By: Alex Kay
One of the most exciting parts of any Super Bowl is the myriad of prop bets one can make on the game. That will be no different in 2021, as bookmakers have already released and are continually adding a slew of exotic betting options to the board for the upcoming Super Bowl LV matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bettors can wager on virtually anything, with props ranging from the opening coin toss to the color of the Gatorade bath poured on the winning coach and just about anything you can think of in between those key moments.
The sheer number of props surrounding the Super Bowl makes it arguably the most unique betting event in sports, but there is only a small window to capitalize on this rare opportunity. It can be tough to unearth value due to the overwhelming volume of options, but fortunately you don’t have to figure it out alone. Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has done the legwork and come up with a handful of prop betting picks that could help make your Super Bowl LV betting experience a fun and profitable one.
How To Watch The 2021 Super Bowl
Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5) Date: Sunday, Feb. 7 | Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET | TV: CBS | Live Stream: CBS All Access / CBSSports.com | Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
Super Bowl 2021 Odds Update
Spread: KC -3 | Total: over-under 56 points | Moneyline: KC -160, TB +140
Super Bowl LV Prop Picks
Team That Wins The Coin Toss Wins the Game (Yes: -105 -or- No: -105)
The opening coin toss is almost always one of the most popular Super Bowl props and it is unlikely that will change in 2021 after a deluge of money has already poured into this prop at nearly every sportsbook. This phenomenon is something that shops find both frustrating and amusing, with longtime bookmaker Dave Sharapan recently telling ESPN’s Dave Purdum, "You put in all this work to put out all these props, come up with cross-sports and everything else. And the coin flip prop is the most-bet-on prop of all the props, every year.” One reason for this is that it’s extremely simple and easy to pick a side of a coin, as well as know the results before the Super Bowl even kicks off. This is something that draws in bettors despite having to pay a vig (either side tends to be -105—or put up $1.05 to win $1—odds at most books) that often makes the coin flip a negative value proposition.
While there isn’t much advice that can be given towards the coin flip beyond “tails never fails”—which has rung true in recent years, as you will soon see in the trends section—bettors who want to get a piece of the Super Bowl’s opening coin toss and still apply a little strategy to their wager have a few options. Some of the additional coin toss props extend beyond which side it will land on and delve into what the Chiefs will call in the air as the visiting team and if the winner will elect to receive or defer. While these can give bettors a chance to do some research to see what the most likely outcome would be, handicappers have already accounted for previous decisions by the captains and coaches into the odds. Those hunting coin toss value should look no further than the “will the team that wins the toss win the game” prop, which has the same -105 odds for both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides as outright picking the result of the flip. Before diving into why you should consider this prop, take a peek at how the public is betting the coin toss and some recent Super Bowl coin toss trends:
BR Betting reported that the ‘heads’ side of the coin toss prop at DraftKings Sportsbook is the third-most bet prop for Super Bowl LV:
Super Bowl Coin Toss Betting Trends
Since Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, every single coin toss victor has gone on to lose the game, an unparalleled stretch in Super Bowl history. This run has dropped the coin toss victor down to a 24-30 all-time record in Super Bowls.
Kansas City has never won a coin toss with a championship on the line before, losing in both the first ever Super Bowl and the most recent one before this year and went 1-1 in those games. The Buccaneers won their only Super Bowl coin toss back in 2004, then went on to claim the organization’s first ever title.
Tampa-based Super Bowls tend to end up on heads, with three of the four tosses that have taken place in the city landing on that side of the coin. The state of Florida also has a slight lean on heads, with nine of the 16 Super Bowls held in the state having a heads coin flip result.
The Chiefs will be calling the coin toss in the air in Super Bowl LV and they have had average luck doing so during the 2020 NFL season, predicting it correctly four times and incorrectly four times.
The Buccaneers were the team that called the toss in each of their three previous 2021 NFL Playoff games, going 0-3 in their predictions. That clearly did not stop the team from going 3-0 straight-up in those games to make its way back to Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV.
Six of the last seven coin toss winners have been the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl, although the conference is just 2-5 in those contests.
It is worth noting that Kansas City is the Super Bowl LV favorite, laying three points to the Bucs despite it being a “home” game for Tampa Bay. Because of their status as chalk, bettors wishing to forego the point spread and outright take the Chiefs to win this matchup will have to pay $1.60 to return $1 due to KC’s -160 moneyline odds. Because many books won’t allow a parlay of the coin flip prop and a team’s moneyline, this prop allows a bettor an option to take their chances on the outcome of each of these and combine it into one bet. While this is not exactly a valuable methodology if you believe the Buccaneers—who would return $1.40 for each $1 staked as the underdog—will straight-up win, it is certainly worth considering for Kansas City supporters who want a piece of both the flip and the moneyline.
Jon Price has successfully advocated for this prop several times prior as a manner to get in on the coin toss while still making a smart play on the game itself. He believes it could once again pay out for bettors in Super Bowl LV, as the ‘No’ side of the prop has in each of the last six seasons. It is up to the bettor to predict if the Bucs or Chiefs will ultimately win the coin toss, but once that is decided, then pick the corresponding ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ side of this prop that relates to the outcome that has Kansas City winning the game. This results in a value play that reduces the Kansas City moneyline by a significant margin, moving it from -160 to -105, assuming the the coin toss portion of the bet was correct.
Some benefits of an open-ended prop like this is that even if the coin flip or game doesn’t end up playing out how you predicted it would, there’s still a chance this wager will pay out. If you are one of the many fans planning to watch Super Bowl LV but aren’t sure which team to root for in it, you could always make a play on this prop bet and then cheer for the team that wins or loses the toss, depending on which side you bet on. Regardless of how or why you decide to wager on this prop, it’s always a fun and exciting one that will keep you invested until the final whistle and gives plenty more entertainment value than a standard coin toss prop bet.
Brady and Mahomes Above 299.5 Passing Yards Each (Yes: +270)
This is one of the more interesting bets on the board for Super Bowl LV, as it involves the performance of the two biggest stars in the game. It is effectively a teaser that combines the over-under props for both Mahomes’ passing yards (which is set at 329.5 yards) and Brady’s passing yards (over-under 301.5 yards) while also providing far more value. Combining the over side of those props at their current odds of -115 would only pay out $2.50 for each $1 wagered, while the line on this particular bet is +270, meaning a return of $2.70 for each $1 wagered. The real value is that it requires 30 less yards from Mahomes and one yard less for Brady to pay out, a result that seems quite a bit more likely than the odds suggest based on how the Buccaneers and Chiefs match up and their recent history.
The Mahomes portion of the prop is almost a slam-dunk to hit, as the young signal-caller averaged an eye-popping 313 yards per game across 17 starts in the regular season and playoffs this year. He’s coming off a 325-yard performance in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills and likely would have eclipsed that figure in the Divisional Round against the Cleveland Browns had he not exited the contest with an injury. Despite suffering a head injury early in the second half of that game, an ailment that put him in the NFL’s concussion protocol and kept him out until the following week, Mahomes still finished the day with an impressive 255 passing yards on.
Detractors may point to how the Kansas City star only threw for 286 yards in last year’s Super Bowl, but he was facing an elite San Francisco 49ers defense that had only given up an average of 169.2 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks during the 2019 campaign, making them a far stingier unit than the 2020 Tampa Bay defense that Mahomes will square off with in Super Bowl LV. The Bucs aren’t exactly known for having a plus-passing defense, conceding an average of 246.6 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Remember, Mahomes shredded the Buccaneers when he last faced them not too long ago, carving up their secondary up for 462 yards—his season high and second-most of his career—and three touchdowns, guiding his side to a 27-24 victory in Week 12. Although Tampa has done a slightly better job against opposing quarterbacks during its postseason run, it’s mostly been due to the pressure they are generating and turnovers they are forcing. The Bucs have allowed both Aaron Rodgers and Taylor Heinicke to go over 300 yards each against them and it’s quite a tall task to ask this group to keep Mahomes from breaching that mark in the 2021 Super Bowl.
The tougher leg of this prop is Brady’s performance, as the veteran quarterback has not been putting up as gaudy numbers as consistently as his Kansas City counterpart. The 43-year-old still finished the regular season with the third-most passing yards in the NFL with 4,633 yards in 16 starts—behind league-leader Deshaun Watson (4,823 in 16 starts) and Mahomes (who amassed 4,740 yards in just 15 starts)—and tore up the Washington Football Team for 381 yards in the Wild Card round, but he has not topped the 300-yard mark in either of the last two games leading up the 2021 Super Bowl. Brady generated just 199 yards against the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round and followed that up with a slightly better 280-yard outing against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
During the regular season, Brady averaged 289.6 yards per game, going over the 300-yard barrier on seven occasions, including each of the final three games and four of the last five to wrap up the regular 2020 campaign. One of those came in Week 12 against Kansas City, a contest in which Brady tallied up 345 yards on 27-of-41 passing against a Chiefs secondary that has allowed 236.2 yards per game to opposing signal-callers. That’s roughly a league-average unit, albeit one that has only allowed a combined 491 yards in the playoffs to Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen.
Interestingly enough, Brady boasts an average of 315.3 passing yards per game in his nine Super Bowl starts, but the star QB has actually eclipsed 300 yards just four times. The impressive figure is buoyed by a record 505-yard showing in the barnburner that was Super Bowl LII, as well as a 466-yard outing in Super Bowl LI the year prior, which was the only overtime game in Super Bowl history. In his last appearance in the big game two years ago, Brady finished with a mere 262 yards, his lowest total since Super Bowl XXXIX back in 2004. Although he didn’t log a ton of yardage against the Rams in Super Bowl LII, Brady still attempted 35 passes, a number that is surprisingly well below his all-time Super Bowl average of 43.5 passing attempts per game.
Given that Brady was the driving force behind this Bucs team reaching Super Bowl LV and has proven to be a clutch player on the biggest stage plenty of times before, it would be downright shocking if Tampa doesn’t draw up an aerial-focused gameplan that ultimately sees Brady finish with 40 or more passing attempts. Unless the Bucs somehow run away with this game—which has never happened in a Super Bowl that Brady has been involved with, as all but one has been decided by one score or fewer—expect them to air it out and Brady to get more than enough shots to help him hit the 300-yard mark on Sunday. At +270, the Mahomes and Brady both going over 299.5 yards prop is the best value on the board and should pay dividends for backers on Super Bowl Sunday.
I've been working in the realm of sports my entire career, starting as a breaking news writer right out of Arizona State University. After three years of writing, I jumped to the business side of the industry as a senior research analyst for two major corporations. I'm now combining both of these experiences together to come up with some great content for you to enjoy at Forbes!