Ethan's The Odds-On Favorite

Las Vegas oddsmakers are all over the board as they rank who they think will outlast the other contestants on "Survivor: Africa."

The third installment of the CBS reality show, which features 16 strangers competing against each other in Kenya's Shaba National Reserve, debuted Thursday.

Race and sports books managers at the Stardust, the Sahara and Bally's and Paris hotel-casinos have formulated odds on the survivability of each contestant after studying their biographies on CBS' Web site.

Stardust oddsmaker Joe Lupo has picked Ethan Zohn, a 27-year-old professional soccer player, as the favorite to win the $1 million top prize at 4-1 odds.

Lupo said he looks for someone athletic and easygoing to post as the front-runner.

"He's also a vegetarian and I thought this might help his endurance with food over there," he said.

The Sahara's Andy DeLuca also likes Zohn as the front-runner with opening odds of 6-1.

But down Las Vegas Boulevard at the Bally's-Paris Las Vegas Race and Sports Book, director John Avello has Zohn as a longshot at 30-1.

"Anyone can win these (shows)," Lupo said. "It's extremely hard to pick the odds and very subjective on my part. I make these odds as if I was going to hang them for real. I can see why there could be a wide deviation."

The odds are only hypothetical because state law prohibits wagers on events in which the outcome already is known. CBS, unlike the oddsmakers, knows how this contest ends.

Lupo's other favorites include bartender Silas Gaither, 23, at 5-1; high school basketball coach Clarence Black, 24, at 6-1; telephone technician Frank Garrison, 43, at 7-1; and marketing manager Lex van den Berghe, 38, at 8-1.

"The top four are all very athletic, which is really the reason why I picked them," Lupo said.

But the Stardust handicapper has little faith in the survival skills of U.S. postal carrier Diane Ogden, 42, and farmer Tom Buchanan, 46. Both are 50-1 longshots.

"When you look at the competitors, I can't see him winning," Lupo said of Buchanan. "His age played a factor. Most of the older people go (off the show). They have to be very likable."

But DeLuca likes Buchanan at 7-1. His longshot is Jessie Camacho, a 27-year-old deputy sheriff from Orlando, Fla., at 100-1.

Avello's favorite is Black at 6-1, and he's also the only one to post a woman as a front-runner. He gives 29-year-old Kim Powers, a free-lance marketer, the same odds as Black.

(© 2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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