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What's In the Box?!

Every Super Bowl box pool combination ranked

February 08, 2022

Pgiam

Want to buy a box?

Indeed, it is that time of year again. Super Bowl 56 (I refuse to use the roman numerals because I don’t want you having to try and figure out what LVI means) is upon us and sports bars, local businesses and work offices are busy filling up the ubiquitous box pools (or squares) for the Super Bowl.

For the unitiated, box pools pay the first quarter, halftime, third quarter and final score. A box pool has 100 squares. Numbers from 0-9 are pulled randomly for the AFC team and the NFC team and arranged down the left-hand side of the box for one team and along the bottom for the other. The score at the end of each quarter and the final score are then matched up. For instance, Tampa Bay (NFC) led Kansas City (AFC) by a score of 21-6 at halftime last year. That means whoever has the box where the NFC 1 and AFC 6 match up wins (once a team clears 9 points the second number of the score is used).

As such, whether you're seasoned gambler or someone who has no idea what football is about but wants to be part of the action on game day, it all hinge on the numbers draw. After all, football is fairly predictable. The numbers 0, 1, 3, 4, and 7 are great. Pull 2, 5 or 9 and, well, not so much. Get an 8 or a 6 and you at least feel like you have a chip and a chair.

But is that true? Is a one a ticket to cash? Is a two or a five a death card? We decided to find out. We compiled every first quarter, halftime, third quarter and final score combos. You can check out the full list here (AFC number first) or the top 10 below. Some results were as anticipated but there were surprises.

For starters, 33 combos have never hit in any quarter. If you have any of these, you’re either totally screwed or about to make history.

The best combo to cash is 0-0, but it comes with a caveat. It has hit 19 times, but 14 of them are in the first quarter. It has never hit for the final score, which typically pays four times as much as the first and third quarter scores (halftime usually pays twice the first quarter and third quarter scores).

The rest of the top 10 include the usual suspects, various combinations of zero, three, four and seven. It’s not until we get to a tie for the 13th spot that we find a bit of an anomaly—AFC 0, NFC 9 has hit four times as has AFC 0, NFC 5, including two final scores. In fact, in Super Bowl 22 (Redskins/Broncos) that combo hit the halftime and the third quarter.

Speaking of 2, it's had some fine moments. AFC 2, NFC 0 has hit halftime twice; AFC 0, NFC 2 hit halftime once. NFC 2, AFC 8 the third quarter once and how about a 2-2 halftime score when the Eagles led the Patriots 22-12 at the break in Super Bowl 52. In all a 2 for one team or the other has played 10 times including the Pats 32-29 final score in Super Bowl 38.

On the flip side, some score combos have never hit. Like 1-1. It's shocking that a quarter has never ended 21-21. The 8 has had issues, too. AFC 8 and NFC 0, 1 or 7 has never popped up. No 28-10. No 28-21. No 28-7. No 28-17 or 28-27. That does not seem possible, but it has yet to happen.

So, like we said: Want to buy a box?