In years gone by, it’s been a bit of a stereotype – you can’t bet on wrestling, it’s fixed! Well, in recent times, bookmakers have been offering odds for pay-per-views for several months now, with those odds usually shifting at the last minute (particularly if a certain dolphin-themed Redditer has his say!)

With the rumour mill churning, the guys over at 888sport have selected Triple H as a “surprise” favourite to win the Royal Rumble itself, with Hunter odds-on at 9/10 to win, and 1/50 to be in the final four (that is, you bet $10, you’ll get $9 plus your $10 stake if he wins; and for a $50 stake, you get $1 back plus your stake if Hunter gets into the final four).

Other interesting odds for the Rumble itself include Roman Reigns to win at 11/4, Brock Lesnar at 3/1, Bray Wyatt at 4/1, and AJ Styles at 20/1 (which is a long shot, given that he’s only rumoured to even show up to the event!). For more unlikely picks, how about Shinsuke Nakamura at 50/1 (which’d be a hell of a shock, as he’s scheduled to be in a six-man tag match at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall around twelve hours before the show!), or for guys who have a chance of being in the same arena, take your pick from Tyler Breeze, The Miz, Big E or Kalisto at 66/1 apiece!

If you fancy a bit of spot betting, 888sport also has a few Brock Lesnar bets – fancy a punt on how many suplexes the Beast Incarnate will be delivering during the entire show? Or whether he’ll flatten Vince McMahon with one? Or how about a 1/10 shout on Brock taking Josh Bredl (or Bronson Matthews, depending on what name they use) to Suplex City, following his Twitter outburst on Monday night?

Perhaps you’re a regular John Pollock and love stopwatches? There’s odds for the Rumble being the longest of all time (at 2/1), or you can get 3/1 on Santino Marella’s quickest elimination record being shattered. There’s even a bunch of “this or that” picks, where you can bet on who’ll be eliminated last out of a given pair. Neville or Kofi? Ambrose or Owens? Bray or Braun? Stardust or Goldust?

Over at PaddyPower, they have similar odds, including some money wasting bets (Donald Trump to win the Rumble… really? Ditto Wayne Rooney), but in terms of sheer variety, you’re better off with 888sport.

So, to segue into my predictions for the Rumble, which now has a massive six matches scheduled (up from the one they had seven days ago!):

  1. Pre-show – Darren Young and Damien Sandow (the No-Time Players) vs. Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger – winning team gets into the Royal Rumble

What a fall from grace – a year ago, Bubba Ray was a surprise return at the Royal Rumble and got one of the loudest cheers of the night. Twelve months on, he’s reprised the Dudley Boyz act, and is now on the verge of irrelevancy. Elsewhere, Darren Young’s received a new tag team partner in a man whose been as visible as the split of the Prime Time Players (Damien Sandow), whilst the Henry/Swagger team is only news to you if you watch any of WWE’s internet shows. None of these eight men will win the Rumble, so this is really a crap shoot – however, if I have to pick (and I do!), I’ll go for the Swagger/Henry team to get the win.

  1. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens

This is the match that’s had the better build up going in, and if you go by the way WWE typically books things, you’d say that Owens is going to walk out with the title. That being said, I’d like to see Owens walk out of this match and to the traditional “knock someone out, steal their Rumble spot” angle, given that his character has always been that of a prize fighter… and there is no bigger prize than the WWE title. This is going to be a Last Man Standing match, which’d suggest that Ambrose will win, but I’m going to go the other way and pick Owens to become a two-time IC champion.

  1. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto

I’ve already covered my thoughts on this in the post “Kalisto: Serves You Right For Believing!” – it wouldn’t be a shock if this match were to be played out in front of deafening silence, given that they’ve already done the shock title change and immediate win-back. A win for Kalisto wouldn’t have much effect unless Del Rio is going to win the WWE title later on (and I can’t see that happening), so I’m going to go for Kalisto to win via DQ following interference from the League of Nations.

  1. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch

When these two were paired with Paige as part of Team PCB in last year’s forgettable Divas’ Revolution, you’d not have expected to have seen this match being done so quickly. Then again, given how injuries and Total Divas has crept into the picture, this is about the only storyline they have left. Thankfully, this match wasn’t done to death in NXT, but Becky Lynch has filled into the role of “challenger of the month” that WWE used to do when they wanted a women’s title feud. As Charlotte is settling into her new heel role, it wouldn’t make much sense for her to drop the belt, but as I suspect they’re going to end the pay-per-view with a heel win, this’ll probably be the one match they’ll throwaway on a babyface win, so I’ll go with Becky Lynch to win the title.

  1. New Day vs. The Usos

On the surface, this should be a good match, but unfortunately, this is a storyline that’s just dragged on for too long. Seeing how all three members of the New Day are going to be in the Rumble, I suspect the Usos will be too, and this’ll be a non-finish with the New Day retaining… and a lot of people gunning for a new tag team programme!

  1. Royal Rumble match

In lieu of a WWE title match, we have Roman Reigns either a) going the distance and being like Kane but on steroids (not literally, I mean in terms of tossing everyone out), or we’re going to have a storyline where Reigns is out of the match but not eliminated, and comes back for the finish. This is where WWE needs to set up a lot of their WrestleMania card, and with talk of Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt in the company’s plans, I’d expect to see something impressive here with Lesnar. I’ve also got a sneaky feeling that if Bryan Alvarez’s sources are correct, Tough Enough Josh (aka NXT’s Bronson Matthews) will be involved to reprise the Daniel Puder role with Stardust, Kevin Owens and possibly Brock playing the roles of Benoit, Guerrero and Hardcore Holly.

The rumour mill also has AJ Styles pegged for his debut here, and given the way that this has been built up by WWE themselves, the company are almost risking a Daniel Bryan situation if he were to not be a part of the match. Speaking of Bryan, I can’t see him making a surprise return here for the obvious medical reasons.

As for a winner, I don’t think Reigns will leave as champion – my gut feeling tells me that WWE will be logical for once, and they’ll have Triple H cost Reigns his title… but the bad gut feeling also tells me that Hunter is going to claim his fourteenth WWE title, and set up a WrestleMania main event with Reigns in Dallas.

  • I’ll be back on Monday night to go over how far off the mark I was here! Let me know if you put any money on any of these… but don’t blame me if my predictions are wrong!