How to Play Football Squares
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Football squares is a type of football lottery that gives all participants a chance to win. It is based solely on luck and there is no skill in determining which team has the better players and which team is likely to cover the spread. Instead, participants buy one of 100 squares. Each square represents a spot on a 10-by-10 grid and it corresponds to the last digit of each team's scoring total. Football squares are usually played in college football bowl games, NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl.
Create a 10-by-10 grid on a sturdy piece of paper and write the name of the home team on the top line and the name of the visiting team down the left side of the grid. The visiting team is written in a vertical manner.
Sell squares to friends, family and coworkers. The squares can be sold for whatever your market will bear. If you are playing with students or young people who don't have much disposable income, you may play for $1 per square. If you are playing with experienced bettors interested in participating in an event with a big payday, you may sell the squares for $250 or more.
Write the numbers 0 through 9 across the top of the paper and down the left side of the grid. Then put all the players' names on the squares that you have sold. Have someone who is not participating in the square pool pull the names one by one out of a box or hat. Write the first player's name in the square that corresponds with "0" and "0." Continue picking names and fill up the first row with names and then go back to the second row and continue to do the same. Follow in this manner until all squares have been filled by a name. If the home team wins the game 27-21, you would win the square pool if you have the square that corresponds to "7" and "1."
Distribute copies of the square pool to all participants well before the game. This way players know exactly what numbers they have and what numbers to root for as the game moves along.
Make sure all players know what the payoffs will be. In many square pools, payoffs are based on the score at the end of each quarter. In that case, you would make four payoffs in a particular game. The biggest payoff comes at the end of the game for the final score.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.