Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child! Wanna bet on it?
It’s a point of pride among British and Irish bookmakers that they’ll open a market on pretty much anything – will it snow on Christmas Day? Which celebrity will be the subject of the first joke during next year’s Oscars? – and bookies have wasted no time in offering some novelty wagers on the birth of the future British monarch. Indeed, William Hill has already confirmed that it will be paying out a “small five-figure sum” to punters who backed a royal baby being born in 2013. As for Paddy Power (yes, that’s his real name), a spokesman for the Irish bookmaker of the same name, he can barely contain his delight. “It’s exciting, these are the things we all talk about and people like to speculate about it and have a bet,” Power tells TIME. But, he says, the company is keeping an eye on the size of the wagers. “If it’s a good, regular customer who bets quite big, there’s no problem at all. But if someone comes in with their first bet and happens to live somewhere around Buckingham Palace and is looking for 50 grand for it to be a boy we might be a bit worried about how much more than you they know.” (This is probably a good time to note that NewsFeed does not promote gambling and this should be seen purely as a bit of fun.)
The most popular bet will likely be on what name Kate and William choose for the future heir to the throne. The current favorites are John and Robert at odds of 10 to 1, followed by Anne, Francis, George and Charles at 12 to 1, with Louis, Robert and Mary following at 14 to 1. If those names appear familiar, there’s a good reason. The Press Association has put together an informative article outlining how “Royal youngsters are mostly given safe, historical names which are passed down through the monarchy,” and how “Royal children often boast an array of middle names – William’s own are Arthur Philip Louis – so the couple are likely to pick several – offering them the chance to include a nod to both sets of relatives.”
But could the couple buck the traditional trend if it’s a girl and name the baby in honor of William’s late mother, Diana? The name might not sit altogether comfortably with certain members of the royal family, but Paddy Power isn’t ruling it out. “William and Kate seem a little more modern than we’re used to, a little more down with the kids, so there’s a chance they might come up with a more modern name,” he tells TIME.
There are plenty of other bets as well. Odds of the baby being born with red hair are currently 8 to 1 (to get an idea of what this would look like, go no further than the baby’s uncle, Prince Harry), although brown and blond are currently joint favorites at 2 to 1. As for the amount of time Kate will be in labor for, a period of 9-12 hours is the 5 to 4 favorite, with 10 to 1 being offered if you think it will last for 24 hours or more. Gamblers can even bet on the baby’s birth weight: 7lbs, 15 oz is the market leader at 5 to 2; if you’re betting on a whopper, however, a 10-lb baby will get you odds of 8 to 1.
Then of course there’s the inevitable Godparent speculation. While betting on the Godmother is fairly slow — Pippa Middleton is the even-money favorite — you can get a massive 22 to 1 payout on a wild card candidate. Soccer star David Beckham — perhaps the only British man as globally famous as the Royals at this point — is in the running to be Godfather, and with his career with the L.A. Galaxy at an end, a bout of babysitting may well be his next goal.