Betting Preview Guide for the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble
On Friday, April 27th, the WWE will be live from the King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The venue, which seats roughly 62,000 people, will host the first event in a 10-year partnership between the WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority. This event will air live on the WWE Network with a start time of 7 PM AST, 12 PM EST, and 9 AM PST. There will be a 1-hour kickoff show as well.
The biggest news surrounding this event is that, due to the Saudi Arabian culture, WWE’s talented female superstars won’t be on the show. This is a huge disappointment considering that the best match from WrestleMania 34 was Charlotte Flair versus Asuka. With the WWE benefitting greatly from their women’s revolution, a trip to Saudi Arabia lays the “smackdown” on the entire women’s roster at a time where they’ve never been “hotter.”
WWE’s public attitude about the women not being on the show, has been respectful toward the women and toward the Saudi Arabian culture. WWE executive Triple H made the following comments, according CBSSports.com:
“While, right now, women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years, they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia.”
While alienating an entire female roster seems like a respectful act toward Saudi Arabia, there are many fans and pundits pondering how much money the WWE will make off this event. One would have to guess that it’s a lot of money considering they’re benching some of the company’s top talent for a major wrestling show.
Speaking of money, let’s get on to the odds and lines (courtesy of 5Dimes) for the WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble and see where we can make some money:
Cruiserweight Championship Match
In what will most likely be either the opener of the GRR or on the Kickoff Show, Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander will defend his title against Kalisto, who won a gauntlet match on 205 Live last night to earn the title shot. Although the odds aren’t up for this match, as of yet, Alexander is poised for a lengthy title run. So, there’s no reason to think that Kalisto will win.
Kalisto was once a hot commodity in the WWE. Unfortunately, he’s been nothing more than a glorified jobber as of late. With that said, nobody in their right mind would think he wins at the GRR. Look for Alexander to retain the title and build towards a more meaningful feud.
WWE Bet: Cedric Alexander (odds unavailable)
50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match
The hype around this match is that it will be the largest Royal Rumble match ever. With 50 competitors, you know there will be some big names, some mid-carders, and some jobbers filling out the spots.
There’s a long list of wrestlers and celebrities that have odds on winning this match. The following list is of the top 40 odds:
- Braun Strowman +115
- Daniel Bryan +220
- Baron Corbin +700
- Bobby Lashley +850
- Big Cass +900
- Chris Jericho +950
- Elias +1100
- Rey Mysterio Jr +1100
- Sami Zayn +1300
- Finn Balor +1300
- Randy Orton +1300
- Dolph Ziggler +1700
- Rusev +1750
- Seth Rollins +1750
- Samoa Joe +1750
- Jinder Mahal +1750
- Jeff Hardy +1750
- AJ Styles +1900
- Kane +1900
- Shinsuke Nakamura +1900
- John Cena +2000
- The Undertaker +2000
- Big E +2300
- Big Show +2300
- Mojo Rawley +2300
- Bobby Roode +2300
- Kurt Angle +2300
- Jason Jordan +2300
- Bray Wyatt +2300
- Drew McIntyre +2300
- Matt Hardy +2300
- Roman Reigns +2300
- The Miz +2300
- Batista +2800
- Goldberg +2800
- Kassius Ohno +2800
- Apollo Crews +3800
- Goldust +8500
- Kofi Kingston +8500
- Shelton Benjamin +8500
In all likelihood, the winner of this event will come from the top 5 favorites:
- Braun Strowman +115
- Daniel Bryan +220
- Baron Corbin +700
- Bobby Lashley +850
- Big Cass +900
It’s no surprise that Strowman is the favorite to win this match. In reality, it should be Strowman to win this historic battle royal. On April 23rd’s episode of RAW, Strowman teamed up with Bobby Lashley to defeat Owens and Zayn. They looked unstoppable and I expect them to carry that momentum into this match. The only one who has a realistic chance to upend Braun would be Daniel Bryan. His in-ring return at WreslteMania 34 has sent the WWE Universe into a frenzy.
The WWE has a dilemma on their hands: do they have Strowman win as everyone expects or do they keep the Daniel Bryan gravy train rolling along?
If WWE were to go in a different direction, both Lashley and Big Cass would be suitable winners. Lashley has hit the ground running since he returned to the WWE and he looks poised to make a run at the WWE Universal Championship sooner than later. As for Big Cass, he made his big return on SmackDown last week and is going to feud against Daniel Bryan.
As for value, I like Big Show at +2300. The big man recently re-signed with the WWE and this will be his first real challenge under his new contract. He provides the best value in this match.
InterContinental Championship Ladder Match
IC champion Seth Rollins puts his title on the line against former champ The Miz, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe in a ladder match. Rollins won the title at WrestleMania 34 and brings a big match feel to the title every time he defends it. Seth can thank The Miz for making the title relevant again, but The Architect is going to take it to another level.
This match is my pick to steal the show. All 4 of these wrestlers are very talented. And, when you add a ladder to the mix, there’s going to be some excitement and crazy spots.
Rollins is a huge favorite at -300 and is expected by most to retain the belt. Both Samoa Joe (+800) and The Miz (+485) have been shipped off to SmackDown and are not expected to win. Finn Balor is a +800 underdog like Joe, but he at least still competes on RAW where the title is at.
In my opinion, the WWE should keep the swerves going from WM 34 and have Rollins drop the belt back to The Miz as he takes it to SmackDown. Then have Jinder Mahal defeat Jeff Hardy for the US Championship and take it to RAW. It would be a nice way to have the titles switch shows.
Odds are that the WWE won’t do this, so you are looking at Rollins retaining or Balor taking the belt. Most believe that Rollins is in line for a nice long run with the IC belt, which is why he’s the favorite in this match. It’s also popular thinking that Balor and Rollins will have a sweet feud over the belt in the near future. With that said, Balor provides excellent value here as he’s the only other wrestler with a shot at winning, since the WWE will most likely not send the IC belt to SmackDown.
WWE Bet: Seth Rollins -300
John Cena vs Triple H
Ten years ago, this would’ve been the main event of the night. Now, it’s just a random match in the middle of the card. Surprisingly, Cena comes into this bout as the favorite at -190 odds, while Triple H is +150. Really, this match can go either way. Cena hasn’t done anything of importance outside of proposing to Nikki Bella at WM 33 and then breaking up with her by WM 34. HHH had a solid showing at WM 34 in his mix-gender tag team match with his wife Stephanie against Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey.
The WWE is touting this match as another chapter in their epic, historic, all-time great feud. I feel like this match has all of the excitement to lead the Kickoff Show. Neither wrestler is relevant to this card and should’ve been put in the Royal Rumble match only.
WWE Bet: John Cena -190
SmackDown Tag Team Title Match
The Bludgeon Brothers won the tag titles at WM 34 and look to retain the belts at WWE’s GRR. They’re a huge favorite at -310 with the Uso’s listed at +230. Rowan and Harper are two monsters in the ring and the WWE finally got it right when they decided to push them as a legit power tag-team. Over the last few months, the Bludgeon Brothers have been the best thing about SmackDown’s tag division. That’s about to change with the additions of The Bar and Gallows and Anderson, which has definitely made the SmackDown tag division the best of both brands.
Last night on SmackDown, the Uso’s got the better of the Bludgeon Brothers by outsmarting them. However, due to Saudi Arabia’s no women on the show policy, Naomi won’t be there to help her husband and her brother-in-law. Therefore, this match is a no-brainer as to who will win.
WWE Bet: Bludgeon Brothers -310
WWE RAW Tag Title Match
The RAW tag team belts are up for grabs at the GRR due to Braun Strowman and his kid tag-team partner (Nicholas) having to relinquish the belts the day after WrestleMania due to Nicholas’ commitment to school. The Bar, who lost the belts to the Monster and Kid, protested the shenanigans of the match and were rightfully entered into the tag title match at GRR. However, their opponents would have to earn a spot in this tag-team title match by competing in a tag-team eliminator tournament on RAW.
The surprise entrants into this tag-team eliminator was the duo of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy. The two men were in a lengthy feud that culminated with Hardy “deleting” Wyatt and Sister Abigail. Wyatt would be off TV for a while before returning at WrestleMania 34 and helping his former foe Matt Hardy win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The next day, the duo appeared on RAW as a tag-team and have captivated the WWE Universe with their blend of in-ring talents and “out of this world” personas. “The Deleter of Worlds” look to delete The Bar from RAW and win the tag titles.
The Bar looks to win the RAW tag titles for the 5th time and remain Monday Night’s top tag team. Since late September of 2016, The Bar have ascended to the top of RAW’s tag division and have proven to be a great tag team.
Unfortunately for The Bar, they’ve already been shipped off to SmackDown due to the Superstar Shakeup, so there’s virtually no chance that they will win the RAW titles. In fact, they’re the biggest underdog of the night at +550. That makes Wyatt and Hardy the biggest favorite of the night at -1050.
WWE Bet: Hardy and Wyatt -1050
United States Championship Match
At WrestleMania 34, Jinder Mahal was my pick as the best value bet of the entire card. Sure enough, The Modern Day Maharaja scored the upset win in a fatal 4-way match and took the title from Randy Orton. Unfortunately, he would go on to lose it on RAW to Jeff Hardy during WWE’s Superstar Shakeup. Hardy would then take the belt with him to SmackDown.
Mahal invoked his rematch clause and was given a title shot against Hardy at the Greatest Royal Rumble. I want to go with Mahal here. Unfortunately, unless WWE decides to do a boule title switch where they send the IC belt to SmackDown and the US belt to RAW, there’s no way Mahal wins. With that said, I’m surprised that Mahal is +100. As stated, I don’t see Mahal winning the belt and taking it to RAW with the IC title there.
As mentioned above, I would love to see The Miz take the IC belt to SmackDown and Mahal take the US belt to RAW, but that would be too much to ask the WWE for. Jeff Hardy is -140 for the match and I’m actually surprised by these odds. In fact, this is good value for someone that’s most likely going to win.
WWE Bet: Jeff Hardy -140
Casket Match: The Undertaker vs Rusev
Despite Rusev being insanely over with the WWE Universe, the WWE just can’t seem to get their creative head out of their own backside. Why would you put Rusev in a casket match against The Undertaker? Nobody thinks he will win. In fact, The Undertaker is the 2nd biggest favorite of the card at -900. Rusev comes in at +500 and will spend the night in a casket.
The WWE couldn’t even make up their mind at first when they had Rusev scheduled to take on The Undertaker, but then removed him for Chris Jericho. But, in a moment of pure stupidity, they put Rusev back in the match.
Nobody beats The Undertaker in a casket match and this display of booking was just dumb. Rusev deserves a push to capitalize on his crowd support. Instead, they have him lose in big matches and now get buried in a casket.
WWE Bet: The Undertaker -900
WWE World Title Match
In a WrestleMania 34 rematch, WWE champion AJ Styles will once again put his title on the line against Shinsuke Nakamura. Coming into this event, AJ Styles is favored at -195. Nakamura is the underdog at +155. If you recall, I was practically begging the WWE to keep the belt in AJ Styles in my WrestleMania 34 betting guide. I, along with 95% of the WWE Universe and wrestling pundits, picked Shinsuke to win. And, to our surprise, Styles won and retained the belt. But, what happened after the match, has been one of the best things to come from Mania.
After the match, Nakamura attacked AJ Styles and turned heel. From there, he would attack AJ Styles over the next few weeks from behind with a low shot to the groin. Shinsuke has thrived in this heel mode, which has brought new life to his role in the WWE.
The WWE tried to go with the two baby face approach for Styles and Nakamura at WM 34, but it didn’t work as well as everyone hoped. The match was solid, but it wasn’t anything to brag about. I believe this match at the GRR will be better. Now that Shinsuke is heel, he can work that way in the match and it will tell for a better story. I expect the two men to put on a fantastic match. They will be a candidate for match of the night with the IC match. If the WWE gives this match enough time (30+ minutes), then we will have an instant classic.
We’re at the point now where the WWE has to decide: do they strike while the fire is hot and give the belt to Nakamura or do they keep it on AJ?
Although I’m a huge AJ fan, I think the time is now for the WWE to have Shinsuke win. And the best way to do it would be – a groin shot that the ref doesn’t see. An old-school ref bump that leads to Nakamura cheating and winning. AJ is “over” no matter what. Having Shinsuke win and becoming the show’s top heel would be the best thing for WWE right now.
I expect Big Cass to enter the title picture before the Summer ends, same with Daniel Bryan. But, for now, it’s Shinsuke’s time to shine.
WWE Bet: Shinsuke Nakamura +155
WWE Universal Title Match
Here we are again, Lesnar against Reigns for Brock’s Universal title. Lesnar has held the belt since WrestleMania 33 and has successfully defended it multiple times since then. His biggest rival over the last few years has been Roman Reigns, and the Big Dog is looking to dethrone Lesnar as the champ.
Heading into WM 34, the majority of experts and fans believed that Reigns would win. The odds were massively in Reigns favor up until the day of Mania, where his odds dropped. Reigns was a -1200 favorite for that match until the day of, where his odds dropped as low as -360. Lesnar was as high as +600 before coming down to the low +200’s.
Well, the WWE gave the Universe what they wanted by keeping the belt on Lesnar to the shock of many. Reigns was left in a pool of his own blood at the conclusion of WrestleMania 34.
At the Greatest Royal Rumble, Reigns and Lesnar will fight inside a steel cage, which means you can expect plenty of blood again. However, coming into this fight, Reigns is only a -260 favorite and Lesnar is a +180 favorite.
The latest news is that Lesnar will take on Reigns without Paul Heyman, who wasn’t going to make the trip over to Saudi Arabia. This could easily be a swerve or a built-in excuse for Lesnar losing.
Brock has gotten the better of Reigns just about every time they have come face to face in a WWE ring. Will Friday’s match be any different?
WWE has two choices: keep the belt on Lesnar longer or finally allow Reigns to beat him.
Personally, I would like to see Lesnar keep the title and lose it to Lashley or Strowman, not Reigns. But, we all know how fondly Vince McMahon is of his Big Dog. So, I think this will be Roman’s time to win. And, what better way for him to win than in a steel cage. He doesn’t have to pin Lesnar, he just has to get out of the cage first.
Let me also throw this out there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had both men hit the floor at the same time and prolong the feud into the summer.
With all of that being said, I can’t see Reigns doing the job for Lesnar at Mania without an idea of when he would get the belt back. Have Lesnar drop the belt overseason and allow Reigns to carry the belt for a while. This will also allow Lesnar to take some time off before coming back and going after Reigns or whomever has the belt then.
WWE Bet: Roman Reigns -260
Recap of WWE Bets
For those that like to skip ahead, or forgot my picks, here’s a quick summary:
- Cruiserweight title Match: Cedric Alexander (odds n/a)
- RAW Tag Team Title Match: Wyatt and Hardy -1050
- SmackDown Tag Team Title Match: The Bludgeon Brothers -310
- 50 man Royal Rumble: Braun Strowman +115
- Intercontinental Title Match: Seth Rollins -300
- United States Title Match: Jeff Hardy -140
- John Cena vs HHH: John Cena -190
- Casket Match: Undertaker vs Rusev: The Undertaker -910
- WWE World Title Match: Shinsuke Nakamura +155
- WWE Universal Title Match: Roman Reigns -260
Upset of the Night
If the WWE doesn’t decide to do a double title switch with the IC and US belts, then the upset of the night (according to the odds) is Shinsuke Nakamura. Currently, he’s listed as a +155 underdog. Nakamura is one of the hottest stars right now and he’s trending upward. He did the job for Styles at WrestleMania 34, to my happiness, and now I think it’s time for AJ to repay the favor. Plus, you have to love his new theme song.
For those that aren’t clear on what “value bets” are, these are wagers where a bettor feels that the wrestler has a better chance of winning than what the odds list them as. If you missed them in my match predictions, here are my value bets for the Greatest Royal Rumble:
- The Big Show +2300: With a new WWE contract, it would be great if The Big Show could win this Royal Rumble and get back to being the company’s top giant. Unfortunately, odds are against him. But, those odds also provide tremendous value. Think about, a $10 bet nets you $230 if he wins.
- Big Cass +900: Although Strowman and Bryan are the favorites, I would love it if Big Cass wins this Royal Rumble. At these odds, he’s worth a look.
- Bobby Lashley +900: Bobby is my darkhorse for the match. This all comes down to how quick the WWE wants to push him toward main event status, where he once was with the company. I would love to see him feud Lesnar later this year.
- Finn Balor +800: Since the WWE most likely won’t do the double title switch, Balor is one of two men that has a realistic shot at the belt in the IC ladder match. Therefore, he provides excellent value.
- The Miz +485: If the WWE does a double title switch, then The Miz is the man to get the IC belt and bring it with him to SmackDown where he can feud Daniel Bryan for it.
- Nakamura +155: This is my upset of the night and solid value for an underdog.
- Jeff Hardy -140: With the WWE most likely keeping the US belt on SmackDown, one would’ve thought that Hardy would’ve been a larger favorite over Mahal. With that said, -140 are decent odds and some decent value.
Final Thoughts on the GRR
This event is shaping up to be a stellar card. I expect a lot of exciting matches with one or two surprises at the most. As much as I would love a double title switch of the Intercontinental and the United States belts, I don’t expect the WWE to continue their swerves from WrestleMania 34 into this show. With that said, I believe two new eras will begin in Saudi Arabia: Shinsuke Nakamura and Roman Reigns as champs.
As the WWE Network has become the company’s main platform, International events are now must-see TV. Or in this case, must-see streaming content. Remember the time differences and get your popcorn ready because this could just be – the Greatest Royal Rumble Ever.