Via The Dish, Micah Cohen looks at the oddsmakers' favorites for Bishop of Rome:
I have to say, I expect the Italians will fall prey to the same problem that plagues teammates in baseball MVP voting, splitting the vote. That's why I favor Schonborn and Oullet. I think Turkson will fall prey to the racism of elderly whites, who are overly represented amongst the College of Cardinals. I would expect Scherer to be a dark horse, since he hails from a major emerging market, and isn't quite as dark-skinned as Turkson. I don't mean to take anything away from Turkson, I'm just extrapolating from my experience with elderly people.
The odds may well change — and there is certainly no guarantee that any of the oddsmakers’ favorites will actually become the next pope — but currently, four of the top six contenders are from Italy, including Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan, who leads the list with an average betting line implying a 23 percent chance of becoming pope. The high ranking of Italian cardinals should not be a surprise. While neither of the last two popes was Italian, before Poland’s John Paul II was elected in 1978 the last non-Italian pope was Adrian VI of the Netherlands, who was elected in 1552.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, at 22 percent, is right behind Cardinal Scola. Cardinal Turkson may have hurt hist chances, however, by giving a recent interview to The Daily Telegraph of London that was seen by some as presumptuous.
I also didn't realize this:
Betting on the papal succession goes back centuries. In 1591, Pope Gregory XIV forbade Catholics from betting on the election of a pope or the length of pope’s term in office. According to Dr. Edward N. Peters, canonist at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, however, Gregory’s edict was part of an older system of canon law that was abrogated in 1918 (which is not to say the Catholic Church would now recommend wagering on the next pope).Thank God that edict was rescinded.