After the lull in the wrestling year we call Tables, Ladders & Chairs (and Stairs) it’s time to bring back excitement with one of the “Big Four” of the calendar year. That’s right! Just one day after Anthony “Rumble” Johnson earned a UFC light heavyweight title shot, it’s time for WWE’s annual Royal Rumble. The popular event is considered the kickoff for the “Road to WrestleMania” and coincidentally “kicks” the one weekend in January when significant football games don’t – between the end of the NFL playoffs and the BIG GAME. Sure you could watch the Pro Bowl, but there’s nothing on the line there, whereas the winner of the 30 man over-the-top battle royal at the Rumble is GUARANTEED a WrestleMania title shot. Needless to say this leads to a whole plethora of betting options for Sunday night. If you’re playing it safe on the money line, Roman Reigns is the -210 favorite against the field (at +160) with less than a day to go before the big show (no not Paul Wight). If I were you though I’d keep checking the lines right up until the pre-show kicks off at 7 PM ET on the WWE Network. Vince McMahon is known to change his mind frequently about the major events of the WWE calendar year, and when the smart money comes in late, that often means a new script for the show has leaked out. They’ve been known to purposefully leak fake scripts just to throw off the oddsmakers though – anything is possible. Daniel Bryan may be a +250 dog against the field (-350) as of this writing, but if you were going to play a dog this wouldn’t be a bad choice as he’s a fan favorite and could build a lot of excitement about WrestleMania this year if he wins. The reason to not bet Bryan would be that even if he DOESN’T win, WWE could still write him into Mania after the Rumble, pulling a magic stipulation out of their bag of tricks. If you really want to get insane though you could play a BIG dog like Damien Mizdow (+8500) or R-Truth (+11000) but those odds are an accurate reflection of how likely they are to main event WWE’s biggest PPV of the year – and that’s what’s at stake for the winner. I don’t think they’re going to get one million people to by a show headlined by Damien Mizdow – and I like him – but that’s not going to happen. Even though the battle royal will take up a third of the show by itself there’s still other action to consider. Brock Lesnar is the -270 favorite to retain the WWE Heavyweight Title over John Cena and Seth Rollins (+190) which feels like a safe bet – especially given that if they want the title off Lesnar they could have Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank contract AFTER the match ends. The Usos are -350 to retain their tag titles against The Miz/Mizdow (+250), The Ascension are heavy favorites to beat the New Age Outlaws (-600/+400) and Paige/Natalya (-160) are expected to beat the Bella Twins (+120). Make sure you get the updated numbers before placing any wagers on the show, and as always these previews are for entertainment purposes only. If you do bet please only bet what you can afford. Enjoy the Rumble!