Super Bowl parties are going to look and feel much different this year, much like the 2020 NFL season and The Big Game itself. One way to help keep a sense of normalcy will be with Super Bowl pools. Below, we look at the different options to help add some excitement as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
How to win your Super Bowl squares pools
What is it: Super Bowl squares contests require a 10×10 grid. Randomly assign numbers 0 through 9 to each column and each row. Assign either the NFC or AFC representative to either axis; let’s assign the Chiefs to the top columns and Bucs to the left-hand rows. Participants then pick their square(s) based on their prediction for the final score of each quarter, half, or game. The numbers represent either the singular or second digit in each respective team’s score.
How to win: The key to winning squares contests in which you’re allowed to pick your own box rather than having them randomly assigned, is to look for key numbers. With field goals and touchdowns plus extra points representing 3 and 7 points, respectively, the most popular picks are for scores ending in 0, 3, 6, and 7. Next is to think of multiples of those numbers, bringing 1, 4, and 9 into play. Numbers 2, 5, and 8 are statistically the least likely to provide a win.
Use the betting lines to get an idea of what the final score could look like. The Chiefs are favored by 3 points with a projected total of 56.5 for Super Bowl LV. From this, we can infer an implied final score of 30-27 in favor of Kansas City. Therefore, box 07 (column 0 for AFC and row 7 for NFC) would be the winning square for the final score. Boxes 96 (29-26), 16 (31-26), and 17 (31-27) would also be good picks in this scenario.
How to win your Super Bowl props pools
Premade Super Bowl props pools are easy to find and come designed for a wide range of football knowledge. Tailor the pool to your audience with the right mix of game props, player props, and novelty props. Mix in enough luck to keep it interesting for all involved.
Game props can include the winning score, the total points scored in each quarter, half, or game, how many touchdowns or field goals are scored, and the longest play of the game. Like with squares contests, it helps to project the final score based on the betting lines for the spread and Over/Under. Map out the game while factoring in which team is more likely to start hot.
It’s important to correlate your player props to your game props and the betting lines. Expecting the Chiefs to win big in a high-scoring game? Stack the Over on yardage props for TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill, and QB Patrick Mahomes. A lopsided victory by Kansas City would also likely hand the Super Bowl MVP to Mahomes for a second straight year.
Liking a tight, low-scoring game? Take the Under on props for Mahomes and Bucs QB Tom Brady, and the pass catchers. Think about projecting multiple turnovers and choose a prominent defensive player like Buccaneers LB Devin White as MVP.
Novelty props include everything from the length of the national anthem sung by Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan to the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning head coach. Strategies should change according to the size of your pool. Playing with just a select group of family and friends? Play it safe. Playing with an entire office, neighborhood, or friends of friends? Take chances and think outside the box. The more people in the pool, the greater need for variance in order to win and avoid potential ties.
5 tips to win your Super Bowl pools
- Look at the betting lines: The sportsbooks know what they’re doing and have already come up with the best projection for Super Bowl LV. Use their lines to help you get an idea of who will win and the final score.
- Project the game: Incorporate your own football knowledge where you’re comfortable. Your predicted upset could prove to be the difference.
- Correlate picks: Group quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends together and base your picks for all off of your projected final score.
- Avoid the hype: A common mistake in props pools is expecting too much offense. Taking the Under or the less exciting answer on props is often a profitable strategy when others are likely to be taking the Over.
- Choose for variance: The bigger the pool, the greater the incentive to pick a longshot winner for Super Bowl MVP, first-touchdown scorer, or color of the Gatorade.