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The Odds of Every Super Bowl Box Pool Pair (AKA: How Screwed Are You With 6 and 2?*)

2014-super-bowl-squares-odds Graphic courtesy caseyshead.com

This post and accompanying graphic have been excerpted, with permission, from caseyshead.com.

We’ve all been in one of those Super Bowl box pools. You know, the kind where you put a buck in the pot and are assigned a square on a 10×10 grid. Each square corresponds to a pair of numbers, one for the NFC team and one for the AFC team. The score at the end of each quarter determines which square wins a portion of the total pot. For instance, if the Seahawks lead the Broncos 17-14 at halftime, the person with 7 on the Seahawks axis and 4 on the Broncos axis wins the cash.

I’ve always wondered which squares were most likely to win. Logic tells you that a combination of 0s, 3s and 7s could be good, while 2s and 5s are not so good. So what squares are the best and which numbers should you hope to randomly draw? I looked at data for all NFL games played since the 2006-07 season to determine the answer to that question. The chart above consists of all 1,067 regular season and postseason games from 2006-07 through the 2013-14 playoffs. It represents the hit percentage for each pair (like-numbered squares are COMBINED in this table).

So what does this analysis tell us about this year’s big game? First of all, it tells me I wasted multiple hours proving to myself that 0, 3, 4 and 7 are good, and that if I get 2 or 5 I’m screwed. But based on the last four years of data, Super Bowl history and this year’s competing teams, I’ll go with quarter scores of DEN 7-3, DEN 10-6, DEN 17-13 and DEN 20-16.

But really, since I’ve NEVER been right, I’d be just as happy to see an early field goal and a couple of first quarter safeties, no further scoring, and four winning 5-2 quarters. Good luck!

The full article on caseyshead.com contains more info about Casey's methodology, details about probabilities for the 2013-14 season, and a look at quarter-by-quarter odds. It's well worth a visit.

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