Next Pope Odds (Catholic Props and Religion Bets)

Prop bets have become immensely popular with fringe gamblers and society as a whole. The reason the Super Bowl gets so much action isn’t because of the wagers on the game.

The Super Bowl is the biggest bet on sports events in the United States because of the spectacle. Casual observers and novice sports bettors flood the sportsbooks with wild bets over the halftime show or whether a streaker will take to the field and put on a show.

Catholic Props and Religion Bets

Gamblers love prop bets; that’s not reserved for American gamblers. Gamblers have shown time and again that given the opportunity, we’ll bet on nearly anything.

No topic is off-limits nor topic too taboo, yet. You can find prop bets when betting on Major League Baseball, and you can find prop bets when betting on NFL football, too.

That leads me to why we’re here today, the Pope.

Betting on the next Pope probably won’t appeal to all of you. Still, the subject of laying odds on the next Pope is one I find fascinating.

Let’s take a swim through the following Pope odds and see if we can find any value along the way.

Pope Francis I

Before we can begin to predict what choice the Roman Catholic Church will make for the next Pope, we must understand the current direction of the church. That starts at the head with Pope Francis I.

Being the Pope is no small job. You’re the head of a massive religious empire with over 1.3 billion devoted followers.

To put that in perspective, the Pope is responsible in many ways for roughly four times the number of people as the President of the United States. These parishioners are spread across the globe and come from every culture and socio-economic background you can imagine.

Pope Francis leans heavily towards Catholics taking a more active approach in sharing their faith with non-believers around the globe. Pope Francis also believes in a departure from worldliness and implores his followers to live a more modest life.

I suppose in doing so, they’ll be better positioned to helping the poverty-stricken, which is one of Pope Francis’ most passionate projects.

Pope Francis has also been vocal regarding social justice issues, and that’s a platform that the Catholic Church may wish to continue grinding.

So, by knowing a little bit more about the current Pope, we can look at the future of the Pope and Catholicism as a whole.

Betting on the Pope

Betting on the next Pope provides a few opportunities and a couple of challenges. I’ll begin by telling you that I am not Catholic. I do come from a large Italian family and have many aunts, uncles, and cousins in the Roman Catholic faith.

So, the notion of betting on the Pope posed a philosophical quandary within me. Is it blasphemy to be placing bets on the next head of such a vast religious empire?

I could see that becoming problematic for some, but ultimately I found no moral objections to placing such a wager. If you’re with me, we can move on to looking to see if a bet on the Pope has any potential. Suppose you can’t bring yourself to cross that line; via con Dios.

The next thing I looked at was the available wagers for the next Pope. You’ve got two choices for how to bet on the next Pope.

You can choose to place a wager on who you think the next Pope will be and what name the future Pope will choose.

Before we get into the name, the next Pope will be known as let’s look at the potential candidates and their odds.

The Most Likely Candidates

Here is the current table of potential selections for the next Pope and the odds they’re getting from the sportsbook:

The Next Pope Betting Odds

  • Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana
    • +300
  • Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines
    • +400
  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada
    • +600
  • Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Australia
    • +700
  • Archbishop Angelo Scola of Italy
    • +750
  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the United States (USA! USA!)
    • +1400
  • Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary
    • +1400
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols of England
    • +1400
  • Cardinal Robert Sarah of French Guinea
    • +1600
  • Cardinal Pietro Parolin of Italy
    • +1600
  • Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of Argentina
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of Italy
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Agostino Vallini of Italy
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Joao Braz De Aviz of Brazil
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras
    • +1700
  • Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanks
    • +2200
  • Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Italy
    • +2200
  • Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera of Spain
    • +2200
  • Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Bosnia
    • +2200

Of the 20 potential men that could be the next Pope, you’ll see they come from all regions of the world and have their unique views and politics accordingly.

They also range from the longshots at +2200 to the favorite at only +300. As you’d expect, the odds at the top are relatively tight.

That helps ensure that the betting public isn’t too swayed by the odds that everyone goes for the favorite. When shopping lines on the Pope, keep in mind that the sportsbooks aren’t looking at the competitors any different than when they lay preseason Super Bowl odds.

Papal Names and Where They Sit

If you looked at the long list of names above and felt completely clueless, you’re not alone. Many of these men choose to live in humble obscurity and do their work for the poor and needy, not fame and fortune.

That may make betting on the name of the next Pope will go by more challenging. You see, the Pope gets to select their papal name.

The choosing of a papal name following their ascension to the papacy began in the late 1500s and came about rather organically. Popes began to be predominantly from other regions and changed their names to better align with the church’s image.

Typically, the Pope will select a name of a previous Pope they wish to emulate during their papacy. Pope Francis chose the rare route of choosing a name for the first time after Saint Francis.

This shift signified that the new Pope would follow the life of Saint Francis, but it also meant a bit of a new era for the Roman Catholic Church.

Here are the odd on the papal name of the next Pope:

Papal Name of Next Pope Betting Odds

  • Leo
    • +330
  • Francis
    • +330
  • John
    • +400
  • Pius
    • +400
  • Benedict
    • +750
  • Gregory
    • +750
  • Paul
    • +900
  • John Paul
    • +1000
  • Clement
    • +1000
  • Boniface
    • +1400
  • Innocent
    • +1400
  • Stephen
    • +1400
  • Alexander
    • +1700
  • Josephus
    • +1700
  • Urban
    • +2200
  • Celestine
    • +2200

You don’t need to be Roman Catholic to recognize many of the names on the list. As usual, the popular picks offer the best odds, but a few long shots may present a better value.

One thing you can almost be certain of is that the next Pope won’t be a first. Leo and Francis have the lead, and while the smart money may be on Francis, Leo is a much better name.

I’m not going to give you my picks yet; you’ll have to wait till the end as I wade through the pros and cons of making a choice sooner than later.

Betting Now May Offer the Best Odds

They say patience is a virtue, but I prefer “He who hesitates is lost.”

You’re not going to get better odds on your selection by waiting until the pool has been whittled down to a mere handful of probable Popes.

Savvy sports bettors know that you’ll find the best odds on games early in the week. As the public, sharp bettors, and the bookies influence the lines; your value can quickly go bye-bye.

So, start doing your homework now and get your bet in as early as possible. You’ll only cost yourself money by waiting until the coronation.

What We Can Learn From History

Pope’s aren’t necessarily unpredictable by nature. You can gain a lot of insight by looking over the past papal selections and the church’s direction.

From there, you can look at why the top candidate may choose one name over another. All of this should be accounted for when looking at the new Pope.

The nationality, their age, and whether they are conservative or liberal will all impact the papal name chosen by the next Pope.

My Money Is On…

Okay, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my pick for the next Pope is Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana. I don’t see the Vatican getting too much younger at that position, and Turkson still has plenty of life in him.

Please, understand that this is merely my personal pick. Attribute it to satire if you’d like, but I’m not in the business of making picks in this context.

Now that you have who I believe will be the next Pope let’s look at what name Cardinal Turkson will select. May I resent to you, Pope Alexander IX.

This was a tough decision for me. I like several names on the list more, but the +1700 got me.

Who do you think has a shot of ascension to the ranks of Pope? What Name will they pick?


Betting on the next Pope seems like a foreign concept to many sports bettors I call friends. However, we didn’t let that stop us from creating our own pool.

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that gambling is built for entertainment. Forming a betting pool among us seemed like the funniest thing to do with the odds offered by the sportsbooks.

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