A six week break since Roadblock: End of the Line transpired has given the fans time to build up their hunger for the return of World Wrestling Entertainment to pay per view. The funny thing is you don’t really need to make them ravenous for the Royal Rumble, which is by widespread agreement one of the “Big Four” WWE events each year. In terms of popularity it’s only exceeded by WrestleMania itself. What creates that level of excitement? The speculation. Everyone loves to argue and debate about who will be in the 30 man over-the-top elimination Rumble match that is the signature event of the PPV, and perhaps more importantly, who will WIN the match to earn a guaranteed WrestleMania title shot. Now before I go any further on this topic I’d like you to remember two things. First and foremost pro wrestling isn’t “sport,” it’s “sports entertainment.” The odds you are about to see below don’t reflect who is athletically superior — they reflect WWE’s long term plans going into WrestleMania and how likely they are to change. The second thing to remember is that Vince McMahon is the ultimate wildcard to those odds. Even if he’s had a plan for weeks, months, or almost an entire year he could change his mind based on a strong crowd reaction or a stray hair in his pasta. His whims mean you can’t ever consider anything a 100% lock in the odds, though when he has to fill Camping World Stadium (the former Citrus Bowl) in Orlando on April 2nd, he’s more likely than usual to pick a direction and stick with it. Now then — here’s what we know based on the current Royal Rumble betting odds. There are a few clear favorites to win the Rumble match and go on to headline WrestleMania. Long time veteran Undertaker is +190 against the field at -270, so even if he doesn’t win he’s a big part of the show in April. That puts him ahead of Bill Goldberg (+310) and Braun Strowman (+325). Based on the reaction he got at Survivor Series and the amount they paid him to come back, Goldberg is actually my favorite among the current odds. Anything else would waste WWE’s money. From there it starts getting longer quickly. Randy Orton is on the outside bubble at +380 as is Finn Balor at +450, Samoa Joe is +550, and it falls off a cliff from there with Jericho at +1200. To my surprise Goldberg’s rival Brock Lesnar is way behind at +1300. Believe it or not though there are some other matches besides the 30 man elimination. John Cena is a narrow favorite (-145) to beat AJ Styles (+105) for the WWE Championship. Roman Reigns (-195) is a more clear favorite to beat Kevin Owens (+155) for the Universal Championship, no matter how much the Alamo Dome might boo. Charlotte Flair (-460) is a strong favorite to retain over Bayley (+320) for the Women’s Title, and Neville (-380) looks to take the Cruiserweight Title off Rich Swann (+260) though I actually believe the champ might retain in that one as an underdog on one of those Vince McMahon whims. And hey — if you want to blow some money on a literal million to one shot, Titus O’Neil is +55000 to win the 30 man elimination and the field is -999999 against him. As always these previews are for entertainment purposes only and if you wager please only do what you can afford. Enjoy the 2017 Royal Rumble!