4128c1c0e5c725adaab6e8f254cd37fc_crop_northThings didn’t go exactly as predicted at Money in the Bank last month. The consensus opinion was that Roman Reigns would be the one to climb the ladder and collect the briefcase with a guaranteed title shot in it – the betting odds even had him a -420 favorite against the field. Despite that it was actually the tall Irishman Sheamus who prevailed against the odds, out of a field that was collectively +300 against Reigns. That’s what happens in the scripted world of WWE though. You should always keep in mind that you’re not betting on the physical merits of the athletes who perform (and they are some of the world’s best athletes – drawn from the ranks of football players, collegiate wrestlers and professional fighters) – you are betting on the whims of the writing team in general and Vince McMahon in particular. For example – at tonight’s WWE Battleground event on the WWE Network, Bray Wyatt is actually a small -140 favorite over Reigns at +100. By the time you read this Vince may have changed his mind though, and by the time the show starts at 8 PM ET (pre-show starts at 7) he may have changed it again. Be sure to check the latest odds before placing any wagers. Tonight’s featured match is Seth Rollins defending the WWE World Heavyweight Title against the ferocious and fearsome Brock Lesnar. When you talk about genuine athletes in professional wrestling, Lesnar is as real as they come, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion who throws bodies around with such reckless abandon that WWE turned his accidental “Suplex City b$%!#” catchphrase from WrestleMania into an entire line of t-shirts. Again if this were an absolutely real physical battle and not scripted you’d have no question as to the outcome, and indeed Lesnar is the -180 favorite going in, but my gut instinct tells me to bet the dog Rollins at +140. From a wrestling booking point of view, the money is in the chase and not in the conquest, and if they want to make more money they’ll have Rollins do something nefarious to elude Lesnar’s revenge until SummerSlam. On the other hand Lesnar may “win” in a technical sense but not get the title, since Rollins can be counted out or disqualified and still retain. Other lines of interest to the fans are as follows: The Prime Time Players and The New Day are almost even money at -135 and -105 respectively. I’d bet PTP to retain the tag titles if I bet that line at all. The same holds true for Kevin Owens vs. John Cena at -135 and -105. Owens gains more credibility if he wins the third match in their series and takes a 2-1 lead, and Cena doesn’t need the United States Title to be over with the fans. Sheamus and Randy Orton are absolutely dead even at -120 each so I’d avoid it altogether. King Barrett is a heavy favorite over R-Truth at -400 to +280 but I’d call the latter a “live dog” as they say in the betting parlance given WWE’s penchant for humiliating Barrett. As always the outcomes are predetermined, but the whims of the writers and employees are not, so bet with this knowledge and bet only what you can afford. Enjoy WWE Battleground!

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