February 2, 2012 - by David Hess
We weren’t planning on writing a Survivor column this week since we figure everybody’s Super Bowl pick is locked in based on which team they chose in the Conference Title round.
For example, we picked the Patriots two weeks ago, so we’ll be rooting for a Giants upset on Sunday.
Most of you, like us, are locked in to one choice. If you’re not, your pool must not be a true Survivor pool, but we’ll forgive you.
If for some reason you can choose both, then picking the Patriots will maximize your odds of winning a share of the pot — our Super Bowl winner pick shows them with a 55% chance to lift the trophy after the game.
However, if you want to maximize your long term expected value (the return on your investment if you were able to repeat the process so many times that luck evens out), then the correct pick depends on the pick distribution of your pool
With only two teams, the math becomes trivial. Basically, if the percent of your pool picking a team to win is lower than their actual expected win odds, then that team is the better pick.
So, if more than 55% of your pool is picking the Patriots, then the Giants are the best pick from an EV perspective. If less than 55% are picking the Pats, then New England becomes the “correct” pick.
That’s all there is to it this week. Good luck, and have fun Sunday!
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