Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Bowl Quant Facts

These stats are not related to sport psychology, but with the "biggest of the big games" coming up tomorrow, we thought you might find some of these tidbits interesting:

Will the Game be Close?

We've been spoiled lately, because many of the recent Super Bowls have been close and exciting games.
  • 4 of the last 6 games have been decided by 4 points or less, and
  • 5 of the last 8 games have been decided by 4 points or less.
And, due to the nature of the game (Conference Champions are competing!), many fans expect close games. However, do you remember the blowouts we've had in the past? Let's take a look at what the past Super Bowl numbers say:
  • About two-thirds of Super Bowls are decided by 10 points or more, and
  • About 50% of the games have been decided by 14 points or more.
These Offenses are Strong: How Many Points Might be Scored?

At first glance, the expected total points scored in this game seemed high, but when we looked at recent Super Bowl total scores, we thought otherwise. Here's a look at the average total points scored in the Super Bowl, by half, and in total. We looked at three sets of games: every Super Bowl, games since 1983 and games since 1994 (the years listed in the charts are based on the regular season; this includes every Super Bowl through Feb. 2009).

1st Half

2nd Half


All Super Bowls












How do Underdogs perform in the Super Bowl?

Recent underdogs have performed well in the Super Bowl:
  • 2-0 in the last two Super Bowls,
  • 6-2 in the last 8 Super Bowls, and
  • 8-4 in the last 12 Super Bowls.
However, if we look at every Super Bowl played, the underdogs are:
  • 19-21-3 in forty-three Super Bowl games. Slightly subpar, with 3 pushes.
  • When the point spread is 5 points or less (like this year), the underdog is 8-8.