Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer shares his worst bet for Super Bowl LIV

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LAS VEGAS — James Holzhauer never was noticed, even in his adopted town of Vegas, till his magical two-month run on “Jeopardy,” when he won $2.46 million in 33 episodes. He started getting recognized in Prague, Barcelona and Lisbon because of his hot streak on the game show that’s been alive since before man walked on the moon. (True story: “Are you the Jeopardy guy?” he got asked on his European vacation in June. Several times.)

There’s a football element to Holzhauer, which is mostly why he’s in this space. He’s a big football bettor, and he’s so good at it that he’s got limits of how much he can put down on his bets at most Vegas sports books. So we talked “Jeopardy,” but we talked a lot of NFL too.

“If I had to pick a team or two to make it to the Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl, the boring answer is the Patriots and the Rams,” he told me, sitting a table away from an octogenarian couple. They were nibbling at chicken sandwiches before noon Sunday. “Everyone knows these guys are the best teams out there. But if you’re looking to invest in a futures ticket, I would say that the big thing to avoid is look away from the teams that have all the hype surrounding them. I can’t believe we live in a world where the Cleveland Browns are the most hyped team in the preseason. But I would say they’re probably the single worst bet to win the Super Bowl right now.”

Whoa.

On the show, I thought it was interesting to watch Holzhauer play the board from the bottom, making the big bets first instead of working up from easy to hard. It was cool to watch him bet absurd amounts all the time. “It’s a lot easier when it’s me doing the work than when I’m watching a player fumble away my bet at the last second,” he said. “You get the idea that money comes and goes especially in this line of work I’m in. I’m a pro sports gambler. You have winning days and you have losing days. But you know if you’ve got the right strategy, you’re going to get it in the end.

“I started taking the online tests to get on the show about 13 years ago. If they had called me that first year, honestly, I probably would’ve just been another forgettable contestant. As time went on, it kind of felt like, ‘Hey wait a minute. I only got one shot at this, maybe I need to really maximize that one shot.’ Do everything I can right. Take a little time, do my studying, know what I need to know and develop a really good game plan going in and just think, How would a gambler approach Jeopardy to maximize his winnings? That was basically how I was playing up there.”

One of the bets Holzhauer likes this year, and every recent year, is a futures bet on the two teams with the playoff byes. “If you dig deep into the numbers,” he said, “you can get an idea of which teams have the inside track at the bye weeks and the tiebreakers come into play. There are times where there’s a decent chance that two teams will end up tied for the second and third spot, but one team has the tiebreaker locked up and you don’t always see that reflected in the odds … The one seed, just by virtue of having to play only two home games, would win the conference about 35 percent of the time and make it to the Super Bowl. The two team makes it about 29 percent, and the three seed makes it like 11 percent. That’s just an enormous gap between the two and the three. At least the past five or six years, something like that, you keep seeing the one and two seeds advancing to the Super Bowl.”

One other thing: Bet on Sunday nights for the week ahead. “If they put the odds up for next week’s football games on a Sunday night, there’s not a lot of thought that goes into that,” he said. “But you give people a week to bet on this, the odds are going to be a lot more efficient.” Oh, and one other thing after that: Bet on college football. There’s not as much attention paid to those games.

Holzhauer told me about the time in his life when he was told he couldn’t do something. And damn if he didn’t sound like a undrafted rookie who’d been doubted, and then rushed for 1,000 yards or caught 80 balls. Seriously: This line coming up made Holzhauer sound like Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay, ignored in the draft and then rushing for 1,037 yards as a rookie, ninth in the league last year.

“This is kind of a thing throughout my life,” Holzhauer said. “When I was 10, I got the, You’re wasting your time studying sports statistics. When I was 20, it was, You’re wasting your time gambling, playing poker.’ When I was 24, it was, You’re wasting your time gambling on sports. Then when I was 30, it’s, You’re wasting your time studying for Jeopardy. I hope I’ve proven all these things wrong.”

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How to watch the 2023 NFL honors: TV, live stream info, date, awards, location, and more

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The 12th annual NFL Honors will take place this Thursday, February 9 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona–just a few days shy of Super Bowl 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Live coverage begins at 9 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. Coverage will also be available on NFL Network. See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 NFL Honors.

RELATED: How to Watch Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs

What is the NFL Honors?

The NFL Honors recognizes the league’s best performances, plays, and athletes form the 2022 season. This year’s celebration will be particularly special as Kelly Clarkson–an Emmy and Grammy award winning artist–will be the first woman to host the show.

What awards are presented at the NFL Honors?

  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
  • Best Moment of the Year
  • NFL Fan of the Year
  • AP Most Valuable Player
  • AP Coach of the Year
  • AP Comeback Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • AP Defensive Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • NFL Inspire Change Tribute
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023
  • FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year
  • Salute to Service Award
  • Bud Light Celly of the Year
  • Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
  • Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award
  • AP Assistant Coach of the Year

How to watch the 2023 NFL Honors:

  • Date: Thursday, February 9
  • Location: Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Time: 9 PM ET
  • TV Channel: NBC and NFL Network
  • Live Stream: Peacock

Everything you need to know about Super Bowl 2023:

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL season and playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

 

Eagles Super Bowl history: When is the last time Philadelphia made it to, won the Super Bowl?

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After a dominant 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles are vying to earn their first Super Bowl win since the 2017 season, when they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Jalen Hurts and the Birds will go head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2023. Find out how to watch below as well as a full breakdown of the Eagles’ Super Bowl history. Click here for a look back on the Eagles’ journey to football’s biggest game of the year.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule – Bracket, game dates, times and TV networks

Eagles total Super Bowl wins

One (2017 season). The Eagles have won one of their three Super Bowl appearances in franchise history. The Eagles appeared in four pre-merger NFL championship games, where they won three of them (1948, 1949 and 1960).

Most recent Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl appearance

  • 2017 season: Defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII

The Eagles were victorious in their last Super Bowl appearance. The victory was a redemption 13 years in the making, after the Eagles lost to Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, 24-21.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023: Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Philadelphia Eagles most recent Super Bowl win

That 2017 appearance was of course Philadelphia’s most recent Super Bowl triumph, and one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history. The game is most remembered for the heroics of quarterback Nick Foles, who stepped in late in the season to replace the injured Carson Wentz, and for Foles’ catch on the trick play known as the “Philly Special.”

Eagles Super Bowl history

  • 1980 season: Lost Super Bowl XV vs the Oakland Raiders, 27-10
  • 2004 season: Lost Super Bowl XXXIX vs the New England Patriots, 24-21
  • 2017 season: Won Super Bowl LII vs the New England Patriots, 41-33

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

RELATED: Who is playing in Super Bowl 2023?

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs scores: Final bracket, recaps, results for every AFC and NFC postseason game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.