Chances are someone at your office or Super Bowl party will ask whether you want to buy a Super Bowl square before the 49ers and Chiefs play in Super Bowl 54 in Miami on Sunday.
It’s a game of chance. It’s a game of luck. It’s a game that can make the Super Bowl a lot more interesting if you don’t have a team in the big game and have already seen all the commercials.
So how do you play Super Bowl squares? What are the best numbers to draw? Here’s a complete guide to answer those questions and more, including rules and tips to win your grid.
SUPER BOWL 54 PREDICTIONS:
Straight up | Against the spread | SN staff picks
How do Super Bowl squares work?
Most Super Bowl squares are played on a 10×10 grid with a “home” team row on top and the “visitor” column on the side:
An empty board starts with 100 “squares” to choose from. The next step is getting players to fill the squares. This could be done either online or on an old-school posterboard.
There is no perfect science to picking a square, because the numbers down the “home team” row and “visiting team” column are drawn at random. But keep in mind that if you pick multiple squares in the same row or column you will have fewer number combinations to work with.
TIP: You can also use “winning score” and “losing score” instead of the team names for a more complex pool, but for the sake of simplicity we will stick with “Chiefs” and “49ers.”
Once all 100 squares have been filled with names, the board is set. It should look like this when finished:
It’s almost time to draw numbers. But first, here are the combinations with the best statistical odds of winning.
What are the best numbers for Super Bowl squares?
There have been a total of 212 winning number combinations in Super Bowl history (which is a limited sample size), but here’s how those combinations have hit by quarter. The home team is on the horizontal access and the road team is on the vertical axis.
For reference, in the game between the Patriots and Rams last season the winning combos were 0-3, 3-0, 3-3 and 3-3.
In the history of the Super Bowl, the four best combinations have been 0-0 (17 times), 0-3 (11 times), 0-7 (10 times) and 7-0 (10 times).
MORE: Full Super Bowl 54 betting guide
How to draw numbers for squares
You should designate a person to hold a drawing to randomly place numbers 0-9 across the Chiefs row and the 49ers column. Use Post-It notes in a hat or an online number generator.
TIP: You could also do a 25-square grid where each home and road team gets two numbers instead of one.
Once the board is full, it should look like this.
Your numbers should align with your square from both the vertical and horizontal position. Bill Bender’s square, for example, has a “3” for the Chiefs and a “7” for the 49ers.
How do you win Super Bowl squares?
Most standard Super Bowl squares pools pay a winner after the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and final score. How is that determined?
Go back to Bender’s “3” for the Chiefs and “7” for the 49ers. Bender would “win” if the final number in each team’s score matches at the end of each quarter. San Francisco 7-3 after the first quarter, Kansas City 13-7 after the second quarter and San Francisco 27-23 at the end of the game are all examples of winning scores for Bender’s squares.
So, “7” and “3” are obviously good numbers in any situation.