The granddaddy of them all, WrestleMania 31 will be exploding onto our screens on Sunday night live from the Levi’s Stadium in California. While a minority of punters will scoff at the idea of betting an event that is ‘scripted’, it’s probably best to remember that at one point in February there were more people betting on Lucy Beale’s murderer in Eastenders, than on Liverpool’s Europa League game with Besiktas. Yes, WrestleMania may be predetermined, but that doesn’t stop it being ridiculously exciting to watch.
To try to pocket a few quid on Sunday night, we’ve crunched the numbers to find out how reigning champions tend to do on the biggest stage of them all. WrestleMania is the ideal opportunity for a superstar’s journey to end, or career to kick-start, so is it a place where you’re likely to retain your title or is it a place where new stars are crowned.
It’s rough news for reigning Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett who has to take on six opponents in a ladder match for his belt at WrestleMania. The reigning Intercontinental Champ has managed to retain his title just 35 per cent of the time, and the last man to do so was Y2J Chris Jericho when he beat William Regal at WrestleMania 17. Barrett might seek some solace in the fact that the only time the Intercontinental Championship was on the line in a ladder match at Mania, the champ retained his title – that was Razor Ramon’s unforgettable bout with HBK Shawn Michaels in 1994. However with six opponents, the trends are against Bad News Barrett whose odds of 8/1 reflect that. The smart bet here could be on the people’s favourite Daniel Bryan who is as short as 2/5.
The stats suggest it should be a good night for Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (below) though who currently hold the Tag Team Titles. The tag champs have a 54 per cent record of retaining their belts at Mania, and the last 10 tag team title matches at the WWE showpiece have gone to the reigning champs. That’s all going in favour of Kidd and Cesaro who are the 8/13 favourites to see off The Usos, Los Matadores and Big E and Kofi Kingston.
WrestleMania is also the stage where a new World Heavyweight Champion is often crowned. 61 per cent of the time, the reigning champ going into Mania is defeated, and that stat is yet another positive for Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns. While champion Brock Lesnar comes into the match off recently signing a new WWE contract, the trends suggest this is where his dominant spell – which included ending The Undertaker’s 20-year long undefeated streak – will end. Both men are currently 5/6 in the betting, with the Paddy Power traders struggling to split them, although if you’re sticking with the trends you ought to side with Roman Reigns.
With plenty of short prices in the betting, The Paddy Power Blog also looked at how favourites fare at WrestleMania, and the results are quite revealing.
While favourites have a success rate of 75 per cent at Mania, backing every favourite in singles each time would actually see you losing money. That’s because there tend to be a lot of short prices in the WWE markets, and when one gets turned over – like the Undertaker at odds of 1/25 last year – it has a huge impact. Luckily Paddy Power are the only bookmaker that allow multiples on WWE matches, and therefore we can accumulate some of the short price favourites into a tasty little 6/4 accumulator.
WWE WrestleMania Bankers?
JOHN CENA 2/9 (United States Championship Match vs Rusev)
It’s pretty hard to see the undefeated Russian Rusev retaining his Championship on Sunday. John Cena has been the face of WWE for the best part of 10 years and his star power will help boost the image of the United States Championship.
DANIEL BRYAN 2/5 (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)
Bryan is the man the WWE Universe loves, and like Cena above, he would bring some real prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship. The Goat is a very capable in-ring performer and this could set up some mouth-watering feuds with Sheamus or Dolph Ziggler.
STING 1/7 (vs Triple H)
Will the legend Sting really lose his in-ring debut for the WWE? Probably not. What will Triple H gain from winning? Virtually nothing. The return of Sting will be virtually meaningless if he doesn’t win this, and the wrestling legend is probably the safest bet of the night.
THE UNDERTAKER 3/10 (vs Bray Wyatt)
The WWE will not want The Undertaker to see out his WWE career on the back of two WrestleMania losses. Nobody gains anything from that. Expect Taker to pick up the win, gaining some redemption for last year’s defeat and boosting Bray Wyatt’s long-term career.