The votes have been tallied and four out of five major sportsbooks providing odds for the 2017 Royal Rumble have come to a consensus favorite and his name is JOHN CENA!
Cue the music and the lights and the yabba dabba doooo…
Actually, don’t, because this was merely an Unexpected Cena inspired ‘Rick Roll’. The 15x champ actually averages out with just the seventh best odds (8/1) to win the shot at a title and the right to main event Wrestlemania. Which would be interesting given Cena already has a WWE world title match on the night of the Rumble and hasn’t officially been entered into the battle royal anyway, but then again, neither has the superstar who actually has the best odds, that being the one and only.
“DONG! DONG! DONG!”
Despite not having appeared on WWE programming since before Survivor Series in November, when the odds opened on December 28th, Undertaker was tied 3/1 at the top with Goldberg, who was the first announced participant, to win the Rumble and go on to main event Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando. Prior to Monday night’s first Raw of 2017 however, where Goldberg appeared and Undertaker’s own return was announced for the following week, there was a massive shift in the books as the Phenom rose to best 2/1 odds and the one responsible for the two in Brock Lesnar’s 0-2, fell to 6/1, which now puts him behind Braun Strowman (4/1), Finn Balor (5/1) and Chris Jericho (7/2).
What’s most surprising about the movement on the odds is that it happened prior to Raw. Strowman, who opened at 7/1, moved up the list prior to beating Sami Zayn (22/1) in a Last Man Standing match and facing down Roman Reigns (11/1) and Goldberg to end the show. He did eat a spear, well a double spear, for his troubles, but again, the odds saw movement before the show. Same goes for Jericho, who saw a slight improvement in his own odds, opening at 4/1, and Goldberg who saw, for whatever reason, his odds take a tumble.
Beyond the top four, there are some other interesting names receiving odds including Kurt Angle (35/1). Angle opened at 60/1 but with the rumors continuing to swirl regarding him not taking any more independent bookings and telling people he already has a WWE return date scheduled, the Olympian now has better odds to win the Rumble than guys like Enzo Amore, Shane McMahon, Luke Harper, Rusev (all 50/1), Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus (both 40/1).
The odds first came out a day after Smackdown Live’s Wildcard Finals and saw guys like AJ Styles (20/1), Baron Corbin (30/1), The Miz (12/1), Dean Ambrose (18/1), Randy Orton (9/1) and Bray Wyatt (20/1) all open within the top-20. Since the updated odds came out prior to Monday night, only the Miz has seen his stock rise, opening at 18/1 and now 12/1.
It’s interesting to follow these trends and patterns and where the money is going, especially since wrestling is a scripted occurrence. So things really are changing by the week as fans watch how a show unfolds, who looks dominant, who’s fallen off, and they move their money accordingly. So next week, Corbin might have 15/1 odds given on Tuesday he became his brand’s first official entrant in the Royal Rumble and cut a compelling promo on Talking Smack afterwards solidifying his status as the next big thing. Balor could tweet he’s coming back to win the Rumble and challenge Kevin Owens. Five minutes later he could tweet he won’t be appearing after all. Reigns could lose the US title or Miz, as he did, lose the Intercontinental Championship. All of that is bound to change the way bettors look at who could win at the second biggest PPV of the year.
And while the odds will likely move several more times between now and January 29th, it is still very interesting to see the Undertaker open so high and climb even higher thus far. If this truly is to be his last Wrestlemania, winning the Rumble and going out to challenge either Styles or Cena, or less likely Reigns or Kevin Owens (20/1), would be a great way to write him off into the sunset. At least, Vegas and the bettors so far seem to think so.