Squares for squares

UPDATE: You can now take that information with you to your Super Bowl party and pick the squares most likely to win. Get the Pro-Football Reference Super Bowl Squares App (for iPhone and Droid).

My understanding is that a Super Bowl Squares gambling event is intended to be a completely random lottery type situation where casual gamblers have as good a chance as sharks. Usually, the squares are assigned to people before numbers are assigned to squares, which means that every participant has an equal chance of getting the plum squares. But J.C. claims he has participated in squares pools where the numbers were pre-assigned and people were actually able to choose their squares on a first-come-first-serve basis.

This post is for you if (a) you watch Super Bowls with the unscrupulous and the naive, as J.C. apparently used to do, or (b) you auction off the squares. And if there’s any group of people that fall into the latter category, it’s got to consist of economists. What follows is a list of which squares are most likely to house the winning name at night’s end. It was generated by looking at the final scores of all regular season NFL games since the 2-point conversion rule was instituted in 1994. Some details follow.


Square(s)   PCT
---------------
70/07      3.80
74/47      3.71
03/30      3.21
41/14      2.23
04/40      2.04
71/17      1.93
77         1.93
73/37      1.93
00         1.71
63/36      1.63
44         1.59
60/06      1.54
01/10      1.48
34/43      1.45
18/81      1.35
33         1.19
31/13      1.00
80/08      0.95
16/61      0.95
76/67      0.89
11         0.85
78/87      0.83
64/46      0.82
97/79      0.80
57/75      0.76
90/09      0.74
84/48      0.72
93/39      0.72
50/05      0.72
58/85      0.69
69/96      0.69
49/94      0.67
24/42      0.65
83/38      0.61
02/20      0.56
91/19      0.56
66         0.56
32/23      0.54
35/53      0.52
45/54      0.50
86/68      0.48
72/27      0.46
88         0.41
26/62      0.35
21/12      0.33
52/25      0.33
92/29      0.32
89/98      0.30
95/59      0.24
15/51      0.24
65/56      0.22
82/28      0.22
99         0.19
55         0.19
22         0.04

What that means is that, for example, 7.6% of the time one team has a 7 and one team has a 0. We’ve got to cut that in half to meaningfully compare it with, e.g., the 00 square, so that’s why the 3.80% appears next to 70/07. It’s also why the numbers in the righthand column don’t add up to 100.

So, to recap, here is the official Doug Drinen plan for making friends at your Super Bowl party.

1. As soon as the squares are drawn, find the people with the 70 and 07 squares. Offer them $3 for their square. If they accept, tell them that they just traded an expected payoff of $3.80 for a mere $3.00. Call them suckers.

2. Find the guy with 22 and let him know that since the merger in 1970 there has only been one single 22 game (it was the Dolphins and Bills in week 13 of this year). Call him a sucker too.

UPDATE: You can now take that information with you to your Super Bowl party and pick the squares most likely to win. Get the Pro-Football Reference Super Bowl Squares App (for iPhone and Droid).

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