World's Hardest Land Animal voting starts today – Hippopotamus favored to repeat, Honey Badger a live longshot
It has been a long, tough road for the various animals around the world, but we are finally here on the big day.
On the same day that the NCAA will crown its Men’s Basketball Tournament winner, the World’s Hardest Land Animal competition gets underway on .
There will be 32 animals fighting it out in eight group stage groups, much like the World Cup, with the eight winners and eight runners-up advancing to the 16-team knockout rounds, then ultimately down to one king of the world.
Last year, the hippopotamus rampaged through the field to win the crown of World’s Hardest Land Animal, and it will come in again as a massive favorite in the betting odds after it won another African Regional title last month.
The other region champions are as follows:
Asia: Bengal Tiger
Australasia: Saltwater Crocodile
Britain: Wild Boar
Europe: Polar Bear
North America: Grizzly Bear
South America: Anaconda
“Yeah, Hippo is the favourite for me,” Huyton said, as he gets ready for the week-long madness that is the World’s Hardest Land Animal competition. “It's hard to look beyond the Hippo given its form. The African Elephant and White Rhino should be its biggest rivals for the title, but the Honey Badger is a very live underdog. It wouldn't surprise me if the Honey Badger won its group with any of the aforementioned animals, given its fan base.”
Just from that list, the field looks to be competitive, but there are also some fan favorites scattered throughout the event. Huyton talked about the Honey Badger, which qualified out of the Aftrican Regional, but there was also another that came from the Asia Regional that got swept into the World’s thanks to some backing, due to its perceived involvement in the COVID-19 pandemic’s beginnings.
“The Pangolin is the big surprise to make it,” Huyton said. “It probably never expected to make it to World's, but world events made everything align perfectly for it.”
Of course, when you have qualifying for events like this, much like the World Cup or the EURO 2020, there are always teams that disappoint in the continental qualification that fall short of the big stage. This year was no different, and Huyton was stunned to see some of the favorites never get moving.
“The big disappointments are the Indian Rhino not qualifying and the Cassowary,” Huyton said. “Indian Rhino just didn't take it seriously and was caught cold and performed poorly. The Cassowary was probably just unfortunate, but I'd have personally had it in.”
But now, the region tournaments are in the past, and the final week-long sprint to find the World’s Hardest Land Animal will commence at 10 a.m. EDT (3 p.m. in England, where Huyton is based). Huyton is ready to see how the .
“I am very excited,” Huyton said. “The Group Stages and Round of 16 are the best for me. The groups are randomised, so anyone can face anyone and big names can drop out at the first hurdle.”
You can for the eight groups, with the knockout rounds coming Tuesday through Saturday. Check back with Bettors Insider daily to see how the competition is progressing, and also for other predictions from around the world of sport.
TOP FIVE FAVORITES
Hippo (3-1): the reigning champion is coming for his crown.
Grizzly Bear (6-1): the people love bears, and the North American champion is set for a deep run.
Polar Bear (8-1): another of the bears, the European champion will be in with a chance late.
African Elephant (8-1): gets huge backing, and should be there at the end.
Kodiak Bear (12-1): again, the people love bears.
THREE LIVE UNDERDOGS
Honey Badger (26-1): will not win, but gets a lot of backing due to a cult following.
Pangolin (50-1): might have started the COVID-19 pandemic, and will get some backing.
Komodo Dragon (50-1): much like the bears, people love dragons.