On December 16th, the 67th annual Miss Universe pageant will be live from Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok, Thailand. The global event will begin at 7 PM ET and televised on FOX in the United States. Steve Harvey is back as the host along with Ashley Graham and expert analysts Carson Kressley and Lu Sierra.
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This is the third time that Bangkok has hosted the Miss Universe Pageant. In 1965 and 1988, this year’s host country of Thailand won the coveted crown. They’re looking to capture the Miss Universe crown for a third time, but are facing some serious competition.
This 2018 list of entries has set an all-time record as contestants from 94 different countries are expected to participate in the pageant. As you can imagine, with this many contestants, the betting field is rather large. Without further delay, let’s examine the Miss Universe betting odds, prop bets and make some predictions.
The first two Miss Universe pageants (1952-53) crowned 17-year-old winners. Since then, all of the winners have been 18 or older. The oldest contestant to win was 26 years old and that was done twice: in 1997 as Brook Lee from the USA won and in 2015 when Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines won.
In the 66 previous competition, we have the following breakdown of ages for winning contestants:
It should be noted that in 2002, the first ever Russian winner was eventually dethroned. She was 24 years old and the runner-up who was 23 years old took over as Miss Universe.
As you can see, the number of contestants 23 and under to win the pageant is far more numerous than 24 and older at almost a 6-to-1 ratio (57 to 9). It wasn’t until 1961 (the 10th pageant) that someone over 23 years old won the Miss Universe crown.
For this bet, I’m really shocked that the Under of 23.5 doesn’t have larger odds considering how many contestants 23 years old and under have won this pageant. If you add up all of the ages for the winners and divide by the total number of pageants, you get an average age of roughly 21.4 years old.
However, since 2010, there have been 4 winners that were 24 years old and over.
Looking over the participants in this year’s contest, we have the following age breakdowns:
This year, we have 39 of the 94 contestants age 24 and over. That leaves us with 55 contestants age 23 and younger. 43 of the contests are right in the 22 to 24 age group, which is a good reason why oddsmakers have the O/U at 23.5 years old. The average age for this year’s contestants is 22.8 years old.
With all of the data pointing to the Under, I’m actually taking the Over for this bet and here’s why:
With the average age of this year’s contestants just under 23 yrs old (22.8) and 6 of the top 7 favorites being 24 and older, I’m taking the Over 23.5 wager at -120 for this bet.
How many times can you remember a Miss Universe contestant fall during the competition? I certainly don’t remember many. In researching this prop bet, I’ve had a hard time finding more than a few occurrences outside of 2007 and 2008, where Miss America fell during this contest.
With that said, it’s pretty easy to figure out which betting option to choose here – “No” at -900 odds. However, I wouldn’t touch this wager as the odds provide no betting value.
This prop bet is actually amusing. Anyone who follows this global event will remember how Steve Harvey mistakenly said the wrong name when announcing the winner for the 2015 Miss Universe contest. Harvey said that Miss Colombia (Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo) had won the contest, but he quickly corrected himself as it was Miss Philippines (Pia Alonzo Wurzbach) who actually won.
Harvey became the butt of many jokes for the next few years. He even had a great laugh at his own expense. Steve, one of America’s favorite TV hosts, hasn’t shied away from his error and keeps a good sense of humor about it.
At the time, Harvey was very apologetic and humble in handling the situation.
This prop bet is a pretty easy one to choose. Harvey hosted last year’s Miss Universe contest and had no issues with announcing the correct winner. I don’t see any problems with Harvey announcing the proper winner at this year’s contest. With that said, take the “No” for this Miss Universe prop bet.
However, with such high odds (-10000), I wouldn’t touch this one. It’s not even worth a flyer on the “yes” option at +4000.
The tallest winner ever was Miss Dominican Republic Amelia Vega, who was 6’2” and won the pageant in 2003. The shortest winning height was 5’4” and it was done twice: Miss Columbia in 1958 and Miss Thailand in 1965.
In the 66 previous competitions, the winner was Under 5’9” on 45 occasions including the last 3 contests. The winner was over 5’9” in 15 of the 66 total contests, with the last occurrence happening in 2013. On 7 occasions, the winner was exactly 5’9”, with the last occurrence being in 2014.
Since 2000, 8 of the 17 winners have been taller than 5’9”, 5 of 17 were shorter, and the remaining 4 were exactly 5’9” or 175 cm. The last three years have all been Under 5’9” or 175 cm.
Of the top 5 favorites, according to BetOnline’s odds, 3 of the contestants are under 5’9” and only 2 of them are above the 5’9” Over/Under. Of the other 3 that I have chosen as the best betting value down below, 2 of them are Over 5’9” and only 1 of them is below.
Despite the overall trend being winners Under 5’9”, I’m going with the Over on this bet. 3 of the contestants that I think have a real shot at winning are all Over 5’9”.
The winner will be from the following regions:
Since 2000, the offered regions for Bovada’s prop bet have had the following number of winners:
Of the top 5 odds on favorites listed below: 3 are from Asia Pacific/Africa, 1 is from Americas/Caribbean, and 1 is from Europe. Of my three favorites, 1 is from Europe and the other 2 are from Asia Pacific/Africa.
I like the odds on all three options, but I think the smart play is on Asia Pacific/Africa (+160).
However, Europe (+180) does offer some betting value and is worth a bet if you feel confident in any of the participants from that region like Miss Spain. For me, I’m taking Asia Pacific/Africa in this prop bet.
With 94 contestants receiving betting odds, I’m not going to list them all. Instead, here are the top 25 odds on favorites to win the 2018 Miss Universe contest:
According to BetOnline, the following women are odds on favorites to win this year’s Miss Universe pageant:
Catriona Gray, age 24, is considered by many to be the favorite to win Miss Universe this weekend. If she does get the crown, it will mark the 4th time the Philippines have won this pageant. The three previous occasions were 1969, 1973 and 2015, which was the Steve Harvey blunder.
Gray was the 2016 Miss Philippines and finished in the Top 5 at Miss World that year. In March, she won the Miss Philippines entrance into the 2018 Miss Universe contest. She’s the only Filipina to have ever participated in both Miss World and Miss Universe. She’s one of the taller contestants at 5’11”.
Former 2016 Miss Universe Canada, Siera Bearchell, has declared that Gray will win. In her video on YouTube, Bearchell made the following comments about Gray winning:
“I still think she’s the one to beat in terms of overall strength; her walk, her look, her profile, the fact that she placed top five at Miss World. I think she just has a really strong profile for Miss Universe.”
For many internet betting sites that have odds on this contest, Gray is the odds on favorite to win. However, she is tied with four other contestants according to BetOnline.
Bovada has Gray the co-favorite with Miss Puerto Rico at +500 odds. There is one shocking development and that’s with MyBookie, the online sportsbook that has the Miss Universe prop bets listed above. The popular betting site has Gray listed +6000 odds.
Kiara Ortega, age 25, was crowned the Miss Universe Puerto Rico winner in September, which kicked off her pageantry career. Unfortunately for fans and supporters of the 5’7” Ortega, she fell during Monday’s costume presentation.
It must be noted that this presentation is where the participants wear elaborate costumes that represent elements of their country and culture.
For Ortega, her costume was rather cumbersome as it had six hands, LED sphere and lights. The costume was supposed to represent the people of Puerto Rico and their strength after dealing with hurricane Maria. As Kiara was exiting the stage so that Miss Russia could walk out, Ortega lost balance and fell to her knees. She needed assistance getting back up and off the stage.
Denise Quinones, director of Miss Universe Puerto Rico, publicly stated that Monday’s slip and fall doesn’t hurt Ortega at all. Kiara handled it well, but one would have to think that this could be somewhat of a distraction when the contest begins.
Puerto Rico is third all-time with 5 wins. The country last won in 2006 and 2001. They’re two behind Venezuela and two ahead of the Philippines and Sweden.
Tamaryn Green, age 24, not only will represent South Africa in the Miss Universe competition, but she also won the Miss South Africa contest this year. Green, at 5’10” tall, has the very difficult task of trying to win the Miss Universe crown for South Africa in back-to-back years.
Last year, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters won it for South Africa. In total, South Africa has two crowns as they also won in 1978.
Green is a medical student on her way to becoming a doctor. She’s a tuberculosis survivor and has won seven other pageants prior to this honor. Her other notable wins included Miss New Orleans and Miss Rochester.
Bovada has Green as one of the top 10 odds on favorites to win with a betting line of +1200. Once again, Mybookie stuns us with Green listed at +2500. William Hill has Green a 6-to-1 favorite to win the pageant.
Sophida Kanchanarin, age 23, is a little over 5’6” and won the Miss Universe Thailand honors back in June. She was an investment bank manager prior to entering the world of pageantry. It was a pleasant surprise when Sophida won her first ever entrance into a pageant.
Kanchanarin will also have the extra pressure of being the host delegate for this year’s contest. So far, she’s handled it all with grace. Sophida’s costume for the same presentation that Ortega slipped in, was called “Change the Icon of Siam,” and in transformed into an elephant. It was a wonderful blend of elegance and technology.
Listed as one of the favorites with BetOnline, Sophida is also a +800 favorite with Bovada, but has +2000 odds at MyBookie.
Sarah Rose Summers, age 24, is a veteran of the pageantry industry. Summers has been participating in pageants since she was 10 years old. At 5-foot, 6 ½ inches, Summers has also won Miss Nebraska Teen USA in 2012, Miss Nebraska USA in 2018, and Miss USA 2018.
She also has a runner-up finish in the 2016 Miss Nebraska USA contest. Summers wore a red dress with a giant rose on her head at the Miss Universe costume presentation.
Summers is a certified child life specialist and works as an advocate for children in hospitals. Her heart for children shined through in the Miss USA pageant and ultimately led to her victory.
Summers is a betting favorite at BetOnline and Boavada (+800). However, once again, MyBookie shows a lack of grip on reality as they have Sarah listed at +2000 odds.
The United States has the most Miss Universe wins with 8. If Summers can capture the crown this year then the USA would go up by 2 wins on second place Venezuela. The USA last won in 2012. It was the country’s only win post-2000.
Based on betting lines, rumors and reports, the following contestants offer the best value for this weekend’s Miss Universe contest:
Angela Ponce, age 27, won Miss Spain in June of this year. She’s quite possibly the tallest contestant standing at 6-feet tall. Ponce also competed in the Miss Spain contest back in 2015, but didn’t place. However, that same year, she won Miss World Cadiz.
Ponce became the betting favorite as recent as last week with most sportsbooks and online sites. Ponce is a transgender woman and is hoping to win Miss Universe to further her global campaign for transgender women throughout the world.
William Hill stated that there was a huge rush of bets on Ponce over the last week, which cut her betting odds down dramatically from 66-to1 to 16-to-1 and the expectation of it falling further. Bovada has Ponce at +1600 odds, while MyBookie has Ponce the odds on favorite to win at +600 odds.
Sthefany Gutierrez, age 19, is one of the youngest entrants into this year’s contest. However, the 2017 Miss Venezuela winner has a presence about her that goes well beyond her 5’11” stature. Not only is Sthefany a favorite in this competition, but she’s also a social media darling with millions of followers from around the world.
Although Gutierrez has a slight shoe mishap during the costume presentation, she didn’t fall and was able to overcome and imbalance. Sthefany wore a costume titled “Orquídeas de Colombia,” which was a giant butterfly that represented the flora and beauty of the country. Gutierrez seemed to stand out from the rest of the contestants.
Sthefany Gutierrez has the same +1000 betting odds for both BetOnline and Bovada. However, she’s listed at +3500 on MyBookie.
Currently, Venezuela is second with the most wins all-time at 7. They’re one behind the United States with 8 wins. Venezuela last won in 2013. However, they did take back-to-back competitions in 2008 and 2009.
Mayra Dias, age 27, is one of the older contestants and does have several pageantry wins on her resume. The 5’9” model, from Amazonas, has been crowned Miss Mundo Amazonas 2015, Miss Mundo Brazil 2015, and Miss Brazil 2018.
Dias wore a costume called “Goddess of the Sun,” which was adorned in yellow feathers and represented all indigenous ethnicities of Brazil. It also transformed into a hummingbird. It was actually an incredible piece designed by Fabiana Milazzo and definitely captured my attention.
In a presentation where 94 contestants showed off elaborate, extravagant and enormous costumes, Dias’ piece hit home with followers around the world. Milazzo explained the costume’s inspiration in more detail:
“The costume is the representation of an Indian woman who carries paintings and plumes of all Brazilian ethnicities in her dress. The entity gathers all the representations of our ancestors and their legacies so that their remnants have strength and wisdom.”
In regards to choosing the hummingbird, Milazzo commented further:
“The hummingbird is a bird that exists all over Brazil, thus being an ideal figure for this moment of transformation. With the mechanism activated, the wings appear, opening and then beating. The intention is to make the spectators watch an Indian become the bird.”
Dias’ odds fluctuate from BetOnline’s +1200. At Bovada, Dias is a +1500. However, she’s one of the favorites at MyBookie with a line of +850.
My top 3 picks are: Miss Philippines, Miss South Africa, and Miss Spain. I believe all 3 have a lot of buzz around them heading into this competition.
Miss South Africa probably has the toughest task to win this year, since her country won last year. Although Green is a fantastic candidate, I believe she will fall short.
Miss Spain Angela Ponce has garnered most of the attention due to being a transgender and she definitely has a real chance at winning. However, I’m going with Miss Philippines Catriona Gray to win it all.
There seems to be a growing buzz surrounding Gray from many former contestants and so-called pundits that believe she will win. She’s certainly worthy of the win as are all of the contestants. Her experience on the big stage will help her edge out Spain, South Africa, Brazil and Venezuela.
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