Brad Rutter says he came out on top in previous battles with fellow "Jeopardy!" champ Ken Jennings thanks to a little luck, but Ken got the biggest break of all ... from the TV gods.
Rutter -- the highest money winner of all time on the game show -- joined "TMZ Live" Thursday to talk about his storied rivalry with Jennings ... which is set to be renewed on the upcoming 'Greatest of All Time' tournament.
Brad reminds us his past matchups with Ken were very close and could have gone either way, but points out that you make your own luck too. So, yeah ... fair to say he's suggesting he's a LITTLE better, and that's why he's slightly favored over Jennings.
Despite their history, and the fact Rutter's never lost a match (to a human, anyway), Jennings is the more famous of the 2 "Jeopardy!" champs.
Why? Brad has a pretty solid explanation -- face time equals fame ... and Ken was lucky to get more of it.
It's all in good fun, of course ... Brad tells us he and Ken are friends outside the show, and a very notable butt-kicking they both received brought them closer together. Like we said, Brad's undefeated ... if you don't count robots.
Rutter also says Alex Trebek is doing an astounding job hosting the game show despite dealing with pancreatic cancer ... and marvels how he seems to be getting better.
"Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" will air in January, and it should be noted -- recent phenom James Holzhauer will be the third champion looking to take the title from Brad and Ken.