heavy on one of Italy’s own, as two $200 bets from the same person have been placed on Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi at 14-1.
Historically, the Pope has hailed from Italy the large majority of the time, but this trend has changed in recent papacies. When Pope John Paul II was chosen, he was the first non-Italian pope since the early 1500s. However, the two Popes chosen since his death have also been non-Italians, with Benedict XVI hailing from Germany and Francis hailing from Argentina.
As far as the Bono bets go, there have been a few nitwits to wager on the Irish pop star. In total, a few hundred bucks are on the line at a 350-1 payout. If for some godforsaken reason he was made Pope, one book would have to shell out over $100k.
Whilst researching folks deemed papabile (yes, it’s a word) by the oddsmakers, I stumbled upon some rather shocking historical facts.
I knew what the term martyr meant, but I did not know that basically every Pope up to the year 300 died via martyrdom. And not the Call of Duty way. I found this out by reading the cheery “List of popes who died violently” Wikipedia page.
Some notable deaths include Pope Clement I, who was tossed into the sea with an anchor around his neck, Pope Callixtus I, who was thrown down a well, and Pope Pontian, who was condemned to the mines of Sardinia. Of course, some of the lucky martyrs were subject to a traditional martyrdom…death by crucifixion.