Is Investing in Office Sports Pools a Waste of Time & Money?

March 24, 2008

Several years ago, I filled out my first NCAA tournament bracket.  It may be hard to believe but I had never completed one before that so I had no idea what I was doing.

Rather than making random picks based on mascots or team colors, I did some research.  I took notes during the expert’s predictions on Selection Sunday and then scoured the internet to compile a spreadsheet with all the stats I could find on each team in the tournament.

I stayed up all night matching stat for stat and slowly advancing teams one at a time through the bracket. I wish I had kept that piece of paper because I picked every game correct from the Elite 8 on!  When Uconn won the championship game I moved into first place and won the office pool of several hundred dollars.  Wow, my first year and I had won.  I couldn’t wait until March Madness rolled around again.

The next two years I followed the same formula, including even more stats, spending even more time analyzing the teams, and filling out multiple brackets to cover all my bases. Needless to say my picks were miserable failures and I probably spent $50 buying entries in various office pools.

After that second year, I decided to hang up my spreadsheet and watch the games for fun instead of profit.  I was spending too much time and money pursuing another win and chances were I’d never replicate my initial success.  It was fun while it lasted and the money helped pay our tax bill that year.  I guess I should have just retired then and there and gone out on top!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Is Investing in Office Sports Pools a Waste of Time & Money?

  • No Debt Plan

    It depends on how much time you put into it. I spent an hour at most on my picks for the office pool — and we only did $5.

  • Hannah

    I think the point of those pools isn’t so much to make money as it is to mingle with coworkers and discuss the outcomes of the games.

    Nonetheless, I agree with you that it’s more or less a waste of money. I’m glad my work doesn’t have them!