Who Will Be the Next Pope? Betting Odds and Our Predictions

Vatican City - Pope Backwards

While it might seem like a cheeky comparison, there’s a way in which every consistory—the event where a pope appoints new cardinals—resembles the Iowa caucuses in U.S. politics.

Essentially, it’s a moment for emerging contenders for the church’s highest position to step into the limelight. Officially, cardinals are the top advisors to the pope who appointed them, and eventually, they’ll be the ones to choose his successor.

Beyond that, they’re seen as possible future popes themselves. So, whenever a consistory happens, people pay close attention to the new lineup, looking for clues not just about what the cardinals might want but also who could be in the running for the papacy next.

Of course, pinpointing the “papabili,” or those considered likely to be the next pope, isn’t an exact science. There aren’t any exploratory committees or flashy announcements of candidacies.

And as speculation grows around Pope Francis’ potential retirement gains traction, the chattering gets louder about who will take up the mantle next.

Enter the “Vatican-watchers;” those who are willing to vocalize what many are only whispering or discussing in hushed tones, aka “sotto voce.”

But you don’t have to be a card-carrying Vatican watcher to bet on who will be the next pope because betting markets also get in on the action—literally. Yes, you can place bets on who it will be.

In fact, the candidates are emerging, and we are going to break down the contenders, their odds, and our predictions on who will be the next pope!

The Papal Betting Arena

The Papal elections are pretty secretive compared to regular political races—and much more complex. But betting on the next pontiff is not just limited to picking the Pope—markets offer bets on the nationality, age, and continent of the next Bishop of Rome, so you have a lot of options.

The Leading Contenders

The Papal race is on, and five names have emerged as frontrunners in this holy betting landscape. Here are the leading candidates, according to the betting odds:

Marc Ouellet

Marc Ouellet

The Canadian Bishop, currently serving as the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is a leading contender with odds at 4/1. Ouellet is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Pope Francis and has the chance to become the inaugural Canadian Pope. He was appointed as the head of the Congregation of Bishops at the Vatican by Pope Benedict after a distinguished career as the Archbishop of Quebec and the Primate of Canada. And he was a contender for the papacy in the previous two conclave elections in 2005 and 2013.

Luis Antonio Tagle

Luis Antonio Tagle

The Filipino Cardinal, known for his charismatic presence and strong record in evangelization, trails closely with odds at 5/1. The 65-year-old enjoys widespread popularity and could potentially be the first Asian Pope. Praised by the Vatican, he has managed to steer clear of any controversies.

Angelo De Donatis

Angelo De Donatis

The Italian Cardinal Vicar, offering a combination of tradition and modernity, stands with odds at 13/2. At 68, this Italian has held a prominent role in the Vatican since 2017. As the Vicar of Rome, De Donatis is tasked with managing the administrative duties of the Roman diocese, including oversight of its clergy. In addition to his role as Vicar, Pope Francis also elevated him to the position of archbishop. His popularity within the Vatican circles makes him a strong candidate for the next pope.

Peter Turkson

Peter Turkson

From Ghana, Cardinal Turkson brings a forward-thinking approach to the table, potentially making history as the first black Pope. In the extensive history of the Catholic Church, there have only been three African popes. Choosing 74-year-old Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana would allow the church to acknowledge and celebrate the rapidly expanding presence and popularity of the Catholic faith in Africa.

Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga

Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga

From Honduras, Rodriguez is listed among the possible contenders but has lost some traction after some potentially damaging rumors about his handling of abuse allegations. Gamblers could see him as a strong backup choice, given the novelty of electing a Pope from a smaller nation. He has earned the trust of both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, evidenced by his appointment to the new Advisory Board of Cardinals.

Special Markets

Besides predicting the next Pope, online betting apps offer other areas—from the papal name the new Pope might choose, with options like Leo, Francis, and John being popular picks, to bets on the continent from which the next Pope will hail, these special markets add extra ways to bet on the proceedings.

What Could Be the Next Pope’s Chosen Name?

Gamblers not only wager on who will become the next pope but also on what name he will adopt upon assuming the papacy. With the potential for a new leader at the church’s helm, several names are leading the odds in the betting market.

Francis +300

A new pope might choose to honor the current Pope Francis by selecting the same name, making it a popular bet. Until the current pontiff, there had never been a Pope Francis, while there were 13 popes named Leo, who shared the same odds.

Pius and John +400

Pius and John are tied for the second most likely names for the next pope, with 12 previous popes named Pius and 21 named John.

Gregory and Benedict +700

The names Gregory and Benedict are also contenders for the next pope, albeit with slimmer odds. There have been 16 popes named Gregory, three of whom were canonized as saints, and 15 named Benedict.

Other potential names include:

  • Paul +800
  • Clement +800
  • John Paul +800
  • Stephen +900
  • Boniface +900
  • Innocent/Blessed Innocent +900

How It Works

The election process is an elaborate affair, beginning with a secret ballot among bishops under 80. A two-thirds majority is needed, and if not met, multiple rounds of voting ensue until a new Pontiff is chosen, marked by the famous white smoke signaling a decision.

Our Predictions

Given the betting odds and the trends observed, the race seems to be leaning towards a figure that represents a blend of tradition and modernity. Marc Ouellet and Luis Antonio Tagle are the strongest contenders, with their extensive experience and global perspectives making them standout choices for the next leader of the Catholic Church.

However, the Papal conclave is known for its unpredictability, and the emergence of a dark horse or underdog candidate cannot be ruled out—you never know what can happen in Vatican City!

Final Thoughts

Although no announcements have been made, and it’s all speculation and rumors at this point, the betting markets will continue to change with the rumors until any official statements are given. The next Pope will undoubtedly face a world very different from his predecessors, tasked with guiding the Catholic Church through modern challenges while staying true to its ancient traditions.

Betting on the next Pope is more than a gamble; it’s an interesting look at the intersection of faith, culture, and global politics. Whether you’re placing a wager or just following the speculation, it’s always an event that commands attention from all corners of the world. Until then, keep your eyes open for the “fumata bianca” billowing from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney.

Alyssa Waller Avatar
Alyssa Waller

Alyssa contributes sportsbook/online casino reviews, but she also stays on top of any industry news, precisely that of the sports betting market. She’s been an avid sports bettor for many years and has experienced success in growing her bankroll by striking when the iron was hot. In particular, she loves betting on football and basketball at the professional and college levels.