Odds are next pope will be Italian, bookies say

'South American, African no longer favorites' says William Hill

Odds are next pope will be Italian, bookies say

Rome, February 27 - British bookmakers on Wednesday said the odds were good that the new pope would be Italian and not from the developing world as previously predicted. According to William Hill bookmakers, the odds that an Italian cardinal would rise to the ranks of pontiff were four to 1.8. The numbers were taken Wednesday, when Benedict made his final public appearance before over 150,000 people at a general audience in St Peter's Square before stepping down Thursday. The likeliest of 'papabile' candidates is Milan Archibishop Angelo Scola with four to one odds, followed by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone at six to one, and the head of the Italian bishops conference (CEI) Angelo Bagnasco at eight to one, William Hill said. "Betting on the next pope is one of the most international markets in history, with bets coming in from over 100 countries," a spokesman for William Hill told betting publication Agipronews. "At this point in time, those placing bets believe the man to succeed Benedict XVI will be Italian, instead of a South American or an African, as was predicted initially". According to the latest data, odds on an African pope are 2.88 to one, while those on South American pope are 9 to two. Odds that he will come from Canada, such as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, are seven to one. Odds on an American are 21 to one, followed by 26 to one on a Spanish successor and 34 to one on someone from France. Wherever the next pope comes from, odds are 11 to one he will not be elected after one round of voting in the conclave of cardinals, which could begin as early as next week. (photo: Milan Archibishop Angelo Scola with Benedict XVI)

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