Super Bowl LI Squares Probability Breakdown
You've spent days preparing for this Super Bowl party. The barbecue weenies are simmering in the crockpot. Your mother's marinade has the steak tips ripe for the devouring. Dad's buffalo chicken cheese dip recipe is bound to hit the spot.
You've got all of that under control. Your Super Bowl squares fate, though? Nah, fam.
If you've never played Super Bowl squares before, it's pretty easy to understand, even if it won't necessarily give you that sense of ease you're seeking. You have a 10-by-10 grid with 100 squares in it. You sign up for a square, and then each number -- zero through nine -- is randomly assigned at the top of each column and the side of each row. These numbers represent the digit in the ones place for a team's score at the end of each quarter, with the columns representing one team and the rows representing another. For example, last year's final score was the Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, meaning that if you had a four for the Broncos and a zero for the Panthers, your deviled eggs tasted a little more heavenly that night. Often, games will have smaller payouts for the score at the end of each quarter, as well.
As you can see, once you're assigned your numbers for your respective party, it's all up to what the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons do on the field. Unlike the presentation of the meatball platter, this one's out of your hands. It's not a fun feeling.
Fret not, friends. You may not control how your squares lineup plays out, but you can at least know the odds that things break in your favor with the help of numberFire's Super Bowl Squares tracker.
Here, you'll be able to see the odds of each square hitting within your desired timeframe. Simply select the game on the top row (you'll want to select "2016 - ATL vs. NE" here to have analytics tailored around this specific matchup) and the end quarter for which you want the odds. If you want to know the odds live during the game, simply go back to that link as they'll be updating with each score.
In case you're just looking for a brief overview, though, let's break things down. We'll start off with a look at the squares for the end of the game (dolla dolla bills, yo) before going sequentially through the other quarters after that.
Here's how things figure to wind up at the end of the game, and again, you can find all of this up on numberFire Live.
The sweet spot here is some combination of four and seven for either side. The box with the highest odds at the end of the game is a four for the Patriots and a seven for the Falcons at 3.08%. The flip side of that -- a four for the Falcons and seven for the Patriots -- is the second-best box at 2.96%. Basically, if you're in a box with a combo of four and seven, you're sitting pretty for that end-of-game moola.
If you can't wind up there, snuggling with a zero and a seven is also fully acceptable. The odds of winding up with a zero for the Falcons and a seven for the Patriots is 2.91% -- third-highest on the board -- and the reverse of that is 2.88%. It's after these groupings where we start to get an odds falloff.
The dead zone here is any combination that includes a two, five, or nine. The top odds for any square with a two is 0.78% (when you have a two for New England and seven for Atlanta), and none of these three numbers of doom has a single square with odds above 1.00%. Basically, if your combo has one of these, get the beverage consumption going early.
What makes those three numbers even worse is they don't even look any rosier when we expand our scope beyond just the end of the game. Here's the chart for the first quarter, where zeroes are basking in deliciousness.
The double zeroes is 19.96%, the highest probability square for any quarter throughout the game. The consolation is winding up with a zero and a seven, which has 11.89% odds of hitting when the seven is with New England and 10.57% when its with Atlanta.
If you can't get a zero or a seven, though, you can likely check out for a bit. The square with the highest odds in the first quarter that doesn't include either of those numbers is double threes. That's at a whopping 2.70%. Outside of that, you're praying for safeties.
Things obviously spread out a bit as we head into halftime and get wider scoring possibilities.
You're still happiest if you wind up with all zeroes and sevens, but we get a small ray of sunshine from the four column, which, again, is a solid number to have for the end-of-game squares.
When you pair a seven for the Falcons with a four for the Patriots, you get 3.85% odds of cashing out, higher than any other square that is not a combination of exclusively zeroes and sevens. A four paired with a zero is also a fairly fruitful combination regardless of the sequence.
Once again, threes show up well here, as they did at the end of the first quarter. They're essentially neck and neck with fours for the number you want to couple with your ideal sevens and zeroes.
You've got one last chance to strike gold before we get to the final score with the third quarter. Unfortunately, it plays similarly to that end-of-game tally, so you'd better hope your ducks are in a row from jump street.
If the threes and fours were gridlocked before, this is where we start to see the fours pull away.
For every single number -- whether starting with the Patriots or the Falcons -- your odds will be higher if you pair it with a four than if you pair it with a three. This is largely representative of what we see at the end of the game, and it makes sense when you imagine scores that would end in three for a game with an over/under of 58.5. It's possible, but it's certainly not the most likely outcome.
The quickest path to happiness throughout the entire game is basking in zeroes and sevens. Fours are acceptable if you're shooting for late-game heroics, and threes suffice early on. Most others are just begging for eternal sadness.
You can get some hope by snagging a one or an eight, but those are mostly only in play for the final tally. Sixes are largely a step below, and then it's another rung down to the deep abyss that is having a two, five, or nine.
You don't have control over how the squares break, and that can be frustrating. But at least you know where you stand by peeping the live updates throughout the game. And, hey, you never know. The NFL has a tendency to get weird and wild, and even the unlikeliest of squares can bear Gucciness in the right conditions.