Superbowl Box Odds

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This week I am gearing up for the Superbowl. Sadly, my beloved Eagles won't be making an appearance, but I am still very excited to watch the game because I am betting on the game. I'm not actually betting on who will win, just hoping that I get lucky in my Superbowl box bet.

Never played a Superbowl box?

It is basically a pool, in which you pay a certain fee to buy a "box" in a 10x10 grid. The horizontal columns & vertical rows will be assigned to one of the teams in the Superbowl. This year, in my current pool, the Colts are the veritcal column and the Bears are the horizontal row. It doesn't matter, really, to which team is assigned a row or the columns.

Everyone pays anywhere from $5, $10, $20, $100...I have heard of Superbowl boxes that were $1,000 box entries on Wall Street. Each person picks a box, write in their name, and once all the boxes are filled up, with 100 entries, then the numbers are drawn, to fill in each of the 10 columns and 10 rows:

The numbers are from 0-9, and each number is randomly assigned (by way of drawing numbers from a hat, for example) to each column and row. So, if the first number drawn is "4", then that is assigned to the first column. This is repeated until all the numbers have been drawn for each column, and then repeated for each row. Then looks like this:

Once completed, each grid will have its own unique combination of numbers from 0-9. As a player in a Superbowl box the only thing you are interested in is the TOTAL score of the game for the first, second and third quarters & the final score (not the fourth quarter, the final score in case of overtime).

If you had the box in the grid where it lines up to 7 (Bears), 3 (Colts), then you are rooting for each quarter of the game the LAST number of the TOTAL score. So, if in the first quarter, the score is Bears 7, 17, 27, 37, 47...the only thing you care about is that the "7" is represented. To win, you also need the Colts to have 3, 13, 23, 33...and so forth. The Bears could score 7 points and the Colts 103 or the Bears score 13 and the Colts 7, you are still a winner. The team winning doesn't matter, just the last number in the total points at the end of each quarter or final.

There are 4 prizes in the most common pools. First quarter, second quarter, third quarter and final score. Remember that most pools say "Final score" and not "Fourth quarter" in case of an overtime game. I have known some pools to be $2 per box entry. The most common seem to be $10, with first quarter assigned $125, second quarter $250, third quarter $125 and final score $500. Again, this can vary from pool to pool. I'm playing in 2 pools this year, one for $10 and the other for $20 per box.

Some pools have quirky side rules. I have played in pools that had a "reverse" for the final score, so that if the score was Bears 27, Colts 13, the person who had the reverse of the winning box - holding 7 (Colts), 3 (Bears), was also rewarded like $10 or so per quarter & a bit extra for the finals.

Each year when I play the pool, I always think: What's the best numbers to have in this pool?

I went to the website of the Superbowl, and took reviewed the total scores for each quarter and the final scores of all 40 Superbowls. I want to stress the following before I continue:

1. Please note this only accounts for Superbowls, and not regular season football games. I think teams play differently in the Superbowl and regular season scores would show a different tale. For example, battles of field positon in the first quarter versus desperate-powered 4th quarters seemed to be more common in what I found in the stats.
2. I'm was an english major, not a math major. I'm sure this isn't 100% accurate. I'm sure somewhere I may have made a mistake.
3. I'm still think about Superbowl XXXIX. I was there, the game was incredible. I honestly think we could have won that game if we just ran the ball more. Too many mistakes that doomed us, I think one of the key momentum changes was the interception in the first quarter by Rodney Harrison with the Eagles in the red zone.

I talked to someone about this while writing it and while this may differ than the results of regular season scoring, I think that the Superbowl is a different beast. There certainly have been runaway blowouts, but for the most part it seems that the contests are two evenly matched teams vying for a battle of field position and strategy. In a regular season game a team might be more apt to go for a 2 point conversion, or take more chances when their offense is backed into the end zone (and risk a safety). Also I simply didn't have the time to crunch the numbers of every regular season game of the last 40 years.

So, I found the results interesting.

For the first quarter the following numbers in the last 40 Superbowls have been: 0,3,4,6,7. That's it. If you have those numbers, for any team, you are looking good, at least for the first quarter prize.

0 has shown up 37 times (20 times for the away team, and 17 times for the home).
3 was 19 times.
4 was 5 times.
6 was 1 time.
7 was 18 times.
Best first quarter combo? 0,0, which showed up 9 times.

For the second quarter the following numbers in the last 40 Superbowls have been: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Everyone can be a winner! Those holding 0, once again, are looking good.
0 has shown up 25 times
1 was 2 times.
2 was 2 times.
3 was 16 times.
4 was 8 times.
5 was 1 time.
6 was 7 times.
7 was 14 times.
8 was 3 times.
9 was 2 times.
Best second quarter combo? 7,0 which was 5 times. Plenty of other combos showed up 4 times.

Once again, for the third quarter the following numbers in the last 40 Superbowls have been: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.
0 was 16 times.
1 was 4 times.
2 was 2 times.
3 was 10 times.
4 was 12 times.
5 was 4 times.
6 was 8 times.
7 was 17 times.
8 was 2 times.
9 was 5 times.
Best third quarter combo? There isn't a clearcut favorite. 0&4 show up 4 times.

The final score everyone shows up again. Here's what I found:
0 was 12 times.
1 was 9 times.
2 was 4 times.
3 was 6 times.
4 was 10 times.
5 was 4 time.
6 was 10 times.
7 was 15 times.
8 was 3 times.
9 was 7 times.
Best final score combo? 7&4 showed up 4 times. 7&0 was 3 times.

Best number, clearly was 0. It appeared 90 times in the every quarter or final last 40 Superbowls. 40 Superbowls multiplied by 4 quarters is 160. There are two teams, so that number is doubled to 320. If my math is correct, that makes it 28% of the time. 7 showed up 64 times or 20% of the time. The worst number was 8, with only 8 times it appeared, or 2.5% of the time. This was also the same story for 5, which tallied for 9 times or, 2.81%.

I have the full stats after the jump, have fun crunching them to your full desire. Also note I included a "squared" percentage. It isn't 100% accurate, but it also gives you an idea of the chances that a combination of having that number would win. Just having a 0 is nice, but doesn't mean you win 28% of the time. It just means it has been appearing 28% of the time, you still need the second number to win.

Have fun, good luck and I hope the Colts crush the Bears. To me, the Colts earned their way to this Superbowl, with a great, winning organization over the last 5 years, much like the first class Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears are a flash in the pan team, having one good season and really have no business in the Superbowl with a quarterback like Rex Grossman.

But, as we all know, Defense Wins Championships. Think about the Ravens in 2001 (Johnson went 18/34, 215 yards, 2 TDs and 1 int. Or Tampa Bay in 2003 (Dilfer passed 25 times, completed 12, had 153 yards and 1 TD). To me, I think the Colts deserve the victory not only on this season, but the fact that they have been a great team for the last 5 years and contending for the crown with the Patriots always standing in their way. They finally beat the Pats (in a game that I think should have been the real Superbowl). Don't count out the Bears. They have the special teams alone to give their QB mid-field position every kick off or punt. That's amazing.

Here are the stats after the jump. If you find a mistake with what I calculated, please email me, and I will fix that.



Nice... I'm going to use this to fix my pool. [insert evil laugh]


Good work.

This makes me wonder, is there really anyone out there who does not know how a Super Bowl box pool works? The Super Bowl is like Christmas: Even if you've no interest in football, you still know when/what's going on. I definately know a lot of people, from working the bar scene, who know jack-shit about football but are in on the box pools.

"Ya gotta be in it to win it.", as told to me by a wise card player in Hoboken.

Anyhow...I figured i'd explain it to the next generation of fans, the children, in case they want to be playing cards on a Saturday night/morning until sunrise in the back of a Hoboken bar with a few of their friends someday.

Who me? I don't know what you're talking about!

i'm going to my first superbowl party this year and it's having a box pool. if it weren't for furey, i'd have no idea what that entails (unless i googled it or actively sought out a friend to ask). so thanks!

Good for you Lily. Let me ask you, do you get out much or just recently allowed to leave your house? Just for the record, you're in the minority on this issue.

Furey, add another percentage to your chart... the percentage of people alive who don't know what a box pool is or how it works. Lily can count as the 0.000001%

i may be in the 'minority' as in under 50% of let's say people in hoboken who read this blog, but your .000001% hypothesis is pretty ridiculous. i'm young, i'm female, i don't watch football on sundays or mondays and i usually don't give a shit about the superbowl, nor have i ever actually watched most of it. my parents didn't even have football growing up, to them football was soccer as it is in most countries. i don't think comparing this to christmas, which is also something i don't partake in, is very open-minded. there are many many people out there who aren't just like you and your friends.

Bleeding hearts of the world unite.

May you receive a 5 & a 5 on your first pool endeavor.

Thanks for this. I wondered which numbers were best. I have 3 & 7 and my son has 3 & 9, good as any I suppose! LOL


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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on January 29, 2007 12:27 AM.

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