A Las Vegas oddsmaker this week listed Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers as the favorite to win Saturday night's Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations for Wynn and Encore, chose Rogers as the 8-to-1 front runner. Gambling on Miss America is not permitted, even in Las Vegas, so his predictions were for entertainment purposes only.
Miss Arizona Piper Stoeckel, a University of Arizona student from Prescott, was listed at 75-1.
Avello has a strong track record. He picked last year's winner, Wisconsin's Laura Kaeppeler. And in 2011, he correctly predicted Miss California Alyssa Campanella would win Miss USA.
The oddsmaker said Miss America is more difficult to forecast. It focuses more on talent and interview, compared to Miss USA's emphasis on physical beauty.
"Miss America is tougher," Avello told the Las Vegas Sun. "I try to base everything on what I see each year. I don't look at what state you're from. It's all about who you are."
Rogers' leading competition will come from Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton at 10-1, Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden at 12-1, Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt at 13-1 and Miss Minnesota Siri Freeh at 15-1.
Stoeckel does not have the longest odds of winning. Miss South Dakota Calista Kirby, Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert and Miss Indiana MerriBeth Cox were at 85-1.
The last two Miss Arizona winners were University of Arizona graduates and made the top 10, Kathryn Bulkley in 2011 and Jennifer Sedler in 2012.
This year's pageant begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.
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