Are case breaks a smarter alternative to buying your own boxes?

Case breaks have been around since the early 2000’s, however many of us are new to the whole case break scene.

For those of you who have never heard of a case break, you can read this very comprehensive article on case breaks written by cardboard connection here:

In this article we will focus on random teams case breaks and compare them to buying your own boxes.

I want to start off by using last night’s 2019 Topps Inception Case Break as an example.

Last night we opened up quite possibly one of the best cases of inception anywhere this year.

Included in this case were the following cards:

  1. Mike Trout Auto Patch Orange /10
  2. Juan Soto Auto Blue /25
  3. Mystery Redemption Player A Orange

My voice is still coming back from the amount of #Filthbombs I had to drop last night.


Opening up your own boxes can be a lot of fun. The adrenaline rush you experience while you’re ripping open these packs (waiting for that Mike Trout 1/1 to show it’s face) is exhilarating. We all know that the big hits are few and far between, however on those rare occasions that they do choose to surface….it’s sooooo worth it!

Opening up baseball cards is as American as apple pie. It’s as American as that Ford pick up which you proudly display outside your home in your driveway. It’s as American as … you get the point.

I am in no way saying we should abolish the opening of baseball cards, however as a baseball guy, I always like to take a deeper look at the numbers.


There are 16 boxes of Inception in a case. Each box contains 1 hit.

Each box retails for $75 and each case retails for almost $1200.

If you would have purchased one of the boxes from our case above, you had a 3/16 chance (18.75%) of landing a high valued card.

It is our opinion that the Trout is worth $750-1000, the Soto is worth $175 and the Mystery Redemption is worth around $200 at the time of this blog.

We have opened up a TON of inception, and this was by far the best of the best.

This means…. best case scenario, you still would have a 18.75% chance of pulling one of these cards in the hottest case if you were to buy 1 box.

Now, if you opened 1 box, didn’t get anything and decide to rip another… Your chances only increase from 18.75% to 20%.


The odds that we spoke about above, are best case scenario odds. Most of the cases of Inception we have opened have only had 1-2 cards max worth more than $100.

If we were to remove one of those 3 high valued cards, leaving us with 2 “big” hits, your chances drop down to 12.5% in 1 box. YIKES!

You are spending $75 on a 12.5% chance to MAYBE hit a $150-200 card.

We all know it’s tough to stop at just 1 box though. Buyers usually see themselves 2-3 boxes in before long ($225), with their 3rd box only offering them a 14.5% chance at the best card in the case.

Even if you did hit that best card, you are still most likely behind unless you hit one the Trout that we pulled last night (or something similar).


Now I can’t sit here and tell you that one is better than the other from an entertainment standpoint, however what I can do is show you the numbers and let you make a financial decision based on those.


If you were to join us in last night’s random team Inception break, you would have had the following odds:

26 Spots – $46 per spot.

Your chances at landing one of 3 specific teams that hit last night from a pool of 26 spots is 11.5% for the first spot taken.

Let’s stop here.

If you bought a box from this case, you had a 18.75% chance of landing a big money card (1/16). In our above case break example, you have an 11.5% chance of landing a top 3 card from the break.

If you were to go dollar for dollar, the odds are actually pretty close here.

After you get past box 1 however, those odds begin to shift!

If you were to take a second random spot, you would now have committed $92 into the break. (2 boxes would be $150).

This second random spot would bring your odds of hitting either the Angels, Nationals or Mystery spot up to 22.15%. This is 2.15% higher than the odds in your second box (remember, the odds of landing one of these 3 cards in personal box #2 only go up to 20%.) and $58 cheaper as well.

If you were to take a third random spot, you would now have committed $138 into the break (3 personal boxes would be $225).

Your odds of landing a top 3 card in the random now shoot up to 31.88% while your odds of pulling a top 3 card in your third personal box go from 20% to only 21.4%.

Are you following???

Here is where it gets even nuttier:

Let’s say you buy a forth spot in the random. You would now have committed $184 (remember that the price of 4 personal boxes is around $300) for a 40.77% chance at landing one of those 3 teams.

The odds of you landing a top 3 card with 4 random spots increases your odds to 40.77%! Your odds on your forth personal box only increase to 30.7%.

Yes. You have over a 10% higher chance of hitting a top card at this point in the case break and you are saving $116 in the process.

What about a fifth spot? You would now have committed $230 to this case break (compare this to $375 for 5 personal boxes).

Your odds now increase from 40.77% to 48.85% compared to 41.6% on your fifth personal box (odds start getting closer, although money invested does not).

Now let’s compare dollar to dollar. If we spent $230 in random spots, and $230 on personal boxes, it would look like this:

4 spots in random = $230 = 40.77%

3 personal boxes = $225 = 21.4%

Those numbers aren’t even close!!!

Now remember… There are no guarantees in any cases. Some cases may be loaded, while others may be terrible. Some cases may be team heavy, while others may be spread out. Same goes when buying your own boxes or cases.

The main issue you will find when buying your own boxes, is unless you are ripping from a sealed case, or know what has been pulled already, you are flying blind and your odds are out the window.

Being calculated in random case breaks and playing the numbers can definitely help you find pay dirt.


50% is 50%. While 50% may sound like great odds, it is fair to note that you can flip a coin and have it land on heads 20 straight times. Eventually, things should even out, however there will always be hot and cold spells.

Also, every product is going to break down differently. Quantity of boxes in case, price per box and other factors all play a role in making your decision on whether to bust a box or have us (or whoever you use) do it.

Bottom line…. there is no special recipe for case breaks. Luck will always play a role. However, following the odds, being smart, playing responsibly and having fun will help you enjoy the hobby a lot more than buying picked through cases and coming out empty handed.

Whether you break with us or elsewhere, our main goal is to always educate the community, helping you make the best possible decisions whenever you can. A better hobby helps everyone!

New to breaks? Wanna try something new?

Case Breaks is what we do. Baseball Card Case Breaks is our specialty. 

Yes. Case Breaks Baseball. Our 3 favorite words.

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