Within minutes of kickoff of Super Bowl LV between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, one of the biggest props of the day will be settled before the ball is even put into play. When viewers tune into CBS or fire up the free CBSSports.com stream of the game at 6:30 p.m. ET, gamblers around the world will be asking themselves a simple question: Heads or tails?
Inherently, we know deep down there's a 50 percent chance of each side coming up in the pregame Super Bowl coin toss. But that doesn't stop us from trying to get an edge any way we can. Our question is: Is there an edge to be had?
Some bettors believe "tails never fails," and while that's not true, it's failed less than heads in Super Bowl history. Of the 54 Super Bowls to date, tails has come up 29 times versus just 25 for heads, including in each of the last two seasons and in six of the last seven Super Bowls. But as our Matt Severance notes, the team that's won the coin toss hasn't won the game since Super Bowl 48, something last-second bettors may want to keep in mind on gameday.
So with tails on a roll, is that the side you should back? Or is heads due to finally come through? Since there's no real edge to either side, sportsbooks will typically lower the juice for the prop, giving bettors a way to get some action on a random event at a better price than is available for most other props. Some books even offer odds boosts on the coin toss, and if you can get one side at better than +100, it's obviously the play to make as you have positive expected value on either side at that point.
My pick for the coin toss is Heads, but if you want a smart bet that's related to the coin toss, you should take the Buccaneers as the team to get the ball first.
Here's why: Both teams deferred to the second half if they won the coin toss in all of their games through most of the season, but in Week 15, the Falcons took the ball after winning the coin toss in their first matchup with the Bucs. How did Tampa Bay respond? By taking the ball itself when it won its next two coin tosses in Weeks 16 and 17, with the latter a rematch against the Falcons. The Bucs lost the coin toss in all three playoff games since but had their opponents defer as usual. Two of the teams that played surprisingly well against the Chiefs (Chargers in Week 2, Panthers in Week 9) also took the ball after winning the toss and scored on the first drive before coming close to pulling off an upset. Since that seems like a strategy the Bucs may employ if they win the toss on Sunday, they're the better bet for team to get the ball first in Super Bowl LV.
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