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Super Bowl Coin Toss Prop BetBy Kurt Boyer
Handicapping experts have been telling sports gamblers to bet with their heads and not their hearts for centuries now, and it is commonly accepted that relying on “gut” wagers and “hot streaks” at the sportsbook is a losing cause. Pure analytics and bankroll management are the only ways to stay in the black. But at the same time, to ignore the roles of confidence and momentum in sports betting is to say that there’s no such thing as momentum in sports – since gambling can be like a sport of its own. How the public feels about a game is a pretty good indicator of how the lines will move.
Superstitions abound when it’s time to bet on the Super Bowl. Do any old ladies make Super Bowl bets based on jersey colors or helmets? Probably, but superstition doesn’t go away as people become more and more familiar with the NFL. Super Bowl handicapping “celebrities” on Twitter and Facebook brag about their rituals and good-luck charms prior to the big weekend.
Then there’s the ritual of Super Bowl Sunday, on which many high-rolling prop, or “proposition” bettors take part in a rather silly pre-game rite of passage.
They place prop bets on the Super Bowl’s opening coin toss.
That’s right, Super Bowl prop bets always include odds on the coin toss coming up “heads” or “tails,” and said betting markets always manage to draw action. There is no skill involved in choosing heads or tails. The outcome is always 50/50 chance. Yet there is a whole sub-genre of so-called “sports betting” props on the Super Bowl coin toss.
Let’s look closer at the weirdest phenomenon in Super Bowl betting odds
How Super Bowl Coin Toss Prop Betting Works
A Chinese proverb states, “for rabbit stew, first catch a rabbit.” To understand how Super Bowl coin-toss odds can be offered in 2 or 3 different ways, it helps to know about the coin toss itself.
Team captains meet a head referee at midfield at least 3 minutes prior to kickoff to execute a coin toss. Super Bowl coin toss times may vary, since the occasion is often dressed-up with a spiffy ceremonial coin, celebrity (even presidential) coin-flippers, and lots of long announcements about each. But the process is still basically the same – the “away” team calls the coin flip, heads or tails, and gets to choose to receive, defer, or defend a particular end zone if they guess the coin flip right. At the Super Bowl, the lower-seeded playoff team gets to be the “away” team and call the coin toss. The referee (or the POTUS or whoever) flips the coin and the outcome is often shown in close-up on TV.
That’s probably a big reason why the Super Bowl’s coin toss prop bet draws action. Early-season NFL coin tosses are a private affair, with outcomes spoken dutifully by the stadium’s PA announcer and eventually the TV announcer. As the playoffs begin, coin tosses will start taking-on more and more ceremony and media coverage. Finally, the Super Bowl coin toss becomes a national event.
A common prop bet on the Super Bowl coin toss might read, “Is the coin flip going to come up heads? (Y/N)” or “What will the outcome of the coin toss be?” with matching payoff markets heads and tails. Another slightly-different Super Bowl coin toss prop asks which team will win the coin toss, introducing a new layer of “strategy” for the gambler.
Why Do Prop Gamblers Bet the Super Bowl Coin Toss
Some of the Super Bowl’s live bettors gamble on the coin toss in order to test their nerves or get a sense of the action. They will bet many units, or standard amounts of money, on many lines, point spreads, and/or props throughout the Super Bowl, winning or losing on balance. What’s 1-unit bet on the coin toss going to hurt in the long run?
But for those who place Super Bowl bets in advance and make no secret about it, the coin toss can turn into something else – a game of poker on social media.
I'll bet anyone $50 the Super Bowl coin toss is tails— TK (@TimothyKunmann) December 3, 2016
Bettors want each other to think they’re courageous! Making a “courageous” bet on a pure, simple “heads or tails” Super Bowl prop bet might be the same as handing over a tip to the bookmaker. But there are, in fact, times when choosing the coin toss prop can be smart.
Super Bowl Coin Toss Prop Betting Strategy
Prior to Philadelphia upsetting New England at Super Bowl LII in 2017, a fledgling sportsbook offered-up an extra prop bet on the coin toss. It had worked for thousands of bookies before!
The odds-makers made a crucial mistake, though, setting identical moneylines on what face of the coin would be chosen by the “visitors.” Not the outcome of the Super Bowl coin toss itself.
Gamblers rushed to take advantage, knowing that the Patriots were the “visiting” team and would likely call heads. NFL players are as superstitious as the gamblers who bet on them! The Pats love calling “heads” and were at least a 1-to-2 true favorite on the “heads” prop bet.
The house soon realized its mistake and adjusted the board, but it was too late by then. Heads it was – and the sportsbook’s clients won bigly, even though the result of the coin toss was tails.
Bookmakers must be extra-careful with weird prop bets. When in a slump, a sports betting website can be as clumsy-in-execution as a Super Bowl athlete…or a Super Bowl prop gambler.
Can I Bet on the Super Bowl Coin Toss at FanDuel?
FanDuel Sportsbook is proud to offer real prop-betting lines on the Super Bowl and the NFL postseason – lines set on specific Super Bowl props instead of “custom” player props set by a calculator. FanDuel’s betting odds are now available for online action to legal gamblers in 4 states.
Be sure to also look into FanDuel’s Super Bowl DFS competition for Fantasy Football enthusiasts from beginner to expert level,
And yes, of course – FanDuel couldn’t claim to be a legitimate Super Bowl betting book without odds on the coin toss.
Read up on another prop-betting tradition - predicting the color of the Gatorade shower at the Super Bowl.