For example, if the Kansas City Chiefs (the home team in this year’s Super Bowl) have 21 points and the San Francisco 49ers have 17 at the end of the third quarter, the square that intersects 1 on the left side (for 21) and 7 on the top row (for 17) would win.
As of 2015, when the league pushed back the line of scrimmage for extra-point kick attempts, the best square to have is 0|0, a score combination that was found at the end of eight percent of quarters of all games over the past five seasons, including the playoffs. That combination would have returned an average of $2 per $1 bet, assuming an even split of pool money across all four quarters of every game ($25 awarded per quarter, and not counting overtime). A square with 7|0 (with the home team listed first) offered the next best return ($1.95 per $1 spent) followed by 3|0 ($1.32), 4|0 ($1.20) and 0|3 ($1.17). The worst boxes to own were those including a 9, 8 or 5.
Most pools award prizes at the end of each quarter; 20 boxes would have accounted for 95 percent of the first-quarter prize money over the past five seasons (again, including all games). The most lucrative box is 0|0 (which hits 17 percent of the time), but any box with a score ending in zero after the game’s first 15 minutes is a good one.
Boxes featuring a zero, three and seven remain valuable through the end of the first half, with the 7|0 box slightly edging out the 0|0 box as the most lucrative to have at halftime. The 1|0 box also becomes three times as likely to make an appearance (3 percent) than it was at the end of the first quarter (1 percent).
By the end of the third quarter, the number four becomes increasingly valuable, with 4|0 having the fourth-best chance to pop. The 4|7 box is also a contender.
Seven familiar combinations give you the best probability of snaring the final prize at the end of the game, which in many pools is the biggest prize. Five of the top seven final-score options include a zero, and four of the seven involve the number seven.
Unfortunately, a box featuring a zero (0|1) is also the worst to own for a final score in the entire grid. That odds of that exact box matching the final score is almost 1,300 to 1, based on recent scores.
Of course, any self-respecting Super Bowl pool doesn’t let you pick your own numbers, but this information can at least give you a sense of what to expect from your squares.