WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Updated Odds, Betting Picks for Men's, Women's Matches

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2018

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Updated Odds, Betting Picks for Men's, Women's Matches

0 of 6

    Shinsuke Nakamura
    Shinsuke Nakamuracredit: wwe.com

    The 2018 Royal Rumble takes place in Philadelphia Sunday, and the WWE faithful are hoping for a great night of action. That's especially true because Raw 25 failed to impress many fans, who expected so much more from the company.

    The WWE Universe may get what it wants this time and more, as the Royal Rumble is one of the promotion's biggest events. That night marks the beginning of The Road to WrestleMania, so it's an important time for Vince McMahon's company. Upcoming storylines leading to 'Mania may not be evident, but the situation should become much clearer after the Royal Rumble is over.

    That's because the Superstar who wins the men's Rumble match punches his ticket to a championship bout at WrestleMania 34. The winner could easily be picked out of a line-up in years past, but that is not the case this time around.

    There seems to be no clear-cut favorite among fans. It could be that WWE has not spent as much time on the process as it has before. Or it could be that the traditional Battle Royal is being overshadowed by a second Rumble match.

    For the first time, 30 female Superstars will compete in a women's Royal Rumble. The last woman standing will book a title match of her own at WrestleMania 34. It should be a historic night, not only for WWE but for the business as well.

    The event's other four contests will all feature championships, which means the company has stacked the card. But it's the Royal Rumble matches that have everyone talking.

    So who are the top picks to win each Rumble?

Shinsuke Nakamura

1 of 6

    Shinsuke Nakamura
    Shinsuke Nakamuracredit: wwe.com

    Shinsuke Nakamura needs this win, and OddsShark reports that bookmakers believe he will get it.

    Nakamura is a +100 favorite to win the men's Rumble match (wager $100 to win $100), and his fans will believe having him triumph is the right move. Nakamura has been a sensation since debuting on the main roster in April, but he's not been the megastar that many believed he would be.

    He's had his moments to shine but did not succeed in taking the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal, which left fans wondering what the company's plans were for The King of Strong Style. Could it be that Nakamura was destined to be nothing more than an attraction with no hope of becoming the top titleholder?

    However, in November, when AJ Styles became WWE champion for the second time, everything suddenly came into focus.

    Styles versus Nakamura is the match everyone wants to see. That's been true from the moment The King of Strong Style came to WWE. He and Styles appear to be on a collision course, and if they are, then Sunday may be the perfect night to get them moving in the right direction.

    Nakamura is a star, and if anyone deserves to compete on the Grandest Stage of Them All against arguably the best wrestler in the world, it's him. He is one of the most popular Superstars in WWE, and he should be treated like the top guy that he is.

    Perhaps that will begin at the Royal Rumble. But a certain Big Dog on the red brand could ruin those plans.

Roman Reigns

2 of 6

    Roman Reigns
    Roman Reignscredit: wwe.com

    For as many fans as there are who want to see Nakamura win the Royal Rumble, there are likely just as many who do not want the same for Roman Reigns.

    Regardless of how hard he works and no matter how much the company supports him, Reigns continues to find himself the target of hate among the WWE Universe. Many fans just do not want him to succeed, and it doesn't seem as if that's going to change anytime soon.

    But that does not mean he can't become a two-time Rumble winner Sunday.

    OddsShark shows bookmakers have Reigns at +350 to be the last man standing, which means The Big Dog could bring home the win for the red brand and consequently face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34. And if that happens, then fans on hand at the event may riot before the opening bell even rings.

    Reigns versus Lesnar is just not the match fans want. However, just as Styles versus Nakamura seems destined to happen, so too does this one. But Reigns doesn't necessarily have to win the men's Rumble in order to make his match with the universal champion a reality.

    WWE has had no problem with putting Reigns over in big matches in the past. Perhaps the same will be true in this year's men's Royal Rumble match.

    But what if he steps into that ring with the SmackDown Live general manager?

Daniel Bryan

3 of 6

    Daniel Bryan
    Daniel Bryancredit: wwe.com

    Daniel Bryan's last pro wrestling match took place on April 14, 2015. Since then, fans have speculated on just how serious his career-ending injuries were and whether he should be allowed to compete in a WWE ring.

    Bryan wants to return to the ring, saying as much on an August 2017 edition of E&C's Pod of Awesomeness (h/t William Windsor of Wrestling Inc). So is there a possibility his recent issues with commissioner Shane McMahon could lead Bryan back into the ring?

    OddsShark shows bookmakers have Bryan at +350 to win the men's Royal Rumble. That means despite his retirement and WWE's refusal to let him compete again, there has been enough buzz regarding a possible comeback that he is the bout's joint-second favorite. If he does return, the company would only be able to protect him to a certain point. After that, Bryan's fate would be in his own hands.

    Could Bryan work with a different style? His frenzied pace made him exciting to watch before, but it may not be the best thing for him. That's not to say he should slow down to a crawl in the ring, but what else could he do to ensure he came out of the squared circle in good shape?

    The final decision is WWE's, and if an agreement has been reached behind the scenes, fans may not know until the last possible moment. 

    The same could be said of a certain former UFC megastar who may turn the women's division upside down.

Ronda Rousey

4 of 6

    Ronda Rousey
    Ronda RouseyBryan Steffy/Getty Images

    Ronda Rousey versus Charlotte Flair is perhaps the biggest dream match WWE fans can imagine for the women's division. But what are the chances it will become a reality?

    The rumor mill surrounding the former UFC women's bantamweight champion has been turning for much of 2017, and it's continued into 2018. Fans cannot stop talking about her. She's not fought for the UFC since December 2016, and she's a huge pro wrestling fan. She seemingly has time to commit to the business, and WWE is always ready to make waves by bringing in a mainstream star.

    It does appear to be the perfect combination, and OddsShark shows that bookmakers agree. Rousey is favored at +150 to win the first women's Royal Rumble match. But Rousey's signing for Vince McMahon's company has yet to be announced; is WWE keeping her under wraps?

    If so, the truth may be revealed at the Royal Rumble. Rousey could enter the match at No. 30, which means she would probably only be in the ring with a few Superstars. It would be her first time competing in a WWE ring, and she would most certainly be ready for her moment.

    But would the fans be ready? Would the WWE faithful accept her, or would they automatically view her as an outsider and turn on her? Rousey enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity in her UFC days, but would that carry over to WWE?

    The fact is if Rousey versus Charlotte is going to happen at WrestleMania 34, the best place to get it started would be the Royal Rumble. Rousey would fit right in, but that's no guarantee she would immediately become the most dominant performer in the women's division.

    That title belongs to a Superstar who could maintain her undefeated streak Sunday.

Asuka

5 of 6

    Asuka
    Asukacredit: wwe.com

    Asuka is still undefeated, and many fans expect her to remain that way for the foreseeable future, which would mean she is set to win the women's Royal Rumble match. The Empress of Tomorrow has been perhaps the most dominant female Superstar WWE has ever seen, and the company has been committed to her since she burst on to the scene in NXT in 2015.

    Will Sunday be her night?

    OddsShark shows Asuka is listed at +200 to win the women's Rumble, and a good majority of fans believe that's the way the company should go. 2017 was her breakout year, and no other woman in WWE was arguably a bigger star than her. If she were to compete in the company's first women's Royal Rumble match but lose, then why did her monster booking happen in the first place?

    Asuka seems to be the only logical choice to win it all Sunday. She's not an outsider who has yet to work a match; she is a star and possibly the best female talent in the company.

    The Empress of Tomorrow is ready to realize her main event potential. So why not book her to win?

    It would be the smart move for WWE, one that would surely lead to a great match for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 34.

    But just because booking Asuka to win is logical does not mean it will happen; a certain steampunk Superstar could emerge as the surprise victor.

Becky Lynch

6 of 6

    Becky Lynch
    Becky Lynchcredit: wwe.com

    Of the Women's Revolution members, Becky Lynch is perhaps the most loved among fans.

    She doesn't strut like Charlotte. She doesn't brag like Sasha Banks. Lynch just gets in the ring and outworks everyone else. That's been her character from Day 1, and that is why she is such a popular Superstar. 

    Fans know that when Lynch is in the ring, she will deliver. She's perhaps the most skilled female Superstar in the company, and she proves that every time she steps through the ropes. Just as Dolph Ziggler is a reliable five-star performer in the men's division, so too is Lynch for the women's division.

    She's always on her game, and she's always ready to shine.

    So even though OddsShark has her listed at +650 to win the women's Rumble, fans should not be surprised if her arm is raised in the end. Charlotte versus Ronda Rousey would be a major dream match, but it doesn't necessarily need the SmackDown Women's Championship.

    Asuka is incredible in the ring, but she will lose eventually and does not need the title to get over.

    But Lynch is a workhorse who could believably fight her way through 29 other women in order to earn a victory. She would then prove her mettle once again in a Women's Championship match at WrestleMania 34. Lynch can do anything asked of her and do it better than anyone else.

    She's just that good.

                            

    Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X