View Full Version : Funny Story about a Super Bowl Pool

01-27-2003, 08:36 PM
Like most of America, I bought my square for $10 for a winner-takes-all $1000 prize.
Last week, I worked with a friend of mine at work to do an analysis in excel where we imported the scores from all 512 games this season and did an =right, =mid formula to give all of the right(final) digits - we then subtotaled and built a matrix that showed the %of probability for each square and what each point total was worth for a $10 bet. For example, 7 7, 1 1 and 3 3 was worth like $63 for a $10 bet - or 6+x the average $10 square. I think that 2 5 was the weakest with a $.37 payout for a $10 bet, etc. By Friday afternoon, this chart was starting to get around the office. I happened to have 4 for NFC and 3 for AFC which was about $20.43 for a $10 bet. Four guys that I work with thought they would be sly and offer me into their consortium. The best was 4-6 was was just over $9 and the worst was the glorious 8-1 which was just over $6 for a $10 bet. I had 2x better than any of them, but they offered me a 20% cut. (one guy actually had bought two squares so we had 6 squares - but none of the others were worth $10). I made sure that they knew that I was aware what was going on and not wanting to be a party pooper - and the aggregate oods were about $65 or about 15 to one - I joined the consortium.

I was excited at 34-3 and real excited at 34-21 when Oakland was going for two and it looked for a moment like Jerry Porter was forced out of bounds. After that, I had just decided to take my 2nd place in the fantasy pool and be happy with my $50 on a $25 investment.

Then, something happened.

Derrick Brooks made it 41-21 ($63/10) and it looked like that would be the final score. As we were cleaning up from the party, I said to my wife, I sure could use an interception returned for a touchdown..ha ha ha... and lo and behold my new favorite player, Rich Gannon sends a nice missle that gets returned with just enough time that an extra point is necessary and Martin splits the uprights for a 48-21 win and I have my share of $1000. The guy who had 1-1 (the self-proclained luckiest man on earth) said that he was rolling on the floor in agony - having already spent in his mind the $1000.

They brought me in to increase their aggregate odds and the guy with the longest shot was the one with the magic 8-1. I guess it pays to good guy and go along for the ride sometimes....

lol (Just kidding - I should have asked for a weighted payout while I had the best of it - but I was just happy to be included)

Let me know if anyone has ever done - or ever seen a similar matrix on the scores - or if 512 games for one year is enough of a sample for a fair representation (should I have made it 3-5 years?)

Hope everyone won big yesterday!


01-28-2003, 10:54 AM
I do things like this all the time. I haven't done it for football grids simply because you can't control which box you purchase ( due to the fact that the numbers are drawn after you purchase your boxes ). Football grids, unlike basketball grids, have boxes which are much more likely to come out than others. This makes the game a total gamble. I'd be guessing, but I'd expect that if you figured the expectations of each number combination, you'd find that you are probably a "pretty long shot" to win anything at all. There are probably about 20 boxes at most that have positive expectations.

Sure, winning $1000 for your $10 would be nice, but it's unlikely that it'll happen. Most likely, your $10 will go bye-bye!

My personal approach to gambling is the same all the time now...

1) Understand the wager and odds ( either writing software, doing simple math or whatever ).
2) Ignore the winnings. Professional gamblers play to minimize losses, not maximize profits.
3) Avoid any bet that I don't have positive expectation of winning.

There are lots of guys out there that think gambling is all luck. As a poker player, I can only agree with them sometimes. Some bets are luck ( like football grids ), but poker is gambling. Betting on your golf game is not gambling when you are playing to a true handicap vs a guy that talks crap all the time and can't shoot under 100. Sticking it to a guy who boasts "I'm a 170 bowler and bowl at least 2 out of 3 games over 200" isn't gambling.

There are lots of suckers out there... learn how to take money off of them and you don't even have to consider games that you aren't the favorite going in!

Minimize losses, don't maximize profits... and, exploit the ignorance of anyone willing to lay a dollar down.

Good luck!

01-28-2003, 05:07 PM
Boy it would suck to be the 1-1 guy!