The St. Louis Rams are giving a $US100,000 cash prize to anyone who can accurately pick their entire 17-games schedule.
It sounds intriguing. We already know all of their 2014 opponents, so it’s just a matter of putting them in order, right?
The odds, though, are decidedly not in your favour.
Your chances are around 1 in 594 sextillion (1 in 594,947,143,400,000,000,000,000).
The problem is the sheer number of possibilities for each week.
You have to pick the opponent (16 opponents, plus one bye week) as well as the day of the week that the game will take place (Thursday, Sunday, Monday) for every week. For example, in Week One there are 48 possibilities (16 opponents * 3 possible days) which translates to just a 2.08% chance of picking Week One correct.
Some things that change the odds a bit:
- There are no byes before Week 4 or after Week 12
- Even though St. Louis plays its three division opponents twice, you still have to distinguish between the home game and the away game when you pick
- Every team has to play at least Thursday game
- There’s a Saturday game in Week 16
- All Week 17 games are division games
- All Week 17 games are played on Sunday
This table shows your chances of picking each week correctly, ASSUMING you correctly picked all preceding weeks:
When you multiply the odds of picking each successive week correctly, you get this incomprehensible 1 in 594 sextillion number.
You can see the issue here. Even if you somehow pick 10 weeks in a row right, your chancing of picking the 11th week are only 4.76%.
You can make some other assumptions to help out your odds. The Rams are never going to play the same division opponent twice in a row, and they’re going to play the bulk of their games on Sunday.
But even then your odds are … not great.
You’re chances of picking a perfect March Madness bracket are much better.
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