Super Bowl Prop Bets – How to Bet the Coin Toss

January 31, 2021

Prop bets are nothing new, nor are they unique to the Super Bowl. Every game has them. But with the Super Bowl being the last game for months, sportsbooks tend to go all out with prop bets like the coin toss (and so much more).

Why so crazy? Well, because sportsbooks know that not only will they get their regulars putting money down, but they will be getting a lot of new bettors as well.

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With it being the last game of the season, sportsbooks want everyone to feel like there is something they could put a bet on—or they just like the money. The American Gaming Association estimated that Americans bet around $6 billion on the Super Bowl last year.

For people to bet that much there must be options, which is where the enormous list of Super Bowl prop bets sportsbooks run come in handy. When it comes to the Super Bowl, books run hundreds on anything and everything.

There are always a bunch related to the national anthem and half time show, along with countless prop bets related to player production.

But there are also prop bets on the color of Gatorade thrown on the winning coach, the jersey number of the first/last touchdown scorer, and—of course – the coin toss.

There is More to Betting on the Coin Toss Than Luck

Betting on the coin toss seems like such a random thing. But it is one of the more common Super Bowl prop bets. Most, if not all, sportsbooks will probably carry it.

Depending on your perspective, it is an easy way to start the Super Bowl with a win or lost money when the wager is made. But there is more to bet on when it comes to the coin toss than whether it comes up heads or tails.

DraftKings has a few options for bettors:

  • Coin Toss Outcome
    • Heads  -103
    • Tails     -103
  • Coin Toss Winner
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -106
    • Kansas City Chiefs           -106
  • Player to correctly call opening kick-off coin toss
    • Yes        -106
    • No         -106
  • To Win Coin Toss and Game
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers             Yes +355             No -500
    • Kansas City Chiefs                      Yes +205             No -265

Typically, when it comes to betting, you want to take out the ‘guessing’ element. The odds for each potential outcome are clear. But if you just make a guess rather than think it through, you might as well burn your money.

It may sound surprising, but it is not hard to find data on the Super Bowl coin toss. Of the previous 54, it has been heads 25 times and tails for 29 games.

Tails has had a four-game winning streak three times; heads has had a five-game streak.

Yeah, that does not help much. But when you consider that it was tails last year and in five of the last seven, one option begins to stand out.

As for the coin toss winner, the road team calls the toss. The home team alternates conferences for the Super Bowl. So, this year the Buccaneers will be the home team (Chiefs were the home team last year).

That means the Chiefs will be calling the toss.

From a logical perspective, the Chiefs have a 50/50 chance of winning the toss. But from a historical perspective, the Chiefs are the better bet. Dating back to Super Bowl I, the team calling the coin toss has won it 31 times.

However, while the aggregate numbers favor the Chiefs, upon closer examination, they do not. Of those 31 times, the American Conference Team only won 11. 

As for the relationship between winning the coin toss and winning the game, if you are the superstitious sort, you do not want your favorite team to win the coin toss. Out of 54 Super Bowls, there have only been 22 where the coin toss winner won the game.

The Seattle Seahawks was the last team to do so back in Super Bowl XLVIII.

So – How Should You Bet?

Betting Play: Many analysts will tell you to go ahead and take tails for the toss. But when your chances are basically 50/50, the potential payout is not worth it. Skip the first three but take whichever team you favor to win the coin toss and the game.

When it comes to betting on the coin toss, you might as well just—well, flip a coin. History has nothing to do with how the coin toss will play out for Super Bowl LV.

Maybe, if someone wanted to analyze the results relative to the ref making the toss (not just for the Super Bowl but the ref’s career), a semi-reliable pattern would emerge.

But that sounds like a lot of work for a bet with a relatively low payout.

If you really want to bet on something related to the coin toss, look for value. The only real value is in betting on the coin toss winner also winning the game.

If you were to take either team, the payout would be better than if you had bet the spread or the moneyline.

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Travis
Travis Pulver
Travis a native-Texan which is where his love of football originated. But after moving around a lot when he was younger, he was able to develop an appreciation for the game and not just his favorite teams. He now lives in Indiana with his wife, Nicole, and two kids, Jackson and Addison. You can find him on Twitter at @FatManWriting.