Tool: Live Odds for Super Bowl Squares

If you were to flip a coin 10 times, what are the odds that it’d land heads every time? Pretty low, right? Maybe 1 out of 1,024 times you’ll see that outcome – not something you’d like to bet on. But let’s say you’ve already flipped the coin 9 times, and it’s come up heads every time. Wow! Lucky! If you’d bet on the coin landing heads every time (why did you do that? Were you even paying attention?), your chances of winning will have skyrocketed to 50%. That’s one hell of an increase in odds.

The same principles can be applied to Super Bowl Squares. Last year, I wrote up a post about what squares were the best, including an expected payout per square. This math holds true before any football is played, but the odds aren’t static – What happens in the game will affect the likelihood of later outcomes. So while my piece last year will have you fretting before the game is played, I’ve decided to write something that will have you cursing during the game as well.

I’m working with the same 3,962 game sample I was last year. You can see details about it in that post – I’m not going to waste your time or mine retreading old ground. Instead, I’m going to present you with the live odds table (clumsily titled “Final SuperbowlSquares – Chances Based on Previous Quarter”) and show how it’s used. (Yes, it’s interactive!™™™)

First, the link –

This is the beautiful, wonderful, number-y table that will guide us along our journey.

Now, the explanation –

Above is a screenshot of the Live Odds table. A bit of a walkthrough to explain what’s probably already obvious-

  • Columns/Filters-
    • Quarter- The quarter you are in.
    • Start– The starting square for the quarter. Always starts with the lower number. Example: The second quarter begins and the score is 27-3. Select “3,7” from the “Start” on “Q2 Chances”.
    • Finish– The “finishing” square for a quarter. If you’ve selected the starting square, you’ll see the list of “finishing” squares in this column.
    • Percent– The odds that the “finishing” square will happen. Example: With “3,7” selected, we can see that there’s a 12.59% chance we’ll finish the 2nd quarter in a “3,7” square, a 10.37% chance we’ll end in “0,7”, etc. etc.
    • Sample Size– As the game goes on, the number of “starting points” will increase. This will cut down the number of games at each starting point. I’ve included the sample size so you know how big of a grain of salt to take the results with. Example: There are 405 games in the sample that started in the “3,7” square in Q2.
    • Results– Basically just Sample Size * Percent. Gives you a raw number of times something has happened. Example: Out of the 405 times Quarter 2 has started in the “3,7” square, only 4 times has it finished in the “3,6” square.

That’s it. Here’s a couple of ways you can use this tool –

  1. Follow along with the game, and use the table to figure out which squares are currently “the best”.
  2. Oh no! You got a terrible square! How are you even going to get to an 8,J square? Well, this won’t fix your shitty square, but it can help you visualize the path to it. Just select it from the “Finish” drop down and you can see what starting squares most often lead to your bad square.

That’s it! Please use this tool and enjoy.


Side note: The odds are quarter-dependent. Initially, I had combined the odds of each of the quarter in an attempt to simplify/increase sample size, but in doing so I believe I over-simplified it. The reason: Scoring is not equal across all quarters, so we can’t assume that, given the same starting position, the odds of different outcomes will be the same.

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