Holzhauer an Early Betting Favorite for “Jeopardy!” ‘GOAT’ Tournament

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Heading into the Holiday season, “Jeopardy James” Holzhauer reclaimed his throne as the king of “Jeopardy!” by winning the show’s “Tournament of Champions.”

Not only did the 35-yeard old sports bettor from Las Vegas entertain the masses with his usual in-game bravado, he also defeated Emma Boettcher who ended his record breaking 32-game winning streak in early June.

The rematch between Holzhauer and Boettcher was a ratings success and it inspired the longtime game show to create a new tournament that will pit the gameshow’s all-time biggest winners against each other in the “Greatest of All Time Tournament.”

As soon as the news broke about this tournament, entertainment betting sites buzzed in quicker than “Jeopardy James” on the trigger and released odds on who will win this epic showdown.

Cue the “Final Jeopardy!” music as we examine these “Jeopardy!” betting odds, take a look at all of the “GOAT” tournament’s details and give an early prediction on who will become the game show’s greatest player of all time.

“Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time Tournament Details

For the first time in 30 years, ABC will air “Jeopardy!” in primetime for all episodes of this Greatest of All-Time tournament. It’s fitting considering that ABC’s Rob Mills, the head of reality programming, apparently came up with the idea for the tournament.

Mills and other ABC executives believe this tournament will be a huge success. And, they should have this confidence because the ratings averaged 8.8 million viewers this season with a peak of 14 million during Holzhauer’s run this spring.

When Will the “Jeopardy!” GOAT Tournament Take Place?

This tournament will take place beginning on January 7th, 2020, at 8 ET/PT. It features a series of two back-to-back games that could last from three to seven days.

How Does the “Jeopardy!” GOAT Tournament Work?

Each set of back-to-back games is considered a match. The player with the most money over the back-to-back games will win the match. The tournament will conclude after a player has won three matches.

How Much Money Will the GOAT Tournament Winner Take Home?

The prizes for this tournament are unparalleled with any previous Jeopardy or gameshow tournament. The winner will take home $1 million dollars and the right to call himself the “greatest player of all time.” The second and third place contestants will earn $250,000 apiece.

Why These Three Contestants for the GOAT Tournament?

James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter are the three greatest players in the history of “Jeopardy!”. They’ve won a combined total of nearly $10 million dollars in prize money, over 100 episodes and numerous tournaments.

“Jeopardy!” iconic host Alex Trebek commented on the upcoming GOAT tournament:

“When James had his run last year, a lot of people were wondering, well how would he do against Ken Jennings? How would he do against Brad Rutter? (They’re) our two most successful players in “Jeopardy!” history. These three players have won close to $10 million in ‘Jeopardy!’ prize money and over 100 games among them, so it was logical.”

“Jeopardy!” Greatest of All-Time Tournament Betting Odds

Online betting sites jumped all over the massive success of James Holzhauer and are already taking futures bets on this historic GOAT tournament. The following is the latest “Jeopardy!” betting odds courtesy of BetOnline:

Who Will Win “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time Tournament?

  • James Holzhauer (-175)
  • Brad Rutter (+175)
  • Ken Jennings (+225)

When the odds were first released in mid-November, Holzhauer was just a +110 betting favorite with Jennings at +115 and Rutter at +280. Now, Holzhauer is a large betting favorite against players that have won more money and more tournaments than he has.

Rutter, the all-time leader in money won, has been the biggest riser as he’s gone from +280 to +175. However, that makes Jennings, the contestant who’s won the most consecutive shows ever, the biggest loser as he’s fallen from a +115 to a +225.

On the surface, there appears to be a great deal of betting value with Jennings and Rutter. Let’s take a deeper dive into these three men to see where our early money should go.

James Holzhauer: ‘A Riverboat Gambler’

Holzhauer took social media and the gameshow by storm earlier this year when he demonstrated a bravado unlike anything we’ve seen before. His quick reflexes and in-game strategy quickly gained national attention.

Holzhauer employed a sports betting approach to the game in how he selected the clues. He tried to gain as much money as possible in a hurry so that he can gain even more when hitting the “Daily Double!”. It was a strategy that worked as Holzhauer dominated his opponents.

Holzhauer earned the nickname “Jeopardy James” and even had some ABC executives calling him a riverboat gambler. Holzhauer brought viewers back to the show and put “Jeopardy!” back in the primetime spotlight.

James would go on a 32 game winning streak and racked up over $2.46 million dollars during his winning streak. He also set the record for most money won on a single episode with $131,127.

Fans were in awe of his aggressiveness, quirkiness and intelligence. But, like all other good things in life, his streak came to an end when he lost to Emma Boettcher.

Five months later, Holzhauer would get his revenge when he defeated Boettcher in the Tournament of Champions. He snagged the top prize which was $250,000 dollars

Despite his incredible run, Holzhauer finished second behind Jennings in all-time episode wins, second behind Jennings in total money won during regular episodes, and third behind both Jennings and Rutter for most money won on Jeopardy including tournaments.

In addition to his “Jeopardy!” skills, Holzhauer also has some serious “Twitter game.”

Brad Rutter: All Time Money Winner

Brad Rutter is the all-time leader in money earned for “Jeopardy!” at $4.87 million dollars. However, Rutter had to win most of that through tournaments because his 2000 appearance was still at a time when they only let winners play a maximum of five episodes.

During his five-day reign, Rutter only won $55,102 dollars and two cars which brought his overall total up to roughly $97,000. He earned the other $4 million dollars in tournament play.

Another fascinating stat about Rutter is that in his five episodes and 16 tournaments, Rutter has never lost to another human. However, he did lose to an IBM computer in a “Jeopardy!” tournament that also had Ken Jennings as the other opponent.

With that said, Rutter is unbeaten against humans which is something that both Holzhauer and Jennings are unable to claim.

Ken Jennings: Most Episode Wins

The third member of this tournament is Ken Jennings who holds a record that will probably never be broken with 74 consecutive episode wins. That winning streak netted Jennings a cool $2.52 million dollars. His streak ended when he lost to Nancy Zerg. Jennings failed to get the “Final Jeopardy!” answer correct.

In tournament play, Jennings has earned another million dollars which brings him to a total of $3.52 million. However, he’s second behind Rutter for all-time winnings. He’s also finished second to Rutter in a handful of tournaments as well.

When Holzhauer was bumped from the show on his 33rd appearance, Jennings told the media that he would love to face off against James. He will now get that opportunity.

Although Jennings is now the biggest underdog of the three, he definitely has the “Jeopardy!” skills to win this tournament. Additionally, he’s showed some “Twitter game” as well with a shot at Holzhauer:

Who Will Win the “Jeopardy!” GOAT Tournament?

Holzhauer is the betting favorite largely due to his recent run on the gameshow and his aggressive playing style. He’s also in better “Jeopardy shape” than Rutter who played in 2000 and Jennings who played in 2004.

Nevertheless, both Jennings and Rutter have appeared in tournaments as recently as just a couple of months ago. So, they will definitely be prepared for the upcoming GOAT tournament.

As for the wager, I still have the same thoughts as I did as soon as I first heard about the tournament and saw the opening odds. The value and the pick is Brad Rutter.

Rutter has never lost to another human being. His only defeat came to an evil computer on the verge of taking over the world. Other than that, he’s beaten every other top winner that “Jeopardy!” has had except for Holzhauer. Rutter has even beat the “Brainiac” Ken Jennings multiple times.

Rutter and Jennings both appeared on the “Jeopardy!” All-Star Games in March and Rutter’s team defeated Jennings’ and Colby’s teams. Whether it’s solo or on a team, unless it’s against evil cyborgs, Rutter is unbeatable.

“Jeopardy!” GOAT Prop Bet: Brad Rutter (+175)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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