WWE’s SummerSlam is the second-biggest event on the calendar and is set to take place Sunday, Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, New York. SummerSlam has a rich history of wild storylines as the WWE attempts to capitalize before ratings decrease.
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The WWE’s bread and butter is Monday Night Raw, and with the NFL set to take over Sunday and Monday nights, Vince McMahon saves his biggest tricks for August. Really, was there any other way to end the Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental Title run than with the 30-second Ultimate Warrior squash during SummerSlam 1988?
This will not be like any other WWE pay-per-view preview, because we are here to make money. The WWE has continuously pumped underdogs, including this past Wrestlemania when Brock Lesnar +600, AJ Styles +300, Charlotte +550 and Seth Rollins +350 all cashed. Here is a look at a few of the matches that may offer large underdog value.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey v Alexa Bliss (c)
Odds: Rousey -320, Bliss +240
Rousey has yet to take a pinfall since her WWE debut. Her storyline through Stephanie McMahon, Nia Jax and now Bliss has been exciting. The progression from UFC champion to WWE entertainer has been much faster than I expected. Rousey is the hottest commodity on the Raw brand, and the Wrestlemania main event next year will be Rousey versus Charlotte Flair.
As for this match, it’s always in the back of my mind that WWE announced a historic all-women’s pay-per-view set for Oct. 28 called Evolution. There are a number of angles the WWE wants to position before October.
- Set up a tag-team championship, with the winners floating between the brands
- Heels head into Evolution as champions, but lose to faces during the event
- The formation of the Women’s Four Horsewomen, with Ronda Rousey as their target
Expect Sasha Banks and Bayley to be the first tag-team champions, but in this match, a heel will need to retain that title. Bliss has been nothing but stellar on the microphone, and while she won’t get a pin, expect Rousey to continue the chase for the strap. This rivalry has been straight fire.
Pick: Alexa Bliss +240
Money in The Bank Contract: Braun Strowman v Kevin Owens
Odds: Strowman -350, Owens +250
The last-minute decision to put the Money in the Bank briefcase on Braun Strowman over The Miz was a curious one. Strowman obviously deserves a shot at Lesnar and could have easily been written into the main event.
Truth be told, this entire Raw men’s division is rewriting the script weekly, pending Lesnar’s open contract status. This match heavily depends on contract negotiations scheduled with Lesnar late Sunday afternoon.
What does this mean for you as a bettor? Take the dog now, as this line should be all over the map between lunch and when supper comes Sunday. Also, plenty of leaked promotional material from September’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view features Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns. Scoop Owens everywhere you can.
Pick: Kevin Owens +250
WWE Championship: Samoa Joe v A.J. Styles (c)
Odds: Styles -215, Joe +165
The theme of this bet is, “Do not be fooled by gameday steam.” There are gamblers who live off chasing steam like a greyhound after the moving felt at the track. This match may be a perfect representation of the WWE creative team putting money in the market to create deception.
Did you know CM Punk won his lawsuit against a WWE doctor? The WWE continues to take hidden jabs at Punk through its programming, showing that it still harbors resentment toward the former champion.
CM Punk had one of the longest WWE Championship reigns in history, 434 days. What does that have to do with this match? Styles recently passed the 280-day mark of his current WWE championship reign.
Styles will have passed CM Punk for consecutive days as champion the week of the Royal Rumble in January, so do not expect a title change at SummerSlam. WWE creative has moved lines frequently over the past nine months trying to provide deception against the “mark” fan who wants predictable finishes. The pick is Styles, but wait until the last hour to see if any of that phony money moves the champ to an underdog number.
Pick: A.J. Styles -215
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns v Brock Lesnar (c)
Odds: Lesnar +170, Reigns -230
Lesnar’s goal is to be the WWE universal champion and UFC heavyweight champion at the same time. His current contract with WWE is pay-per-appearance, which is an interesting way to have a champion for your flagship program. Lesnar was at the most recent UFC event wearing a suit and pushing Daniel Cormier around, so there currently is high drama with both products.
This is pretty simple from a betting standpoint: Take both wrestlers as dogs when the opportunity presents itself. Vince’s closed-door meeting with Lesnar (scheduled for hours before Lesnar’s defense against Roman Reigns) will have a trickle-down effect on the entire card. That meeting could see Lesnar retain and take the title to a UFC event. Lesnar could also drop the title to a heel turn Reigns. Alas, Owens or Strowman could cash in the money in the bank and leave with the title as well.
If I was allowed to make one bet, I would think Vince wants his title to show up around the waist of a competitor in the UFC Octagon. With Reigns set to be booed for an hour at Barclays Center, I will be pinging Lesnar dog money until I can wash my hands with some Reigns dog money right around dinner on Sunday.
Pick: Lesnar +170
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