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Las Vegan James Holzhauer favored to win ‘Jeopardy!’ tournament

The Westgate sportsbook made James Holzhauer the favorite Wednesday to win the “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament, an ABC special event that will debut Jan. 7.

Holzhauer opened as the plus 125 favorite over Ken Jennings (+175) and Brad Rutter (+300) in the showdown of the three leading money winners in the history of the game show. But the odds are for entertainment purposes only.

The Westgate asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board about taking bets on the tournament.

But the state requires requests for approval to accept wagers on a nontraditional event to be submitted by a book at least 30 days before the event.

That ruled out the “Jeopardy!” tournament, which Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said will be taped in early December.

“They seemed to be receptive to us inquiring, but there just wasn’t enough lead time for us to apply to do it,” Sherman said.

According to Michael Lawton, a NGCB senior research analyst, the board received a request for wagers on the Academy Awards in 2017, but that request was denied.

Offshore books already are accepting wagers on the “Jeopardy!” event. BetOnline made Holzhauer a minus 200 favorite over Rutter (+175) and Jennings (+225).

Bovada listed Holzhauer as the plus 125 favorite over Rutter (+150) and Jennings (+190) on Wednesday after Rutter opened as the plus 280 third choice behind Holzhauer (+110) and Jennings (+115).

Holzhauer, 35, won $2.46 million during a 32-game win streak on the show this year and made $250,000 for winning the recent Tournament of Champions to bring his total winnings to $2,712,216.

Jennings, 45, compiled a record 74-game win streak in 2004 and has won a total of $3,370,700 on the show.

Rutter, 41, has total winnings of $4,688,436 and has never lost a game of “Jeopardy!” to a human opponent. He and Jennings lost to a computer in a 2011 match.

“Holzhauer is playing aggressively and will be very tough to beat, while Jennings and Rutter, though successful, were winners more than a decade ago,” BetOnline sportsbook manager Dave Mason said.

The first contestant to win three games in the series of hourlong specials will earn the $1 million grand prize. The runners-up will take home $250,000 each.

The matches will air Jan. 7 to 9. If necessary, additional games will air Jan. 10 and Jan. 14 to 16.

More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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