Professional wrestling may not be considered a “real sport” with many, but it sure draws like one at the sportsbook.
Wagering on WWE events has become a popular prop bet among online sports bettors and wrestling fans, and it doesn’t get any bigger than Wrestlemania 29, which takes over MetLife Stadium in New Jersey Sunday night.
“I not going to ham this up, but we have an unbelievable client base that loves WWE matchups,” says Russ Candler of online sportsbook UWin.com. “This event will take two or three times as many bets as any NASCAR race.”
This year’s Wrestlemania is especially enticing to bettors, with fan favorites The Rock and John Cena doing battle in the main event. Books currently have The Rock, the WWE champion, set between a +500 and +600 underdog versus Cena, who is as big as -1,200.
Candler says The Rock – Dwayne Johnson as he’s more commonly known now for his Hollywood movies – is discounted because of his uncertain future with the WWE. He recently starred in the latest G.I. Joe flick, has an upcoming movie with Mark Wahlberg, and is preparing to play Hercules on the big screen.
“The comeback party is over for The Rock. He had his day at the Royal Rumble beating C.M. Punk but he's taking on a true WWE Superstar here,” says Candler. “This could be his cue to head off into the sunset again. I'm happy to lay any fancy prices on The Rock.”
Another match drawing betting action is the comeback fight for Triple H versus former WWE champion and UFC fighter Brock Lesnar. Books currently have Triple H between -333 and -750 despite being out of action for awhile and losing his most recent run-in with Lesnar (between +225 and +450) at Summer Slam in August.
“If this matchup was against a true WWE Superstar, I'd happily take him on,” says Candler. “But as it’s against a fighter who is not only disliked but also another one who would happily bugger off and do something else at the drop of a hat, I've got to be with Triple H.”
The longest odds on the Wrestlemania XXIX card go to C.M. Punk, who as big as a +750 underdog to snap The Undertaker’s unblemished 20-0 record at Wrestlemania. “The Dead Man” is a -1,500 favorite to continue the streak, which began back at Wrestlemania XII in 1991. Candler says there is no shortage of motivation for The Undertaker, who recently lost former manager Paul Bearer, but the biggest dog of the night may pack the hardest bite.
“You've heard it here first. C.M. Punk defeats The Undertaker and destroys his 20-0 record,” he predicts. “I know the Undertaker has an amazing record at Wrestlemania, I know he could win and dedicate it to Paul Bearer, I know the WWE doesn't want to tarnish a WWE Superstar. But he's up against one of the organization’s latest legends. This could be Punk’s rise back to the summit.”
Here’s a look at the full card of odds for Wrestlemania XXIX:
John Cena (-1000) vs. The Rock (+500)
Alberto Del Rio (-277) vs. Jack Swagger (+200)
The Undertaker (-1250) vs. CM Punk (+600)
Triple H (-333) vs. Brock Lesnar (+225)
The Shield (-357) vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show (+250)
Ryback (-303) vs. Mark Henry (+225)
Fandango (-277) vs. Chris Jericho (+200)
Team Hell No (+175) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langton (-250)