Miss Australia Favorite at Miss Universe

Published August 23, 2009

Miss Australia Favorite at Miss Universe

Rachael Finch appears likely to follow in Jennifer Hawkins’ footsteps and be crowned Miss Universe.

If the betting odds are anything to go by, Australia's own Rachael Finch will follow in Jennifer Hawkins' footsteps and be crowned Miss Universe when the pageant is held Sunday night.

The 21-year-old Townsville-born model would become the third Aussie to win the contest, and put Australia in elite company with the United States, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Sweden as the only countries to have won Miss Universe at least three times.

Most bookmakers were offering odds of 16/1 for Finch to win the contest when betting opened, but she has since been backed in to 9/4 outright favoritism at Paddy Power, and an even shorter 6/4 at Bet365.

Finch's two most dangerous opponents are the Miss Czech Republic Iveta Lutovska and Miss Ireland Diana Donnelly, who are both hovering at around 10/1 at most bookmakers.

However, the unpredictability of the pageant format compared to most sports betting means the odds do vary greatly in some cases - for example, Ireland is still 14/1 at Bet365.

The 57th annual Miss Universe pageant takes place Sunday night local time at the Atlantis Casino's Imperial Ballroom on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

The show now includes two stages, the evening gown round and the swimsuit round, featuring the top ten finishers and followed by the judges' final decisions. A third stage, the talent competition, no longer exists.

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