Answer is: Jeopardy GOAT Champion
Who is "We Bet the Winner before it aired on TV?
The first few weeks of January excitement is usually reserved for only the newest Bachelor premier but not 2020. This year will decide the all-time Jeopardy champion or what our sports obsessed culture terms the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). Or Wikipedia "Tom Brady the GOAT".
Starting on Tuesday evening and potentially lasting until next week, Jeopardy's three most famous stars, Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter will face off in front of ailing legendary host Alex Trebek. The competition should be fierce and exciting but the biggest question (or in Jeopardy terms answer) was the winner tipped-off in the pre-recorded event during December?
David Purdum of ESPN wrote an excellent investigative piece reporting that the greatest potential evidence the winner was revealed was reflected by major offshore wagering sites halting betting in December on the proposition wager. The bets, which were normally limited to $100 in this traditional "novelty betting" category was initiated in November and taken off the board in mid-December once a pattern of substantial favoritism toward one contestant was established.
Unofficially as a consensus from most of the preferred sportsbooks, Rutter was a narrow 6-5 favorite, followed by Hozhauer at 7-5 and Jennings hardly a competitive longshot at 9-5. A virtual pick-em.
Certainly no one could tag the individual contestants as potential culprits as the winner is to receive a $1 million dollar prize and the runners-up $250,000 each. For Jeopardy fanatics, with Rutter holding such a formidable all-time winnings lead over both Jennings and Holzhauer, there's only one scenario where the standings can change: If Holzhauer comes in first place in the tournament, winning $1 million, he'll surpass Jennings to become the second greatest all-time winner in the show’s history. Jennings will then drop to third.
Of course, "fix proponents" will point the finger at Holzhauer due to his well-known ties to his Las Vegas residence and occupation as a professional sports gambler. If he has any edge it's his handicapping skills beyond knowing the correct questions to estimating the right amount to wager in Jeopardy Daily Doubles and in Final Jeopardy.
No doubt anyone remotely associated with the Jeopardy taping, their friends or family could have gained inside knowledge of the outcome and therefore benefited financially by securing the name of the winner. The Jeopardy organization has promised to launch an investigation and thus far hasn’t offered up any official statement.
To me, the head-scratcher is why put up any line on a pre-recorded event of any kind or any competition that is not taking place live? It does make for good publicity, but in retrospect was the risk worth the gain?
The much bigger issue for the networks, why even risk having this type of multi-million-dollar competitive event PRE-RECORDED at all. If the Los Angeles Lakers can show-up live in the NBA playoffs for a month, I think these three dudes can last a week on a stage. Hopefully it was not a strategic decision regarding the health status of Alex Trebek. Other than that, I cannot figure out a legitimate reason or excuse. And IF the highly guarded status of the popular Jeopardy GOAT champion became revealed, why hasn't a media source like TMZ, Inside Edition or the National Enquirer taken advantage of the huge publicity opportunity?
In the new sector of U.S. licensed and regulated wagering, the state gaming commissions, which decide what non-game bets are allowed within a state, typically don't allow betting on something that is not decided on a field of play. There have been some notable exceptions, including MVP and most recently Heisman betting and, in New Jersey, the Oscars and Emmys. Most state statues include language stating pre-recording makes it in even harder to allow, as the results can more easily be compromised. Certainly, the profits driven would not be worth creating another possible "Blacksox scandal" over a Jeopardy tournament.
Offshore Casino Feedback
Overall the books knew this was a high-risk venture, quite different than say, the Oscars, where counted votes are under the highest security measures. Again, most sportsbooks only accepted maximum wagers up to $100 with some, including respected book Pinnacle, offering a $500 threshold. A continuous flow of wagering on one specific contestant with the maximum allowable bets among several sportsbooks signaled the problem.
The Ultimate Novelty Bet
If the wagering public is so fascinated with television and wagering outlets are still willing to allow betting on these "pre-recorded events", I offer up this ultimate novelty category suggestion:
Jeffrey Epstein was murdered in prison +250
Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in prison - 300
Headlines and news reports continue to run daily. The new investigation is set out to rule through coroner's reports, doctor reviews, insurance company judgments and a full judicial process a final verdict. It will forever go down along with Jimmy Hoffa as a debated mystery but here sets up as a prime betting opportunity. Too bad they can’t put up the final Epstein verdict on network television. But maybe I can get in touch with ABC or CBS to offer up a great one-hour special with many novelty props available.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.