Recent History Says Bet on WrestleMania 35 Sooner than Later for Best Value
Courtesy of WWE.com. Pictured: Becky Lynch
- James Carlucci uses betting lines from the past five WrestleManias to identify ways to find value on WrestleMania 35 betting odds.
- Recent history shows that the books can be beat, but it's usually better to bet early than late.
- WrestleMania 35 airs this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The growing market for betting on professional wrestling has been a notable development in the rise of overall sports betting.
Just as the Super Bowl is the biggest betting day of the football season, WrestleMania is the most popular betting day in professional wrestling.
But wait … professional wrestling? A sport? Isn’t it all fake?
Well, not only can you bet on this “fake” sport, but it’s not as easy to predict as one might think. So in preparation for WrestleMania 35, let’s take a look at how the betting lines for WrestleMania have performed in recent years.
Sportsbooks’ WrestleMania Records
While the success of bookmakers has varied drastically from year to year, the recent track record shows that books can be beat at the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Below are the books’ records on lines that I could find from the past five WrestleManias. It’s worth noting that wrestling events are subject to drastic line movements, particularly as the event gets closer. So I’ve done my best to evaluate odds in the lead up to a WrestleMania — from as many as five days out to the morning of the event — as well as closing lines.
Note: All sources can be found at the bottom of this article.
WrestleMania 34: April 8, 2018
- Odds from the morning of: 3-7
- Closing lines: 7-6
WrestleMania 33: April 2, 2017
- Odds on April 1: 10-3
WrestleMania 32: April 3, 2016
- Odds on March 30: 4-4
- Closing lines: 9-2
WrestleMania 31: March 29, 2015
- Odds on March 24: 5-3
- Closing lines: 6-2
WrestleMania 30: April 6, 2014
- Odds on April 1: 5-3
- Odds from the morning of: 3-3
Based on the lines I researched, bookmakers are 22-20 (52%) correct on lines earlier in a WrestleMania week and improve to 25-13 (66%) with late/closing odds.
Biggest WrestleMania Favorites That Won
The biggest misconception about betting on wrestling is that it is incredibly easy to predict. Still, each year has had at least one prohibitive favorite that proved this notion correct.
Let’s run through the biggest favorites to win at each of the past five WrestleManias. Once again, I’m differentiating between odds available earlier in the week vs. closing lines.
- Odds from the morning of: Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey (-850)
- Odds from the day before: Brock Lesnar (-3000)
- Odds from five days out: Roman Reigns (-700)
- Closing lines: The Usos (-1200)
- Odds from five days out: John Cena (-450)
- Closing lines: John Cena (-11000)/The Undertaker (-11000)
- Odds from five days out: Daniel Bryan versus Triple H (-2000)
- Odds from the morning of: Daniel Bryan versus Triple H (-1600)
If you’re going to pay the juice on a big favorite, it’s better to do so a few days out from WrestleMania. The sharp odds tend to get sharper as the event approaches.
For example, a bet on John Cena a few days before WrestleMania 31 had more than 24 times the value of the closing line.
Biggest WrestleMania Upsets
Every recent WrestleMania has featured at least one longshot who successfully cashed for their backers. As it is with most sports, successfully cashing on long odds is the most exciting prospect of betting on pro wrestling.
Let’s take a look at the biggest underdogs to win at each of the past five WrestleManias (excluding battle royals).
- Odds from the morning of: Jinder Mahal (+950)
- Odds from the day before: Dean Ambrose (+700)
- Odds from five days out: Zack Ryder (+3300)
- Closing lines: Chris Jericho (+120)
- Odds from five days out: Triple H (+400)
- Closing lines: Seth Rollins (+1100)
- Odds from five days out: Brock Lesnar (+900)
- Odds from the morning of: Brock Lesnar (+1200)
There’s not much science to timing a bet on an underdog at WrestleMania.
Longshots like Zack Ryder at WrestleMania 32 went from massive underdogs (+3300) to favorites (-275) in a matter of days, but Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31 (-140 to +1100) and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 (+900 to +1200) both gained tremendous value as the event approached.
WrestleMania Battle Royal Results
The WWE introduced the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (ARMBAR) at WrestleMania 30. While wrestling matches typically feature between two and four competitors, the ARMBAR usually has 30-plus participants.
The WWE also created the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal in 2017 for WrestleMania 34. Like its male counterpart, the women’s battle royal featured more competitors (20) than a typical match.
The large volume of competitors (included unannounced participants) in these battle royals presents much more opportunity for surprise — and thus betting value — than traditional matches.
Here are the winners from the past five years.
- ARMBAR: Matt Hardy (4/8 AM: +1200)
- Women’s: Naomi (4/8 AM: +1200)
- ARMBAR: Mojo Rawley (4/1 PM: +3000)
- ARMBAR: Baron Corbin (N/A)
- ARMBAR: Big Show (3/24 PM: +1200; CLOSING: +550)
- ARMBAR: Cesaro (4/1 PM: +750 as the field)
No WrestleMania battle royal over the past five years has been won by an early favorite. Great odds were available on eventual winners Matt Hardy, Naomi, Mojo Rawlery and Big Show just a few days out from the event.
The lines on the eventual winners tend to shorten as the event approaches, as only Matt Hardy entered ARMBAR at WrestleMania 34 as a favorite.
Interestingly, the winners of the inaugural ARMBAR (Cesaro) and the WrestleMania 32 ARMBAR (Baron Corbin) weren’t even available for betting.
So what does this mean for this year’s event?
Recent history shows that the books can be beat, but it’s usually better to bet early than late — and don’t bet the favorite in a battle royal.
Sources: CBS Sports, Bet Wrestling, 411mania, Case Side Seats, Fan Sided and Wrestling Inc.