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Every year, as the Super Bowl fever grips the nation, fans look for ways to participate beyond just being spectators.
Most engage through traditional sports betting and fantasy football, but there’s another way to get some skin in the game: football squares.
This bingo-like game offers everyone a chance to join in on the Super Bowl fun that consumes the country.
In a nutshell, football squares is a betting game that is played on a 10×10 square grid. Participants pick squares, then the numbers 0 through 9 are randomly assigned to rows and columns. Winners are determined based on the last digit of each team's score at the end of quarters or the game's end.
Here’s an example of a football squares bracket I set up last year for my friends:
This innovative betting concept, now synonymous with the Super Bowl in the US, was introduced by Ladbrokes nearly two decades ago. It's most famously associated with the Super Bowl, but football squares can be applied to other games and even different sports.
All of the major U.S. sportsbooks, like Caesars, BetRivers, and FanDuel, have all incorporated football squares into their offerings. While the basic premise of the game remains consistent across these platforms, each site introduces nuances in payouts, odds, and the number of picks available to players.
This guide will unpack the ins and outs of football squares, including how they work, the best places to play, tips, and more.
How Football Squares Work
Football squares are a bit like bingo for the Super Bowl. Think of a 10×10 grid, totaling 100 squares, where each represents a potential score combo for the two teams on the field.
Here's how it works: One team's scores are mapped out on the x-axis (the horizontal rows), and the other team's scores run down the y-axis (the vertical columns). When you pick a square, you're just grabbing a spot on the board, not specific numbers.
After all picks are in, the sportsbook (or whoever organizes football squares) shuffles numbers 0-9 and assigns them to each row and column. It's all random, so no one knows which score combo they're getting until the numbers are laid out.
As the game rolls on, winners emerge at the end of each quarter, based on the last digit of the teams' scores. There’s also a winner for the final score.
The cool part is that everyone's on an even playing field. You've got just as much chance as the next person to hit that winning combo, making the game engaging and a bit unpredictable.
How to Win on Football Squares
Football squares revolve around the scores at the end of each quarter and the final game score. The key is the last digit of each team's score.
For instance, if the score is 21-13 at the end of a quarter, the numbers in play are 1 and 3. The winner is the person who has the square where the row with the number 1 meets the column with the number 3.
Often, there's a prize pool for football squares, divided among the winners of each quarter and the final score. The end-of-game score typically has the largest payout.
If a particular square isn't owned and it wins, it's common for the prize money to roll over to the next quarter, increasing the subsequent payout. Some sportsbooks, like Caesars, assign specific odds to each square, adding another layer to potential payouts.
Super Bowl LVII Interpretation: Chiefs vs. Eagles (38-35)
In this close match-up, the Chiefs clinched the win with a score of 38 to 35. For football squares, we'd focus on the last digit of each score: 8 for the Chiefs and 5 for the Eagles.
If you had the square where the Chiefs' row with number 8 intersects with the Eagles' column with number 5, you'd be the winner for the final score.
Super Bowl LVI Interpretation: Rams vs. Bengals (23-20)
In this tight contest, the Rams came out on top with a score of 23 against the Bengals' 20. In the context of football squares, the key numbers are 3 for the Rams and 0 for the Bengals.
If you're trying to locate your winning square, find the Rams' row with the number 3 and follow it until you hit the Bengals' column marked with a 0. That intersection would be the winning square for the game's final score.
Stats Behind Football Squares
When diving into the numbers of football squares, certain patterns emerge. The game of football has its own rhythm, and certain scores are more common due to the ways teams can earn points. Touchdowns (7 points with an extra point) and field goals (3 points) are the most common ways to score, which makes 0, 3, 7, and 10 (a combination of 3 and 7) frequent digits on the board.
According to a study by Insider, which analyzed every postseason game from 2000 to 2022, 11.4% of quarters ended with one team having a “0” in the one column and the other a “7”. In this scenario, both squares (0-7 and 7-0) split the probability, each holding a 5.7% chance of winning.
The most coveted spot, however, is the 0-0 square. With the possibility of quarters ending in scores like 0-0, 10-0, or 10-10, this square has a 7.3% chance of being the winning combination across the 258 games examined. This likelihood is particularly high in the first quarter, given both teams start from zero.
Football Squares Strategy
In football squares, especially when squares are assigned randomly, there's limited room for strategy. In such scenarios, the most straightforward approach is to acquire as many squares as the game allows, maximizing your potential to hit a winning combination.
However, if you're in a game where you can pick your numbers, it's beneficial to be aware of frequently occurring numbers like 0, 3, 7, and 10. These numbers have historically shown up more often in-game scores.
How to Play Football Squares
Most NFL betting sites incorporate football squares as a promotional feature rather than a standalone bet type. While the process of participating is largely similar across various platforms, it's typically presented as a promotional event rather than a standard bet type.
Here's a general overview of how to bet football squares at sportsbooks:
- Choose an NFL sportsbook: Opt for a platform that includes football squares in their promotional lineup.
- Sign up & deposit: Register on the platform and fund your account.
- Opt-in to the promo: Head to the promotions section and join the event.
- Select a square: On the digital board, pick your desired square.
- Game time: Once the game kicks off, the numbers for each square are disclosed. If the final digit of both teams' scores at the end of each quarter matches your square's numbers, you win.
Different sportsbooks might have unique twists to this game. For instance, Caesars might assign distinct odds to each square combination. During Super Bowl LVI, they set the odds at 250/1 for a Rams 2 – Bengals 2 outcome.
At BetRivers during Super Bowl LVII, they hosted a contest with a prize pool of $10,000 in bonus money. The number of squares a player could select was directly tied to their wager amount: a bet between $10-49.99 granted one square, $50-99.99 provided two squares, and a wager of $100 or more awarded three squares.
Football Squares FAQ
What are football squares?
Football squares are like a fun bingo game for sports fans. You pick a spot on a 10×10 board, and after it's all filled up, each row and column gets a random number from 0-9. To win, you're hoping the final digits of the teams' scores at the end of each quarter or the whole game match your square's numbers.
How do I win in football squares?
To win, the final digit of both teams' scores at the end of a quarter (or the game) should match the numbers on your chosen square. For instance, if Team A has 14 points and Team B has 7, the winning square is the intersection of 4 and 7.
Can I choose my numbers in football squares?
Typically, participants choose squares, but the numbers are randomly assigned after all squares are selected. This ensures fairness and unpredictability in the game.
Are football squares available for games other than the Super Bowl?
While Football Squares is most famously associated with the Super Bowl, it can be applied to other football games and even different sports, depending on the sportsbook's offerings.
Can I play football squares online?
How much is the allowed stake for football squares?
The stake typically starts at a minimum of $10, but this can vary depending on the sportsbook and the specific promotion they're running.
Is there a limit on the number of squares I can pick?
Yes, there usually is. Most sportsbooks limit players to selecting between 1 to 3 squares but always check the specific rules of the promotion to be sure.
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