I read this online article by Joe Freda from SBRForum.com about Miss Universe betting. Read and share your thoughts.
Miss Universe Betting: Philippines Venus Raj Favored
Sunday, August 22, 2010 12:11 PM ET
By: Joe Freda | http://www.sbrforum.com
Miss Venezuela has walked away with the past two Miss Universe tiaras, but Venus Raj of the Phillipines is the betting favorite to halt that streak on Monday night.
Monday evening’s 59th edition of Miss Universe takes place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, with 83 ladies from around the globe vying for the pageant’s crown. Last year’s victor, Stefania Fernandez, made it two straight titles for Venezuela, but a highly-competitive field has oddsmakers not favoring a three-peat for the “Land of Grace.”
Two of Ireland’s sports books, Boylesports and Paddy Power, were among the first to open odds on Monday’s contest, with both making Miss Philippines, Venus Raj, the initial favorite. Boylesports presently lists the 22-year-old at 5/1, while Paddy Power is currently offering 6/1.
Raj, who graduated with “cum laude” honors from Bicol University, is a mix of Filipino and Indian decent. The fashion model was briefly removed as the Philippines’ pageant delegate when questions arose in March concerning her birth history, but she was reinstated, two weeks later.
BetUS has slightly disagreed with the Irish betting shops, posting Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, as a 7/1 favorite. Navarrete, who is studying nutrition while working as a model, would be the first Miss Universe winner from Mexico since 1991, when Lupita Jones was victorious.
Miss Colombia, Natalia Navarro, has been a top-five choice on several boards, with odds ranging from 9/1 to 13/1. Navarro, who is presently studying Finance at Florida International University, scored nearly perfect numbers in her nation’s swimsuit (9.9) and evening gown (9.8) competitions.
Pinnacle Sports is presently offering 1/5 odds on a “field” wager, which would cash if anyone other than Raj, Navarrete, or Navarro are victorious. Raj and Navarrete began as the Curacao shop’s top two choices, with Navarrete notably dropping from Tuesday’s initial odds of 23/2 to 9/1.
Las Vegas will be home turf for Miss USA, Rima Fakih, who won her present title, three months ago, in “Sin City.” The Lebanon native, representing Michigan, surprisingly edged out the more-favored Miss Oklahoma, Morgan Woolard, when both were among the contest’s top-five finalists.
Fakih is presently a 15/2 choice at BetUS to become the USA’s eighth Miss Universe winner, extending the nation’s record number of seven crowns. The USA has also had the most finalists with 27, followed closely by Venezuela, who has had 23.
Eight of the pageant’s nine telecast judges are USA natives, which could give an even further edge to Fakih. The sole exception is English-born actress Jane Seymour, who lives in California.
Seymour is joined by actors Chazz Palminteri and William Baldwin on the panel, with Baldwin’s wife, Chynna Phillips, also included. Phillips is one of three musicians present, with Sheila E. and Criss Angel rounding out that trio.
The three remaining scorers are figure skater Evan Lysacek, model Niki Taylor and news anchor Tamron Hall.
Monday’s event will be televised by NBC and Telemundo, who are scheduled to begin coverage at 9 p.m. (ET). Bret Michaels and Natalie Morales are slated to co-host the broadcast.