WWE’s Royal Rumble is always a good time and probably the best pay-per-view of the year outside of Wrestlemania. The Rumble is considered one of WWE’s “big four” pay-per-views — meaning it’s one of the professional wrestling events that you can actually wager on at online sportsbooks — and is based on the classic Battle Royal match, in which a certain number of wrestlers (usually 30) try to eliminate each other by launching their foes over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor.
It’s also the event that kickstarts Wrestlemania season, as feuds catch fire leading to the “show of shows” in April.
This year, the Rumble is extra special. For the first time ever, an all women’s Battle Royal has been added to the card, and it’s long overdue. The addition of the Women’s Rumble means that the rest of the card is a bit smaller than other WWE pay-per-views, but there will still be some good fun leading up to the main events. Plus, the winners of the Rumble matches get title shots at Wrestlemania, so there are many different intriguing scenarios that could play out for both the women and men. Could we see Ronda Rousey make her long-rumored debut and immediately earn a shot at the belt? Will we see the newly-signed Ricochet make his big entrance?
Below we take a look at the odds for the men’s Rumble match at William Hill [read full WillHill sportsbook review] and analyze the best bet at this still-early stage, plus make predictions on the rest of the matches on the card. Unfortunately, no betting sites currently have odds on the women’s Royal Rumble.
Men’s 2018 Royal Rumble Odds
- Shinsuke Nakamura: +250
- Roman Reigns: +300
- John Cena: +400
- Dolph Ziggler: +500
- Finn Balor: +500
- AJ Styles: +800
- Braun Strowman: +1000
- Seth Rollins: +1000
- Bobby Roode: +1000
- Samoa Joe: +1200
- Kevin Owens: +1400
- Sami Zayn: +1600
- Baron Corbin: +2000
- Randy Orton: +2000
- Bray Wyatt: +2000
- Jinder Mahal: +2500
- Rusev: +2800
We could display the entire list of Rumble odds, but after Rusev it gets a little ridiculous with the likes of Kenny Omega (New Japan), Conor McGregor (UFC), and Donald Trump (what does he do again?) to name a few. If we are going to be serious about where to place money on this match, we need to take a more realistic look at the possibilities. Sorry, but Barack Obama (+100000) is not going to win the Royal Rumble. But there is a good chance Shinsuke Nakamura will!
The winner of the Royal Rumble will get a title shot at Wrestlemania 34. Now keep in mind, there are two different WWE brands, RAW and SmackDown Live, and which champion has to defend against the Rumble winner depends entirely on which brand the Rumble champion is tied to. For reasons I’m about to explain, the Rumble champion will likely be a SmackDown wrestler. Why? Brock Lesnar is most likely going to retain his RAW Universal Title at Rumble and defend it at Wrestlemania 34 against Roman Reigns, at least that’s what the rumored plan is, regardless of what happens at the Royal Rumble.
Going on that nugget of information, Reigns is probably not going to win the Rumble, because he doesn’t need to. There are other paths he can take to a title match, including Elimination Chamber on February 25th. The Reigns vs. Lesnar program can and will happen without him being the final man standing at the Rumble. So, with Lesnar and Reigns likely feuding at Mania, the Royal Rumble winner will probably be someone from SmackDown Live, who would then go on to challenge SmackDown champion AJ Styles at Wrestlemania, if Styles is still champion come Wrestlemania time.
The likelihood of Styles retaining his WWE Championship at Rumble is pretty high, and the most badass opponent would be Nakamura, as both men have a history of putting on fantastic matches back in their New Japan days. The WWE would love to cash in on some of that New Japan Wrestle Kingdom 12 buzz, and having those two square off would bring the house down at Mania.
That all seems like logical booking, but recently logic and WWE haven’t been friends. If you’re keen to pick someone with longer odds, Dolph Ziggler (+500) is a good option, given the push he’s been getting recently. Baron Corbin (+2000) also has an outside chance to win.
But in the end, the safest bet is that Rumble will set up the feud that the fans want: Nakamura vs. Styles at Wrestlemania 34.
My bet: $50 on Nakamura (+250)
Potential payout: $125 profit (note that some sportsbooks cap winnings at a maximum of $50 on WWE bets)
Women’s 2018 Royal Rumble
Will we see Ronda Rousey? That’s what most fans want to know when it comes to this newly minted, long-overdue, all-woman Royal Rumble match.
There are all kind of scenarios and probably a few surprises in store, but the real question should be, who is going to eliminate Asuka? To me, she is not only the odds-on favorite to win, but she should be the one who wins this historic match. She’s the champion the WWE women’s division needs.
Predicted winner: Asuka
WWE Universal Championship (RAW): Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman
I find this match hilarious because the WWE loves Strowman and he is so over with the fans, but at the same time, they can’t have him beat Lesnar and they can’t have Lesnar beat Strowman … again. So what do they do? They include Kane and make it a three-way.
Poor Kane. He is the Brooklyn Brawler of this triple-threat matchup. Kane will job to Lesnar so that the champ can retain, while Strowman still looks strong in defeat. Paint-by-numbers booking.
Predicted winner: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship (SmackDown): AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (Handicap Match)
This is going to be one of the best matches on the card because Styles, Owens, and Zayn are three of the best in the business.
This fight could witness a heel turn by general manager Daniel Bryan; however, in the end, no matter how bonanza things get, the WWE wants to see Styles retain and head into Wrestlemania as the champ.
Predicted winner: AJ Styles
Cruiserweight Championship: Enzo Amore (c) vs. Cedric Alexander
This match has been canceled due to Eric Arndt “Enzo Amore” being released from the WWE due to being accused and investigated for rape/sexual assault.
winner Loser: Enzo Amore
Raw Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs The Bar
It’s too bad The Shield reunion couldn’t fully get off the ground due to Reigns’ illness and the serious injury to Dean Ambrose. Instead, WWE creative has had Jason Jordan team up with Seth Rollins and they, surprisingly, won the tag team title from The Bar on Christmas Day.
This feels like nothing more than a gap-filler of a match; Jordan and Rollins will be in a different program after Rumble. A Jordan heel-flip could lead to a Rollins vs. Jordan match in the coming months, and there is a chance that heel turn could start at Rumble. They are likely to retain for now, but it’s far from a sure thing.
Predicted winner: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan
Smackdown TagTeam Championship: The Usos vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (2/3 Falls)
It’s strange to see Gable and Benjamin as the heels and The Usos as the faces in this feud, but it appears the fans have really appreciated the hard work that Jey and Jimmy Uso have put in, and you can’t blame them. The Usos are the best thing in the SmackDown tag division, if not the entire company. Meanwhile, Gable and Benjamin lack chemistry.
The Usos are the favorites and should retain, but don’t be too surprised if the WWE puts the tag titles on Gable and Benjamin and then starts pushing them as a heel team in a potential feud with The New Day.
Predicted winner: The Usos
Cheap Plug, John Canton and I of TJRWrestling.net talk about this upcoming Royal Rumble Card on episode 9 of Combat-A-Thon Radio on SportsBettingDime.com.