__A Wimpy Squares Cost
Analysis__

I've been running the Wimpy
Squares pool for 13 years now (2020 is the 14th year) and I've been pleased with
its popularity. Although I'd "borrowed" the basic idea from someone else,
(he charged $50 for every square) I thought I could improve on it by charging
less for the (perceived) lesser popular combinations, along with a premium for
the numbers that everyone seemed to want. This seemed to work pretty well,
however it was still more difficult to move the cheaper squares, even with the
discount. In 2013, I decided to do a cost analysis of the whole pool based on
7 (now 13) years of data. Which squares were __really__ better, and
which ones were poor investments? So far, I've limited my focus to final point
spreads. That is to say, I'm making the assumption that a final score of 54-50
is no more likely than a final score of 55-51. All 4 point differentials
are lumped together. While the data exists on the site if you want to attempt to
break it down by specific combinations, I feel this point differential analysis
yields some fascinating conclusions.

Point Differential | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | |

2007 | 500 | 1200 | 550 | 350 | 325 | 225 | 275 | 600 | 250 | 625 | 4900 |

2008 | 525 | 425 | 650 | 1225 | 100 | 825 | 275 | 150 | 300 | 425 | 4900 |

2009 | 175 | 500 | 125 | 1275 | 75 | 400 | 550 | 400 | 725 | 675 | 4900 |

2010 | 75 | 200 | 225 | 800 | 50 | 275 | 150 | 625 | 1650 | 850 | 4900 |

2011 | 275 | 175 | 675 | 500 | 100 | 150 | 225 | 600 | 1575 | 625 | 4900 |

2012 | 125 | 125 | 1425 | 375 | 275 | 325 | 725 | 700 | 700 | 125 | 4900 |

2013 | 475 | 25 | 175 | 150 | 1475 | 425 | 700 | 250 | 700 | 525 | 4900 |

2014 | 725 | 150 | 175 | 350 | 1300 | 350 | 450 | 275 | 500 | 625 | 4900 |

2015 | 800 | 350 | 175 | 725 | 400 | 1075 | 300 | 375 | 350 | 350 | 4900 |

2016 | 75 | 175 | 200 | 500 | 400 | 800 | 850 | 1500 | 275 | 125 | 4900 |

2017 | 300 | 175 | 100 | 275 | 1225 | 125 | 775 | 550 | 675 | 700 | 4900 |

2018 | 125 | 325 | 50 | 1200 | 625 | 325 | 700 | 450 | 725 | 375 | 4900 |

2019 | 425 | 325 | 1100 | 325 | 500 | 500 | 450 | 400 | 325 | 550 | 4900 |

13 YR VALUE | $353.85 | $319.23 | $432.69 | $619.23 | $526.92 | $446.15 | $494.23 | $528.85 | $673.08 | $505.77 | 4900 |

Adj. 13 yr value | $353.85 | $242.31 | $278.85 | $388.46 | $296.15 | $369.23 | $494.23 | $451.92 | $519.23 | $505.77 | 3900 |

2013 Cost Was | 40 | 44 | 44 | 50 | 50 | 52 | 52 | 56 | 56 | 56 | 500 |

2014 Cost Was | 30 | 34 | 47 | 55 | 45 | 52 | 52 | 60 | 65 | 60 | 500 |

2015 Cost Was | 35 | 34 | 47 | 52 | 50 | 52 | 52 | 53 | 65 | 60 | 500 |

2016 Cost Was | 38 | 35 | 45 | 54 | 50 | 53 | 50 | 53 | 65 | 57 | 500 |

2017 Cost Was | 36 | 34 | 45 | 55 | 50 | 54 | 52 | 55 | 64 | 55 | 500 |

2018 Cost Was | 36 | 32 | 43 | 54 | 52 | 51 | 54 | 55 | 65 | 58 | 500 |

2019 Cost Was | 35 | 32 | 40 | 55 | 53 | 50 | 56 | 56 | 65 | 58 | 500 |

2020 New Cost | 35 | 32 | 43 | 55 | 55 | 50 | 55 | 55 | 64 | 56 | 500 |

Let's look at the results. The
gray shaded cells show which
differential won the grand prize $1000 for that year. An award that large
will naturally skew the results in favor of that spread. This is similar
to the way that a slot machine may pay back 95% of the money taken in, but if
you don't hit the big jackpot, you're going to receive a substantially smaller
percentage. After 13 years, winning the grand prize clearly raises the expected
value of that point spread about $7.70 The
__ cells show the return __
without__ the grand prize factored in. To put this number in
perspective, you should assume that the squares each cost $10 less.

From this data, we can conclude that the biggest bargain on the board is the 7-pt differentials. They have returned an average of $62 per square while only costing $55. Those statistics are factoring in that the 7-pt squares have won the grand prize 3 times. Using the same formula, the profitable squares are the 2-pt differentials, returning over $67 each, while costing only $64. The 9 and 10-pt differentials have been priced fairly accurately. All other combinations would seem to be overpriced.

Taking the grand prize out of the equation (the __ line), those great 7-pt differentials, (assuming costing only $45 each), are now returning less than $39. Other differentials fare even worse. Using the adjusted line, assuming each square cost $10 less, and looking at the 13 year return you get a completely different perspective:

Point Differential | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | |

Adjusted Cost | $25.00 | $22.00 | $33.00 | $45.00 | $45.00 | $40.00 | $45.00 | $45.00 | $54.00 | $46.00 | 3900 |

Adj. 13 yr value | $353.85 | $242.31 | $278.85 | $388.46 | $296.15 | $369.23 | $494.23 | $451.92 | $519.23 | $505.77 | 3900 |

Profit/Loss | $10.38 | $2.23 | -$5.12 | -$6.15 | -$15.38 | -$3.08 | $4.42 | $0.19 | -$2.08 | $4.58 | 3900 |

Using this calculation, the 10 point squares are the biggest
bargain on the board - by a wide margin. These are followed by the 1 point
spreads and the 4 point spreads. It should come as no shock that these 3 columns
are precisely the 3 columns that have __never__ won the
jackpot. While all of this may be relevant, you should not be making your
decision on which squares to purchase based on data about which squares

The squares are not randomly priced. They are priced based on a 13 year performance, with differentials that have won the grand prize being sold at a premium. From year to year, the price may go up or down slightly depending on how those squares performed the previous year.

For the first 6 years, the 6-point spreads had performed terribly. Then they hit the big jackpot two years in a row. The 9 point spreads haven't been much better, paying about $24 per square if you don't count the grand prize in 2007. In 2013, there was only ONE 9 pt winner, and it was only for $25. The 4 point spreads started as one of the more expensive squares, yet had performed horribly. I dropped the price in 2016. From 2016 - 2018, they were big winners, and I'd raised their cost accordingly.

On the opposite end, the 2 point differentials have been the huge winners, winning back well over $50 per square, even without factoring in TWO jackpot hits. They had a poor year in 2019 but have still managed to return over $67 per square! They underperformed in both 2015 and 2016, bringing the total down from their high of $80 per square! The 1 point differentials at a little over $50 had also been big winners, despite never winning the big jackpot.

I acknowledge that 13 years of data probably has minor statistical relevance, but I don't think it should be ignored either. Based on the numbers, I have continued to revamp the costs of the squares.

__What happened in 2014...__

2014 saw some corrections in the data that were probably due.
The underperforming 10 point squares hit it big for $72.50/square, which was a
huge windfall for a few players with 2-2 ($250) and 3-3 ($375). The 10
point squares also have a strong chance to hit the halftime score of the
Championship Game for $300. Recognizing that with approximately double the
chance to win the $300 halftime final than a 9-pt square, the price of 10 point squares has gone up $5/square. Despite hitting only one other game for $50, (1-5), a 6-point
differential (0-4) hit the jackpot for the 2nd year in a row. Two jackpots in 2
years cannot be ignored, and I've increased the cost of 6-point squares by $5. There are
corresponding cost * reductions* on the 7 and 3 point differentials.
7 point squares have been reduced $3 and 3 point squares have been reduced a
whopping $7/square!

The 10 point squares hit it big again, with 1-1 winning a Final Four game for $300, and then again, hitting the halftime of the Championship Final for another $300. As a group, each $35 10-point square won an average of $80 each. This reinforces my observation last year that the added chance of hitting a halftime score in the Final Game makes 10-pt differential square a better investment than a 9-pt differential square. I've raised the price of 10-pt squares $3. After a strong year, I've also raised the prices of of the 5, 7, and 9 point spreads. After a disappointing year, I've lowered the prices of the 1, 4, and 8 point spreads.

Historically, the higher pricing will do little to deter people from selecting the 1 and 2 point spreads. My goal is to make the other combinations attractive by competitive pricing. I am expecting continued higher interest in the 9 and 10 point squares. I also expect that despite underperforming for 3 straight years, the 3 point squares at $53 will remain popular.

The 10 point squares bottomed out, winning only 3 $25 games. They still offer strong chances to win the halftime of the final game, thus cost a bit more than the 9 point squares. I've lowered the price of 10-pt squares $2, and the 9-pt squares $1. After a strong year, I've also raised the prices of of the 3, 4, and 5 point spreads. I've raised the price of the 7-pt squares after a moderate return in 2016 to reflect their strong performance over the last 10 years. Finally, I've slightly lowered the prices of the 1 and 2 pt squares, after both underperformed 2 years in a row.

The 1 and 2 point combinations continued to be consistent winners. The 5, 8, and 9 point squares had terrible returns, and the 7's weren't much better. The 7-point squares still have a relatively high cost because they remain one of the three columns to have won the Championship game more than once over the last decade. I reduced the price on all of them. The 6-point squares hit the jackpot for the third time in 2017. They haven't earned much when they don't hit that final game, a small increase in price seemed appropriate. The 4-point squares came in strong for the second year in a row. I raised the price on the 4 most profitable columns from 2017. At $36 and $32 respectively, the 10 and 9 point squares offer tremendous value if they should happen to hit even once for $25.

The 10 point squares had a rough year, hitting only 4 times, and for very small amounts. The 9 point squares hit only twice, but one of them was a $300 halftime final which brought up the average. They are still by far the cheapest square on the board, and the 10 point squares have been dropped another dollar. The worst performers by a wide margin were the 8 point squares which only hit twice for the bare minimum. These may be a bargain however at their new $40 price tag. 6 and 7 point squares continue to hit sporadically but often for big payouts. I've raised the price of each a dollar. After disappointing back-to-back seasons, I've lowered the 5 point squares $1. The 4 point squares have been huge winners for the last 3 years, and the $2 raise reflects it. I raised the price of the 3 point squares $1, because they have historically outperformed the 4 point squares, and I didn't think that they should be cheaper.

__What happened in 2019...__

The 10 point squares had another terrific year, outperforming several more expensive combinations. The 2, 7, and 9 point squares all had a down year. The 8 point squares hit the jackpot, and I've boosted their price by $3. I also raised the price of the 6-pt squares by $2 to basically bring them into line with the 3, 4, and 7 point differentials. I lowered the cost of the 1-pt differentials by $2, but they are still the 2nd highest priced square on the board. I also lowered the expensive 2, 3, and 4 point squares by $1 each.

Pretty much everything you need to know is posted here, or elsewhere on the site. Perhaps you can spot a bargain amongst the clusters of data. Did I raise some combinations too much? If so, then there is value somewhere else. Find the diamond in the rough, and you can cash in.