Before the ball is snapped, the touchdowns are scored, and the confetti pops, every Super Bowl opens with the coin toss.
The ceremonial call between heads or tails not only determines which team will kick and receive to open the Big Game but it has become a Super Bowl prop betting staple, garnering a massive amount of money at sportsbooks. Here’s everything you need to know about betting on the Super Bowl coin toss.
Super Bowl 2021 coin toss odds
Some online sportsbooks are already taking bets on the Super Bowl coin toss and why wouldn't they? It's truly a 50-50 proposition. You'll even notice that most sportsbooks offer reduced odds at -105, compared to the usual -110 seen when betting point spreads or Over/Under totals. At -105, it'll take a $105 bet to win $100.
Heads or tails
Will the team that calls heads or tails win the coin toss?
Will the coin toss winner win the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl coin toss betting explained
A simple coin flip has become one of the most popular and fun Super Bowl betting options, with all sportsbooks offering at least odds on “Heads or Tails”. But there’s more than one way to wager on the coin toss results.
What is the Super Bowl coin toss?
To determine which team will receive the ball first in the Super Bowl, a coin is tossed and the designated road team (NFC team in even-numbered Super Bowls, AFC team in odd-numbered Super Bowls) calls either Heads or Tails.
The winner of the coin toss can choose to kick the ball to the other team to open the first half (allowing them to receive the kickoff in the second half) or receive the opening kick after halftime (and kick off to start the second half).
Super Bowl coin toss prop bets
Super Bowl coin toss prop bets are among the handful of odds markets not decided between the whistles. Similar to national anthem props, coin toss props are quick and exciting, making them a great opener to your Big Game betting.
Sportsbooks will offer odds on not only the winning side of the coin toss (Heads or Tails) but also:
- Which team will win the coin toss (NFC or AFC).
- What the winner will choose to do (kick or receive).
- If the coin toss winner will go on to win the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs.
How to bet on the coin toss
When it comes to Super Bowl bets, the coin toss prop is the simplest wager you can make. There’s no deep dive into analytics nor do you need to be a savvy sports bettor to find an edge. It’s a 50/50 chance no matter how you toss it.
Because the coin toss is a random result, bettors should bet responsibly and treat the coin toss as a fun bet, always staying within their means. Sportsbooks are also cautious when it comes to the coin toss, setting stricter bet size limits on this prop than other Super Bowl betting odds.
Heads or tails prop
The most common Super Bowl coin toss prop is “Heads or Tails”. You just bet on which side of the coin will turn up.
Sportsbooks will assign a cost to each side, also known as juice or vig. For example, a coin toss prop could have -105 juice on Heads and Tails, meaning for every $1 you wish to win on the coin toss, you would have to wager $1.05 (bet $105 to win $100).
A prop market like this is a great example of why it’s so important to shop around at different sportsbooks before making your bet. Some betting sites might only offer odds of -115 on the coin toss prop, meaning you’d need to wager $115 just to win $100.
Coin toss winner prop
Another bet you can place is on the coin toss winner prop, which allows you to wager on which team will win the coin toss and get to choose whether to kick or receive to begin the game.
Much like “Heads or Tails”, each team is assigned a price/juice for the coin toss winner prop. For example, the NFC and AFC teams could both be set at -105 (bet $105 to win $100).
Coin toss winner also wins Super Bowl prop
In combination with the coin toss winner prop you can also bet on if the winner of the coin toss will go on to win the Super Bowl itself. This is most often presented in a “Yes/No” format.
You would think dictating the opening of the game could give the coin toss winner an edge, however, Super Bowl betting history shows us that the winner of the coin toss has gone on to win the Lombardi Trophy just over 44 percent of the time.
Super Bowl coin toss history
The Super Bowl coin toss prop has been a staple of Big Game betting for decades now, ushered in with the explosion of online sportsbooks in the late 1990s. And since then, football fans have been trying to find an inside edge when it comes to capping the coin toss.
However, as any statistician will tell you, a coin toss is a 50/50 proposition every time you flip it. The result of the coin toss isn’t influenced or impacted by the previous results or any past trends that always seem to pop up come Super Sunday.
That said, here are some of the notable records and trends around the Super Bowl coin toss:
Tails out front
Looking at the past 54 Super Bowls, Tails has been the winning side 29 times, including six of the past seven Big Games, while Heads has won 25 times.
NFC dominant in toss
The NFC holds a significant edge in Super Bowl coin toss wins with 36, including a 14-year streak between Super Bowl XXXII (1998) and Super Bowl XLV (2011), while the AFC has won only 18 tosses. While this record is intriguing, the NFC’s dominance in Super Bowl coin flips is completely random.
Winning the flip doesn’t mean winning the game
The winner of the coin toss is far from a shoo-in to win the Lombardi Trophy, going just 24-for-30 (44.4%) in the past 54 Super Bowl games. San Francisco won the coin toss in Super Bowl LIV but lost to Kansas City 31-20.
Since 2008, when a rule change allowed coin toss winners to defer receiving to the second half, winners of the Super Bowl coin toss have opted to take the ball to begin the second half in 11 of the past 12 NFL championships. New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV (2010) was the only coin toss winner to elect to receive the ball to open the game during this span.
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Super Bowl coin toss FAQs
Can I bet on the Super Bowl coin toss?
Yes. All sportsbooks offer at least a “Heads or Tails” Super Bowl coin toss prop bet.
Which team gets to call the coin toss?
The designated road team calls the coin toss. The NFC champion is the road team in even-numbered Super Bowls while the AFC champion is the road team in odd-numbered Super Bowls.
Who won the Super Bowl coin toss?
In 2020 for Super Bowl 54, the San Francisco 49ers called tails and won the coin toss.
When can I find odds for Super Bowl coin toss prop bets?
You can find odds for Super Bowl coin toss prop bets in the days after the AFC and NFC Championship Games are completed and the two Super Bowl contenders are set. Some online sportsbooks do offer year-around odds on “Heads or Tails” for the Super Bowl.