As the nation gears up for Super Bowl XLVI, you might pondering which numbers to bet on in your office pool. Typically office pools are 10 x 10 grids based on 100 squares, with each number representing the final digit in both team’s score.
For example, a score of Giants 6 and Patriots 14 would fall on the square where 6 on the vertical scale meets 4 on the horizontal.
Your Money tapped statistician William Briggs from Edgehogs.com, a leading sports stats site, for the lowdown on how to bet like a champ, which is actually pretty simple.
“You want to pick the scores that are most likely to happen, and look at historical information about how score differentials (i.e., pairings) are most realised,” Briggs said. “You shouldn’t pick squares out of the blue that happen infrequently.”
To give you bragging rights, we did the hard work for you. Here, Briggs cranks out the most likely pairings or grid squares you’ll see in the big game, with their likelihood of occurrence.
Note: Some people pick the labels on the rows and columns only after all the boxes have been bought, making the game more random. If your office does it this way, and not all do, these statistics will still help you figure your chance of winning.
Over the last 2,822 NFL games, the top 5 most likely pairings, or grid squares, were:
0 to 7 (8.4%)
4 to 7 (7.1%)
0 to 3 (7.1%)
3 to 7 (5.0%)
1 to 4 (4.6%)
The bottom 5, or least likely pairings, were:
2 to 2 (0.04%)
5 to 5 (0.07%)
9 to 9 (0.18%)
2 to 8 (0.21%)
5 to 9 (0.32%)
The pairings are symmetric, said Briggs, so to maximise your chances you should grab both the “0 – 7” and “7 – 0” boxes. “There is an 8.4% chance that one or the other of these will hit,” he added.