This weekend one of Earth's most beautiful women will be crowned Miss Universe 2014. We've enlisted the help of Lee Phelps to look at the betting odds on offer to find the best betting angle for his free picks.
I seemed to have assumed the role of Chief Previewer of Beautiful Women Pageants! I'm actually getting really good at looking at pictures of them on the internet or prep as it is more commonly called.
This weekend it's the 2014 Miss Universe. Before we get to Miss Universe 2015 betting odds and my main selections here's the difference between World and Universe.
Miss World is more philanthropic, while Miss Universe unites countries from all over the world in order to promote peace. In terms of judging, Miss Universe is a lot clearer. The top 15 are usually easy to predict and the scores are televised with the selection criteria made extremely clear; swimsuit, then evening gown, followed by personality interview.
It's worth noting that Miss USA has won six of its eight Universe titles when the event has been staged in the States so at 8/1 the third favourite is certainly worth a look, given we're back in the States with Donald Trump and NBC behind the huge commercial success story that has more viewers than an NBA play-off game last season.
My free pick to take home the 2014 Miss Universe crown is Miss Philippines. It’s been 42 years since the nation won the crown, but they have recently made history with Top 5 finishes for four consecutive years starting in 2010 with Venus Raj; Shamcey Supsup, third-runner up, 2011; Janine Tugonon, first runner-up, 2012; and Ariella Arida, third runner-up, 2013.
Mary Jean Lastimosa has been in the US for a while with reports suggesting she has been asked to arrive in LA and Miami to promote the 63rd Miss Universe contest.
In 2010, ahead of the scheduled arrival date, Miss Universe 4th runner-up Ma.Venus Raj and four other candidates were handpicked by the MUO to promote the beauty pageant in Los Angeles.
Next in my argument is the fact that one of the Phillipines greatest (if not it's greatest) Manny Pacquiao is one of the judges.
Interestingly the Manila Bulletin reported that pageant trainer and television personality Fritz Ynfante successfully predicted that Ma. Venus Raj would land in the Top 5 of the Miss Universe contest.
Asked about same predictions for Lastimosa, Ynfante said: “Another Top 5 finish. She could also bring home the crown!’’
When betting on awards and reality TV a 'back story' to win over judges and/or a voting audience is key and whilst it can be viewed as cynical and somewhat heartless to use these things in betting strategies, the fact the contestant raises them herself makes me feel a little easier doing it.
Lastimosa said she is dedicating her pageant journey to her uncle, who stood as her father but passed away last month.
“I’ve been fighting for this dream for the longest time and it is more significant now that I have the responsibility to bring happiness to my family. We’ve been losing a lot of members of our family for this year alone (her grandmother and grandfather also passed away in 2014). So I felt that if I will succeed in this competition, I will solve the emptiness of their feeling and I can provide more for my family,’’ she added.
Free Miss Universe 2014 Pick: Miss Philippines 25/1