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There are two different definitions of seeding when it comes to betting. It can refer to the manipulation of prices on betting exchanges where there is little activity. But the main meaning of seeding when it comes to sports and sports betting is competitors in an event being ranked – usually by ability and talent – to ensure that the draw keeps the better players or teams apart. In theory, if the seeding process works the number one and number two competitors should meet in the final.
Taking note of the seeding in an event – whether it is a tennis tournament or the drawing of groups for World Cup qualification – is important as bettors can use them to predict who should play who in later rounds.
For example, knowing that Serena Williams is seeded number one at Wimbledon and Simona Halep is number two means that bettors can assume that the two players will not meet until the final. Obviously this isn’t always the case but it can be used as an indication.
When seeding distributes teams or players into different halves of a tournament’s draw it can also be used to predict how far that team or player will progress before meeting a higher seed. This is especially useful for each way betting.
Not all number one seeds end up winning tournaments such as Wimbledon – but if bettors had trusted the rankings for the 2001 men’s championship they would have gone home empty handed. Not only was Goran Ivanisevic unseeded, he was ranked just 125th in the world and needed a wild card just to enter that year’s competition. But he ended up winning the title and proving that the seedings are not always right.