Saturday, February 03, 2007

Numbers Game

It’s Super Bowl time, and that means many of you will be attending Super Bowl parties. No Super Bowl party is complete without one of those numbers betting pool. For those unaware, they usually work something like this:

A 10-by-10 grid is set up and those participating purchase the 100 squares (typically for $1 per square). Once all squares are sold, each row is randomly assigned one of the numbers between zero and nine, as is each column. These numbers represent the final digit of the score for Colts and Bears. You win a share of the pot if, at the conclusion of the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter or the game, the last digit of the Bear’s score and the last digit of the Colt’s score matches your numbers.

Obviously, some scores are more likely to come up in football than others, but which numbers are the best to have? True, the numbers are assigned randomly and we can not choose them ourselves, but the geekier among us would still like to know what the chances are that our numbers will come up winners.

As a public service, I have crunched the numbers to find out just what the chances of are of a particular number coming up. I have compiled the final digits (after the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and final) of the scores of the 535 regular and post-season games played in 2005 and 2006. Not surprisingly 0, 7, and 3 are the best numbers to have, while 5 and 2 are the worst.


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