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How to Bet Who Will Be the Next Pope

by Scott Kacsmar
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How to Bet Who Will Be the Next Pope

Pope Francis has recently celebrated some milestones, including his 87th birthday and his 11th anniversary as pope, the head of the Catholic Church, after he succeeded Benedict XVI on March 13, 2011.

There are no indications that the pope is ready to step down or that his health is failing him. He recently stated that he believes this is a job “for life” and does not plan to resign any time soon.

However, when you get to be 87 years old, you know time is no longer on your side. While Pope John Paul II served his papacy for almost 27 years, from 1978 until his death in 2005, at the age of 84, that was an outlier in terms of how long a pope usually holds the position.

In fact, John Paul II is the only pope since the 1900s to serve over 20 years out of the 10 people who have held this position in that time.

It is always important to think about the future of the Catholic Church. Who might be the eventual successor to Pope Francis? Top-rated offshore sportsbooks have some betting markets on this that we wanted to look at today since there is no clear favorite as we near the Easter season of 2024.

Odds for the Next Pope

At BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review to learn more), there are 18 candidates with odds to become the next pope, and there are more names available upon request. We just wanted to look at the top 6 names that have odds of +900 or better to become the next pope.

Peter Turkson (+900)

Peter Turkson is the first cardinal from the African country Ghana as he was appointed by Pope John Paul II in October 2003. He was the first prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, which he served from 2017 to 2021.

Peter Turkson

More recently, Turkson has served as the chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences since 2002.

When the last search for the new pope occurred in 2013, Turkson was the betting favorite at several oddsmakers, including 2/1 odds from Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. However, the job went to Pope Francis instead.

Angelo Scola (+800)

Angela Scola is an Italian cardinal who has served as the Archbishop of Milan, his birthplace, from 2011 to 2017. He previously served as Patriarch of Venice from 2002 to 2011, and he has been a cardinal since 2003 when he was also appointed by Pope John Paul II.

Angelo Scola

Scola is already 82 years old. While that would make him qualified to run for President of the United States, no one has become a pope in their 80s since Pope Celestine III was 85 when he took the job in 1191.

That is not a typo. We are talking about over 830 years ago in the 12th century. So, age might work against Scola as they don’t want to go through this process too often. It is better to choose someone who can hold the role for many years to come.

Péter Erdő (+750)

Born in Budapest in 1952, Péter Erdő is a Hungarian cardinal who was also part of the 2003 cardinal class created by Pope John Paul II. He has served as the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary since 2003.

Péter Erdő

He was the youngest cardinal member until Reinhard Marx in 2010. He was also mentioned as a candidate to replace the pope in 2013, and he can participate in the next conclaves – where the cardinals gather at the Vatican to pick the next pope – until 2032 when he turns 80.

Erdő would be only the 2nd pope to come from Eastern Europe, following in the footsteps of John Paul II. But some feel his views may be a little too conservative for strong North American support.

Luis Antonio Tagle (+600)

Luis Antonio Tagle is a Filipino-born prelate who became a cardinal in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. He is 66 years old and currently serves as the Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization of Dicastery for Evangelization, a position he has held since June 2022. He has also been the President of the Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious since December 2019.

Luis Antonio Tagle

“Pope Tagle” would be a much easier handle than those roles. He also prefers his nickname “Chito” over his official titles. Tagle is viewed as a progressive and has been referred to as “Asian Francis”, as his progressive views often align with Pope Francis, who has taken bold stances for the Catholic Church on things like contraception, LGBTIQA+ people, and if Catholics who are divorced or remarried should receive Holy Communion.

Many believe it is too hard for someone from Asia to become a pope, but Tagle would be the favorite if an Asian were to become the next pope. The Philippines is the most Catholic country in Asia, and Tagle is very compassionate in his work with poor people.

Pietro Parolin (+500)

Italian Pietro Parolin is already a big deal at the Vatican as he has been the Secretary of State since October 2013, making him second in command behind the pope. He is 69 years old and was created a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014. When Francis made him the Secretary of State, Parolin was the youngest to hold that position since 1929.

Pietro Parolin

Parolin is already a powerful voice in the Vatican, and he is not afraid to speak his mind about topics such as Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Palestine. He has also created some enemies with his willingness to negotiate with communist countries such as China.

Parolin may lack the pastoral experience to become a pope. However, there is precedent in the last century of a Secretary of State becoming pope when Eugenio Pacelli did so in 1939.

Marc Ouellet (+500)

Born in Quebec in 1944, Marc Ouellet was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He has served as the prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (2010-2023).

Marc Ouellet

In 2022, Ouellet was accused of sexual assault by a woman from an incident that allegedly took place in 2008. The Vatican dropped the investigation into this allegation after the pope deemed there was not enough evidence to investigate. In December 2022, Ouellet, who denies any wrongdoing, filed a defamation lawsuit in Quebec to argue he was falsely accused of sexual assault.

Needless to say, the next pope needs a spotless record on this topic as it has become the elephant in the room for the Catholic Church in the past few decades.

Ouellet is also going on 80, and again, that might be too old for the next pope to start his tenure as Pope Francis is not ready to leave just yet.

Picking the Pope

Given these candidates, Pietro Parolin is our pick for the next pope. He’s already a known commodity at the Vatican, and while he may not have typical experience for this job, he has the support of Pope Francis, who he is loyal to.

  • Pick: Next Pope – Pietro Parolin (+500) at BetOnline

Continent of Next Pope

Finally, the other betting market at BetOnline for the next pope is which continent he will hail from. These are the choices:

  • Europe (-120)
  • North America (+450)
  • Africa (+450)
  • Asia (+450)
  • South America (+650)

This feels like good value as Europe, with Italy in particular, has had a monopoly on the popes throughout history. Pope Francis, who was born in Argentina, was actually a record-setting pope, as he is the first pope born outside of Europe since the 8th century, and the first to come from the Americas (South America).

With choices such as Scola, Erdő and Parolin having some of the best odds to be the next pope, Europe should be the right call here when the time comes.

  • Pick: Next Pope’s Continent – Europe (-120) at BetOnline

author avatar
Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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