WWE Royal Rumble Betting Preview: Banks, Balor and Burn It Down

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World Wrestling Entertainment.

WWE Royal Rumble Odds

  • Where: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Venue: Chase Field
  • When: 7PM EST
  • TV: WWE Network

Thousands of people will pack Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ this weekend for the WWE Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rumble represents the biggest precursor to WrestleMania and has been a staple on the WWE schedule since 1988 when “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan became the first winner. In 1993 the WWE announced a rule change that gave the winner of the Rumble a title shot at WrestleMania.

Let’s take a look at the card for this Sunday’s show and see if we can’t pick a few winners and make some money.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka (c) v Becky Lynch

  • Asuka (champion) odds: -185
  • Becky Lynch odds: +145

Handicapping WWE events can be tricky, as the company’s creative department may wake up on Sunday morning and completely rewrite the script.

More importantly, Vince McMahon may change his mind in the gorilla position just before the wrestlers scamper through the curtain. One constant is known, Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch is penciled in as the closing match at Wrestlemania.

Another variable in the mix is the move of the Smackdown brand to Fox this October. The biggest draw in WWE is Ronda Rousey, who currently resides on the RAW brand. It only makes sense that Rousey is competing against Lynch for the Women’s title on the blue brand.

Pick:Becky Lynch +145, take until -120

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) v Finn Balor

  • Brock Lesnar (champion) odds: -280
  • Finn Balor odds: +200

Just weeks before the Rumble, Vince McMahon removed Braun Strowman from this match and inserted Finn Balor.

The switch came after reports that McMahon used Strowman to sell tickets and WWE creative seems to be behind Balor lately and he is certainly a live underdog in this spot. Perhaps an assist by Strowman could be in play in this decision.

Would the WWE take the title off the Beast before Wrestlemania? That all depends on if the Undertaker or the Rock are penciled in as Lesnar’s opponent.

The Undertaker will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and a retirement match against Lesnar makes perfect sense. There are also reports the WWE rearranged its Hall of Fame schedule to accommodate the Rock’s busy schedule.

Lesnar was a stop-gap champion inserted when Roman Reigns was diagnosed with leukemia. There are plenty of plans for Lesnar at Wrestlemania, and facing Seth Rollins or Drew McIntyre might not be the biggest draw for the brand.

Lastly, keep an eye out for the Demon Finn Balor. That version of Balor is undefeated, and if news breaks of the character showing up in this match expect the line to move quick.

Pick:  Finn Balor +200, take until -120

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) v AJ Styles

  • Daniel Bryan (champion) odds: -290
  • AJ Styles odds: +210

Who doesn’t love the heel turn of the “New Daniel Bryan”. He fights for the planet instead of the WWE Universe, and the character has unlimited potential.

After a lengthy title reign, Styles has had plenty of time as the top dog. There is no clear path for these two wrestlers after the Rumble, but Wrestlemania is a show that continually scripts heel champions to lose their titles. Expect Bryan to continue down this path as heel while carrying the title.

Pick: Daniel Bryan -290, look for -150

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey (c) v Sasha Banks

  • Ronda Rousey (champion) odds: -1600
  • Sasha Banks odds: +700

The biggest underdog on the card is Sasha Banks at +700. Not only is the “Boss” facing a champion that has never lost, Ronda Rousey is currently the darling of the WWE.

Still, underdogs do occasionally cash at big numbers at WWE Pay-Per-Views. There could be interference or a count-out to get Banks to the window, you never really know. There is only one constant about this match… Becky Lynch and/or Charlotte Flair are coming to the aide of their Four Horsewomen sister Sasha Banks after what Rousey pulled at TLC last month.

I’d love to go full on-board with a Sasha Banks victory in this spot, but the writing is on the wall for Ronda Rousey to hold the title after the Royal Rumble.

Word on the street is WWE Creative tossing around Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair having a title unification match headlining Wrestlemania. Rousey’s odds of -1600 are just too pricey at the Rumble.

Pick: Pass

Women’s Royal Rumble

I honestly believe most of these ladies do not like each other. They are professional entertainers and athletes, but the last time a donnybrook broke out with a group of 20-plus superstars, one of the biggest stars left with a bloody fractured face.

The winner of this match gets their pick of which Women’s title to challenge at Wrestlemania so stakes are high.

The most important thing to remember for this match is that you should only pick wrestlers that can headline a WrestleMania.

NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler has taken heavy steam to +1800 because of her connection to Rousey through the MMA world. It’s wishful thinking that Baszler, Mandy Rose +2500 or Ember Moon +1600 have a shot at a title match this early in their career.

Alexa Bliss was bet down to +1000 after Monday’s announcement on RAW, but has zero storyline heading to Sunday.

The winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble will be one of three wreslters: Charlotte Flair -160, Becky Lynch +140 or Ronda Rousey +2500.

We don’t know the current sequence of matches, but making a simple business process-flow should help us get a last minute winning bet in:

  • The Royal Rumble comes before Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey respective title matches, Charlotte will win the Rumble.
  • Ronda Rousey retains and Becky Lynch loses the Smackdown title before the Royal Rumble, Becky Lynch should eliminate Charlotte to win the Rumble.
  • Becky Lynch wins the Smackdown title and Ronda Rousey loses the RAW title before the Royal Rumble, expect Rousey to win the Rumble.

For me, I am taking Charlotte to replicate her fathers’ 1992 performance. They may even have her enter the match No. 3 similar to Ric Flair. You better believe that if Becky Lynch loses to Asuka, ill be looking for live lines on “The Man”.

Pick: Charlotte -160, no higher than -200
Situational Pick:
Asuka wins Smackdown Title, bet Becky Lynch +140
Situational Pick:
Sasha Banks wins Raw Title, bet Ronda Rousey +2500

Men’s Royal Rumble

Dig deep enough with offshore sports books and you can find plenty of props surrounding the Men’s Royal Rumble. Not only can you bet on the winner, the wrestler with the longest time in the ring and most eliminations, but you can also bet a wrestler to be among the final four.

Let’s use a process of elimination to whittle down our list. John Cena +500 recently came down with an ankle injury and with his latest movie beginning production you can eradicate Cena from all betting props.

Plenty of people have mentioned Kenny Omega +2000, but a quick check on his status with New Japan Pro Wrestling won’t allow his appearance. Considering his transition to All Elite, it’s unlikely he would burn a bridge with multiple companies. Also eliminate Kevin Owens +2500, his knee will keep him sidelined.

Royal Rumble Longest Time

There is a mold for the wrestler with the longest time in the match. Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit each broke records going over an hour in previous Royal Rumble’s.

History states we look for an up and coming wrestler with great conditioning. My money is on Mustafa Ali, currently at +400 odds and dropping. Ali is getting a large push on Smackdown, including a pinfall victory over champion Daniel Bryan.

Royal Rumble Most Eliminations

Most eliminations also follows a mold under a different set of rules. The wrestler that generates to most over-the-top-rope action is an up and coming ‘beast’ that will be a fixture on the title scene for years to come.

Hulk Hogan set the initial record at eight in 1989. Stone Cold Steve Austin broke that record with 10 eliminations in 1997. Roman Reigns’ bested that mark at the 2014 Royal Rumble with the current all-time record of 12 eliminations. The wrestler who fits the mold this year is Drew McIntyre, who Vince McMahon envisions as a future world champ.

Royal Rumble Final Four

Making the final four is significant, as this is usually the moment in the Rumble where each wrestler is in a respective corner with a stare down that impels the final stage of the match.

Toss Seth Rollins -1000 and Drew McIntyre -250 off this list for value purposes. R-Truth has +150 betting odds for entering the Rumble last at No. 30, but its tough to see him in the final four.

Dean Ambrose may have +300 odds, but his character has fallen off a cliff since being booed as “boring” during the TLC main event. The two value plays are Braun Strowman -125 and Randy Orton +700.

Strowman doesn’t have much value, but Orton had the final say as Smackdown ended this Tuesday. The Viper has won two previous Royal Rumbles, and would give the announcers plenty to talk about as the all-time record is three victories held by Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Royal Rumble Winner

As for the winner, I have put down plenty on Seth Rollins. Once Roman Reigns was diagnosed with leukemia the entire WWE script was rewritten.

Rollins dropped the Intercontinental Title and has been nothing but fire in recent bookings. “The Architect” ended RAW cutting a great promo before a clean pin of Drew McIntyre. Expect Rollins to not only win the Rumble, but take home the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania.

My Royal Rumble Card

Longest Time: Mustafa Ali +400 (take until +120)
Most Eliminations:
Drew McIntyre +100 (take until -120)
Final Four:
Braun Strowman -125, Randy Orton +700 (take until +200)
Winner:
Seth Rollins +100 (take until -150)