What are former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty's odds of being chosen as Mitt Romney's running mate?

The philosophical answer: Pawlenty is sure to be on Romney's short list of vice presidential candidates and is one of the safest picks the former Massachusetts governor can make. The technical answer: 12-to-1 odds, according to sportsbook.com.

To put it another way, only three other potential candidates have better odds of being Romney's running mate on the sports betting website: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (the favorite at 2-to-1); Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (5-to-2); and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (5-to-1).

What does Tim Pawlenty have going for him?

Pawlenty cut government spending in Minnesota and opposes ObamaCare -- two issues central to conservative voters. His home state voted for Democrats in the last three presidential elections, so putting Pawlenty on the ticket may swing the state into Republican territory, or at minimum make it competitive.

During an appearance with Romney last week at the Livonia Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Michigan, Pawlenty spoke in support of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and slammed President Barack Obama for going back on his promise to cut the budget in half and tripling it instead.

Romney was spectacularly successful as a governor of Massachusetts, Pawlenty told the crowd, according to hometownlife.com. If you look at his record in Massachusetts, he cut spending and cut the state workforce. He was spectacularly successful in turning around the Olympics.

But Pawlenty also has a reputation as not being a flashy personality and Romney has a reputation for lacking charisma, so Pawlenty may not be able to offset that particular weakness of Romney's.

Even if Pawlenty is not selected, the other top-tiered vice presidential contenders have their drawbacks in terms of odds as well.

Should Romney want to go the exciting route, he'll chose Christie, the popular New Jersey governor who some wanted desperately to enter the Republican presidential field. But Romney might be concerned about Christie upstaging him on the campaign trail.

Rubio, one of the more popular vice presidential contenders, could swing Florida into the Romney column in November. But the Florida senator has come under fire for allegedly embellishing facts about his family's immigrant story, as reported by the Washington Post.

And while Portman is popular among conservatives, he doesn't have wide name recognition throughout the country.