Sports Betting Strategy

Different Tournament Formats & Who The Numbers Indicate They Favor

Whether it is the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup Finals, the World Series or the NBA Finals there are different formats used to determine the winners of different sporting events around the world and each has their own unique approach and outcomes. The outright odds are the market that number one bettors look at the outset of a competition in order to assess the strength of the contenders and put money on a potential winner if they have a strong pick in mind. Believe it or not, the different tournament formats actually have an impact on how the tournaments play out. Here is a look at the different tournament formats that are used in professional sports and whom the numbers indicate they favor the most.

The Knockout

The knockout format is also known as a single-elimination tournament, like what we see past the group stages in the world cup or at the major professional tennis tournaments. The structure of the knockout format favors the underdogs since they only need one win to advance. It is much more difficult for an underdog team to win four games in a best-of-seven series than it is to win a single-elimination tournament so the knockout format definitely increases the odds of an upset or underdog win.

Seeded Knockout

The seeded knockout format ensures that the top seeds will face the lower seed with every passing round and that tends to give those higher seeds a bit of an edge since they are facing lesser competition based on the results to that point in the tournament. This format is popular in the major North American sports like the NBA and NHL where the highest seeds are matched with the lower seeds at every playoff round.

Round Robin

The round robin format is much different than the knockout since each team will play every other team in its group. The conditions are constantly changing based on the results of each matchup and the potential of lower seeds advancing increases since they can boost their stock by capitalizing on favorable matchups early in a round robin and then play for a specific result in later matchups. For example, if the fourth seeded team in a four-team round robin stole its opening game with a shocking win, then they might choose to play for a tie in their next two games if it means it will be enough to advance. That type of result completely changes their outlook after the first game.


The best-of-three series has the highest frequency of outright wins for the strongest team or strongest player since the winner needs two victories to clinch. This helps eliminate the chance that exists with a knockout or single-game elimination stage while also still giving the underdog a chance if they can manage to string together two wins. The best-of-three is regarded as the best system for determining the winner outcome and that is a big reason why this format is so popular around the world. Each different format will influence the odds of how a given tournament will play out so make sure you factor that in to your overall outlook for those specific events.

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