As soon as Pope Benedict XVI announced he was resigning at the end of February, British bookmakers were giving betting odds on his possible successor.
There are 118 eligible members of the College of Cardinals who can attend the Papal Conclave in March to choose the next Bishop of Rome from among their numbers.
And while some predictions have been accurate вЂ" Joseph Ratzinger was widely tipped by bookmakers in 2005 вЂ" no-one anticipated his predecessor Karol WojtylaвЂ™s surprise election in 1978.
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