For the second straight year, the WWE proved that betting on Wrestlemania odds is harder than it looks. In the run-up to the event, numerous sportsbooks released odds on the matches scheduled for Wrestlemania 31. But as the saying goes in the world of professional wrestling, “results are subject to change at the last minute” and yes, the dramatic swing in odds from some of those matches late in the weekend proved as much.
The most significant swing happened in the match between Triple H and Sting. For the better part of last week, sportsbooks had Sting as the overwhelming favorite at 1/7 odds with Triple H the heavy underdog at 4/1 odds. But once the smart money arrived the days leading up to Wrestlemania 31, the odds on the two wrestlers flipped with the WWE COO the heavy favorite at 2/25 odds compared to Sting who was now on the receiving end of 4/1 odds. The lesson: if you had bet on Triple H to win when he was still the prohibitive underdog, you would’ve cashed out on some pretty sweet odds.
Another example of a 360-degree flip in odds was the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between champion Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. From the onset, it appeared that WWE was ready to coronate Reigns as the next face of the company. The odds certainly reflected as much since the young Samoan was the 2/7 favorite compared to Lesnar who was a 9/4 underdog. Part of the rationale behind those odds was the belief that Lesnar wouldn’t renew his contract with WWE, which was supposed to expire the day after Wrestlemania 31, to make a return to the UFC. But Lesnar went on ESPN early last week and announced his contract extension with the WWE. That was more than enough for sportsbooks to drop his odds to even money compared to Reigns, who saw his own odds rise to 10/11.
Turns out, the unstable line movements in the match amounted to nothing as neither Lesnar nor Reigns came out of Wrestlemania 31 as the champion. Seth Rollins, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Who saw that coming?
Then we have the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. To be fair, this was the most difficult match to put any odds because of the sheer number of wrestlers involved and the possibility of a last-minute change on who was going to win the match. Just last week, Damien Mizdow was considered the favorite to win at 5/4 odds, followed closely by Sheamus at 7/4 odds, Ryback at 6/1, Mark Henry at 8/1, and the Big Show at 12/1. But as the days progressed, Sheamus overtook Mizdow as the favorite, getting odds as low as low as 13/50. Mizdow, by contrast, fell to 15/1 with the Big Show turning into the second favorite at 11/2 odds. Once the dust settled, though, it was the Big Show who came out triumphant, eliminating Mizdow to win the Battle Royale and turning those early 12/1 and late 11/2 odds into winning tickets.
That’s already three matches that didn’t go the favorites’ way, but I’m saving the Seth Rollins – Randy Orton match for last because this is the match that proves that you might as well bet on all the underdogs to win at Wrestlemania with the hopes of at least one cashing in. The odds for this match actually started with near identical lines. Orion was the short favorite at 8/11 odds whereas Rollins was getting even. But as the week progressed, Rollins’ suddenly became the overwhelming favorite at 1/25 odds compared to Orton who suddenly saw his own odds soar to 11/1. In the end, it was Orton who came out on top, clinching the win with arguably one of the nastiest-looking RKOs I’ve seen in a long time.
Yep. the guy who entered the match at 11/1 odds came out on top, proving yet again that betting on Wrestlemania odds isn’t really so much a game of skill as it is a game of correctly picking what direction WWE wants to go.