WWE Wrestlemania 29: Handicapping the Odds for Every Matchup
If you think people are crazy to bet on pro sports, then you probably think they're borderline insane to bet on pro wrestling.
There are just so many factors to consider when it comes to the WWE and pro wrestling in general that it's nearly impossible to bet on matches and feel good about your selections.
But this is the land of the free, and if you want to bet on the WWE, you have that right. You can even put some money on the line for the biggest pay-per-view of the year, WrestleMania 29.
Yes, sports betting site Bovada (via philly.cbslocal.com) has actually released its odds for all of the matches at WrestleMania 29, so should you choose to do so, you can bet on any match at "The Showcase of the Immortals."
I'm with many of you in thinking that this is a maniacal idea, but that won't prevent me from breaking down the odds anyway.
Let's handicap (essentially predicting who has the best chance of winning) the odds for every match at WrestleMania 29.
Intercontinental Championship (Pre-Show): The Miz vs. Wade Barrett (c)
Wade Barrett (11/4)
The Miz (2/9)
Clearly, the people over at Bovada view The Miz as the overwhelming favorite in the Intercontinental Championship match, but this one's more of a tossup for me.
Both The Miz and Barrett have been booked pretty horribly as of late, so it wouldn't be all that surprising to see either guy emerge from this match with the win. The real question here is who needs it more, but I don't think either is really going to benefit from leaving this match as Intercontinental champion.
What works in The Miz's favor, however, is that pay-per-view pre-shows generally are used to give wins to the babyfaces, so that's probably why he's favored so heavily—well, that and the fact that Barrett loses so much these days.
I think The Miz could leave this match with the belt so that creative can build him up some fake momentum as a babyface, but because this feud essentially just started, it could easily continue with Barrett scoring the cheap victory.
Barrett's odds are much better, and this match is one of the biggest tossups on the WrestleMania card. I'm taking the 11/4 odds for Barrett if I'm a betting man.
The Bet: Barrett
Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bellas
NOTE: Bovada does not list any odds for this match, so I'll try to come up with some on my own:
Tons of Funk and The Funkadactyls (2/1)
Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins (9/2)
In a match that is such a waste of Team Rhodes Scholars, they'll be teaming up with the Bella Twins (yawn) to take on the Brodus Clay-led Team of Funk.
This match really won't have any long-term effect on the WWE's storylines and seems to be more of a way to showcase Naomi, who's one of the most underutilized talents in the company, than anything else. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes certainly deserve a spot on the card, but I don't think their fans will like the result here.
This one is all about getting the team of dancing fat guys and hot dancing chicks the win because, for some reason or another, the WWE wants to get them over.
Team Rhodes Scholars hardly ever wins, and a loss isn't going to hurt the Bellas here. While I question ever booking Tons of Funk to win (they're boring as hell), it ultimately matters what the creative team wants to do.
Clearly, creative is pushing Tons of Funk at the moment, and Sandow and Rhodes lose all of the time. This is a no-brainer.
The Bet: Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Chris Jericho (17/4)
Obviously, Bovada sees this match like most of us do: as an opportunity for Jericho to put over Fandango in his first match ever under the gimmick.
I think that should and will be the result, but then again, we thought that Jericho was definitely going to lose to Dolph Ziggler at last year's SummerSlam PPV. And what happened? Jericho won.
The best move here is for Fandango to win because Jericho could lose 1,000 straight matches and still be over. Meanwhile, Fandango's momentum might be killed right out of the gate if he loses.
But at 1/8 odds, it's hard to bet on Fandango when the creative team doesn't always do the right thing.
Ultimately, I think that Y2J will do what he often does and put Fandango over (likely in cheap fashion). But at 17/4, I'll take Jericho as the long shot over Fandango as the odds-on favorite.
The Bet: Jericho
WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston
Team Hell No (10/13)
Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (1/1)
Judging by the nearly even odds here, Bovada is up in the air about who will win the WWE Tag Team Championship match.
I am too.
On one hand, the WWE could have Team Hell No lose the titles, implode and then build up a feud between Kane and Daniel Bryan. On the other hand, they could retain the titles because Ziggler shouldn't really be in the tag team picture.
Then again, does the WWE really want Langston to lose his first match? Better yet, will the WWE want to have Ziggler win the tag belts and then cash in to become World Heavyweight champion, too?
There are so many options here, and that's why this is one of the more unpredictable matches on the card.
But because Ziggler and Langston got the upper hand on this week's Raw (remember: look strong on TV, lose on PPV), I think they'll lose at the PPV. This will, of course, set Ziggler up to regain his momentum by cashing in to become World champion later in the show.
Look for Team Hell No to retain, but don't be surprised if they lose and implode instead.
The Bet: Team Hell No
Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Mark Henry (17/4)
You've probably noticed that the odds for Ryback vs. Henry are the same as the odds for Jericho vs. Fandango.
That's not a coincidence.
Much like Y2J/Fandango is seen by many as a chance for the established veteran to put over the rising star, that's what Henry/Ryback is all about, too. Even though Henry is booked to be one of the most dominant men on the roster, many see this match as nothing more than a chance for him to give Ryback a big win.
While I'm a little less confident that the WWE will give Fandango a huge win right out of the gate, I'm pretty sure that Ryback is finally going to get his signature win after racking up so many big losses.
Ryback has lost huge match after huge match over the past several months, and he obviously needs a big win right now. Meanwhile, Henry is on the tail end of his career and doesn't necessarily need to be winning these days.
Ryback gets the win here, and a mega-push follows.
The Bet: Ryback
The Shield vs. Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus
Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show (4/1)
The Shield (1/7)
The widespread expectation for this match is that The Shield will beat the trio of big-named stars after one of those stars turns heel.
In fact, this scenario has been talked about so much that, if this match plays out any other way, it will be a huge surprise to the hardcore fans. So, the WWE could choose to do just that and shock us, but ultimately, I think creative stays the course.
The Shield is going to have to lose at some point, but Orton, Sheamus and Show are established vets who, like Y2J, could lose 100 matches in a row and still not suffer from it because of all they've accomplished.
Show, Sheamus and Orton are here to do what both Ryback and Jericho are expected to do as well, and that's put over the rising stars of the WWE. This will likely happen when either Show or Orton turns heel and costs his team the match, because it's obvious that one of them is going to have to do so.
The Shield is the overwhelming favorite in this match, and rightfully so. There really shouldn't even be any consideration given to the possibility of the trio of top stars winning.
This one's all about The Shield, which will remain undefeated by winning on the grand stage of WrestleMania.
The Bet: The Shield
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Jack Swagger
Alberto Del Rio (1/5)
Jack Swagger (3/1)
The World Heavyweight Championship feud has been one of the more underwhelming rivalries on the road to WrestleMania, but I'm still intrigued by this match.
Why? Because it could result in a number of big "WrestleMania moments."
While many think Del Rio will retain because he's being built up as a top babyface these days (and because Swagger got arrested not too long ago), I think there's a very real possibility that Swagger surprises us all and beats Del Rio, likely in dirty fashion, to win the World title.
After all, this match really isn't about either ADR or Swagger. It's ultimately about Dolph Ziggler.
The outcome of this match probably isn't going to mean as much as what happens afterward, because this is the perfect opportunity for Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and become the World Heavyweight champion. In fact, he'll do exactly that.
In what should be a very good wrestling match, Swagger and Del Rio will put on a heck of a show, but neither will leave the PPV as World champion. Who will end up as World champion after their match, though?
I think it's clear that ADR is the favorite here, but at 3/1, it's hard not to take Swagger because he'll probably just lose the title a minute later anyway.
While Del Rio winning is actually more likely, look for Swagger to pull off the upset just so he can drop the title right afterward.
The Bet: Swagger
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Triple H (2/13)
Brock Lesnar (15/4)
It's been obvious for the better part of a year now that we'd get Triple H vs. Lesnar: The Rematch, and that Triple H would win that rematch.
The added "retirement" stipulation that was supposed to make this match more interesting has only made the outcome of it even more obvious and more predictable.
Triple H is not going to lose and retire when he only wrestles two or three times per year anyway. You don't retire from something that you're already basically retired from.
His match against Lesnar is perhaps one of the biggest wastes of a rematch in WWE history because of the oh-so-predictable outcome and the fact that no one really benefits from it in the long term since both wrestlers involved are part-timers.
In a perfect world, the retirement stipulation never would have been added, and Lesnar would have beaten Triple H again to build up some serious momentum as he heads into his next major match. But this is a world that's run by Triple H, so of course, he's going to win at WrestleMania 29.
Even if Triple H's odds were 1/250 and Lesnar's were 1,000/1, I'd still bet on Triple H. Yes, I'm that confident.
The Bet: Triple H
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk
The Undertaker (1/16)
CM Punk (7/1)
For perhaps the first time ever, there has been legitimate talk that "The Streak" could end, and of course, that it could be ended by CM Punk.
But that talk has cooled off a bit, and I can certainly see why.
According to PWInsider.com (via WrestlingInc.com), Punk will reportedly be taking time off after WrestleMania 29, so there's no real reason to have him end Undertaker's streak if he can't be around to brag about it. Also, Punk embarrassed and disrespected Undertaker so badly on this week's Raw that it made it rather obvious that Punk would lose at WrestleMania.
Although I think this is a golden opportunity for the WWE to end "The Streak," the way things are shaping up leads me to believe that that won't happen. Not now, not ever.
"The Streak" is what has largely defined Undertaker's career, and even though he'll be considered one of the greatest ever regardless of whether it ends or not, I don't think the WWE wants to risk hurting his legacy by having it end.
Punk will likely prove to be The Undertaker's biggest challenge yet, but there is probably a very minimal chance that he could actually beat The Undertaker. The Phenom will ultimately win this match like most expect him to.
But if I'm betting here, I'm taking a shot on Punk. You aren't going to win any money by picking The Undertaker, but if Punk does the unthinkable at 7/1 odds, you could actually win some dough.
The Bet: Punk
WWE Championship: The Rock (c) vs. John Cena
The Rock (11/2)
John Cena (1/10)
Much like Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, The Rock vs. John Cena is a rematch that we've expected to see for the better part of a year now.
And much like HHH vs. Lesnar, The Rock vs. Cena is a rematch that we know the outcome of: Cena will beat The Rock to become the WWE champion.
This has been the WWE's plan all along. The Rock beats Cena, and then a year later, Cena gets his revenge by beating The Rock, this time with the WWE Championship on the line.
It's been a rather lackluster and predictable storyline, but the bottom line is that the WWE doesn't care. The company was always going to make a boatload of money on WrestleMania 29 based on its star power alone, so that's why this not-so-anticipated rematch is happening again.
For whatever reason, the WWE feels like it needs The Rock to "pass the torch" to Cena even though Cena has held that torch for almost a decade now. Yeah, it's dumb, but what the WWE wants, the WWE gets.
What the WWE wants, of course, is for its biggest star to win the "big one" because I guess that winning 10 WWE Championships doesn't count as "winning the big one," right?
While The Rock vs. Cena will probably be pretty damn good wrestling-wise, the predictability of it all has killed the fans' interest in it. Cena is going to win, and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Don't waste your money betting on The Rock.
The Bet: Cena
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!