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Super Bowl Squares: Increase Your Odds of Winning

Posted by Jim Garrity on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

As we prepare for Super Bowl XLVII we thought we'd share, once again, Jim Garrity's tips for picking Super Bowl Squares. Originally published 4/4/2011.

Super Bowl XLVII 011 resized 600Super Bowl weekend is upon us and if you are like most Americans you’ll gather with friends/family to watch the game on Sunday evening whether you have a rooting interest or not.  Maybe you’re a football fan, maybe you’re simply a sports fan, or maybe you’re a fan of commercials.  Even if you’re not a fan of any of it, there are always Super Bowl squares to keep your interest focused on the game.  Ah yes, the classic “gamble” of Super Bowl squares contains all the strategy of the card game War, truly leveling the playing field.  But maybe you’re looking increase your odds of winning…some way to get a leg up on your best friend, 86 year old aunt or 13 year old nephew.  Well, if you are one of THOSE people you’ve stumbled onto the right blog.  At CMB we pride ourselves on turning data into actionable decisions.  So with that backdrop in mind...

You already know that some combinations are preferred over others (specifically combinations containing zeros, threes, and sevens).  But do you know how much better one combination is than another?  Well, assuming you are in one the pools that pays out quarterly here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 combinations that have a positive expectation.  That is, if you had one of these combinations every year, you’d expect to win more money than you lost (of course that assumes you are playing for money, which obviously none of us are!).  Anyway, here are the 28 combinations that you should feel pretty good about:

















But what if you don’t have one of those combinations?  Well, this is where the “turning data into actionable decisions” part comes in… There are 5 combinations worth paying a substantial premium for.  Yes, that’s right if you aren’t lucky enough to get a good combination you might consider taking action and finding someone who isn’t good at math (or hasn’t read this blog) and buying their combination.  Below are the five combinations that each have an expectation of at least 4x.  So if you can separate Aunt Millie or little Bobby from one of these squares for anything less than 4 times the per square price, you’ll be doing ok.




However, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land one of these top 5 combinations and you are watching the game with people who overvalue these combinations.  I’ve already told you that you should be willing to pay up to 4x for each, but what if you wanted to sell?  Since only 0-0 has an expectation greater than 7x, try to get someone to pay in excess of 7 times the buy-in for the others.  For 0-0, get at least 9x.

Lastly, maybe you are one of those people who like to zig when others zag.  Here are two combinations that have a close to even money expectation (actually around .8), but may seem to others to be far worse.   Perhaps you could make someone an offer of 50 cents on the dollar for one of these:



Whatever you do, stay warm, enjoy the game, don’t eat too much, and NEVER drink and drive.  Good luck!

Posted by Jim Garrity. Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, never wears blue jeans to work, and is getting ready to make Aunt Millie an offer she can’t refuse…unless of course she reads this blog post

Topics: television, digital media and entertainment research