It’s game day, and you’ve poured over spreads, charted yards per passing attempts, and now you think you have the winning score to beat out your own opponents in a Super Bowl final score pool.
Meanwhile, the guy who stole the last chicken wing hasn’t watched more than a day of football.
And he wins the pool.
The scenario is statistically very likely, according to San Diego State University Statistician Jim Lackritz, Ph.D. He says anyone has about a one in 400 chance of guessing the final score of a game – no matter how well-acquainted they are with the game.
“You can do a lot of research, you can check into data and facts and models and history, but in the end, you’re better off to go with your gut,” said Lackritz, who often studies sports statistics and is a co-founder of SDSU’s sports MBA program.
As a statistician, he said he’s never come close to winning. He believes that may be because he applies too much research to his bets.
“There are times where we let science and our egos get in the way of enjoying ourselves,” Lackritz said. “We think we know more than we do.”
So the best way to win that Super Bowl pool, he said, is not to use statistics, but rather any lack of knowledge in favor of that gut feeling.
That’s one point for the “seasonal” fan who picks favorites based off the color of the team’s jerseys.
Guessing the winner will be a little bit easier, since the Patriots have about a 65 percent chance of winning, he said. Betting on the underdog team may win you more money though.
Statistics aside– he hopes the Patriots win because, as a Californian, he just can’t root for Eli Manning.