WhatIfSports Super Bowl 50 prop-bet predictions: Coin toss, Gatorade shower and more

BY Jake Westrich • February 2, 2016

Looking to spice up your Super Bowl experience? Try placing a few prop bets on the big game (playing for pride among friends, of course). The excitement of Super Bowl 50 doesn't have to wait until the opening kickoff if you have a stake in the outcome of the coin toss or the length of the national anthem. Whatever Super Bowl wager you can imagine, chances are Vegas has already placed odds on it.

We combined the algorithmic proficiency of our NFL simulation engine with expert advice from OddsShark's Jon Campbell to generate predictions for some of the more popular Super Bowl 50 prop bets.

The Bet: Coin toss

Line: Heads -105 | Tails -105

Just when you thought there were only two possible outcomes for a coin toss, referee Clete Blakeman introduced a new scenario as the Packers and Cardinals headed to overtime in this year's NFC Divisional round: the no-flip. That improbability aside, the coin toss appears to be the ultimate 50/50 wager that no amount of research and forethought can influence . . . but that won't stop us from overanalyzing it anyway. The folks at OddsShark have coin toss results for every Super Bowl, and several interesting trends emerge. In seven Super Bowls, Denver has seen a tails flip four times, including its last three trips. Carolina has played in the Super Bowl just once, a 2005 appearance, and saw the coin land on tails. Collectively, tails is riding a four-game heater for the two clubs. However, if it's balance you seek, heads is the pick. In 49 Super Bowls, tails has a 25-24 edge in total flips. The Pick: Tails

The Bet: How long will it take Lady Gaga to sing the US National Anthem?

Line: Over two minutes, 20 seconds -120 | Under two minutes, 20 seconds -120

After an unusually long delay, the national anthem singer was finally revealed to be Lady Gaga. With so much buildup, the assumption was that the chosen vocalist would be the type to stretch her moment in the spotlight, easily going over the Vegas line. While Lady Gaga certainly fits the description of a performer capable of extending her time on center stage, an over/under of two minutes, 20 seconds will be a tall task. The last 10 singers have clocked in with an average length of one minute, 57 seconds, ranging from short and sweet (Billy Joel, Super Bowl XLI, 1:30) to grandstanding (Alicia Keys, Super Bowl XLVII, 2:35). Keys is the only performer in 10 years to cross the 2:20 threshold, and she had piano accompaniment to draw the out the rendition. We’re predicting Lady Gaga’s national anthem lasts around two minutes, 15 seconds. The Pick: Under

The Bet: How many times will the Golden Gate Bridge be shown during the broadcast?

Line: Over 0.5 -400 | Under 0.5 +250

With an over/under set at 0.5, few bets seems juicer than this. How could the broadcast not show the host city's most famous landmark at least once? Except San Francisco isn't the host city. That honor belongs to Santa Clara, where Levis' Stadium, the new home of the 49ers, was built in 2014. Levi's Stadium is nearly 50 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, meaning any circling blimps will have to be way off-course to catch a shot. B-roll won't cut it either, as the parameters of the bet state the footage must be live, between opening kickoff and final whistle. CBS could position a camera crew for some bridge footage as the game cuts to or from commercial, but we're betting the attention is focused on the stadium and its immediate surroundings. The Pick: Under

The Bet: Will Mike Carey be wrong about a challenge?

Line: Yes +145 | No -190

The much-maligned Mike Carey is the resident CBS expert whenever a game pauses for official review. As a former NFL referee who worked Super Bowl XLII, Carey should know a thing or two. However, Carey has a tendency to blow the occasional call, to the delight of the merciless public. Carey's slip-ups were on display in the AFC championship game, and Twitter had a field day. Now, Carey has been rewarded with his very own prop bet. While the entertainment value associated with an incorrect call from Carey far exceeds when he gets it right, surely he'll be at peak performance for a game of this magnitude. Right? The Pick: No

The Bet: What color will the liquid be that is poured on the winning coach?

Line: Orange +125 | Blue +300 | Clear +400 | Yellow +400 | Red +600 | Green +1000 | Purple +1000

The postgame Gatorade shower is a Super Bowl tradition and has become a mainstay among prop bets. Orange has opened as the early favorite, and with good reason. According to Campbell, "The biggest influencer on the Gatorade prop odds was the fact the Panthers dumped orange after their NFC Championship win. The Panthers are expected to win as the 6-point favorite and Carolina is seeing most of the money from bettors so far by a landslide so you can see the logic." With three of the last six Super Bowls ending in an orange shower for the head coach, it's definitely the safe pick. Add to the equation that WhatIfSports is picking the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 and we're giving orange the nod. But if it's a long shot you're after, consider yellow or purple. With sporadic appearances over the last 15 years (yellow in Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII, purple in Super Bowls XXXVII and XLVI), both are due for a dousing. The Pick: Orange

In addition to some of the more colorful prop bets highlighted above, there are in-game bets for seemingly every statistic and scenario. When it comes to prop-bet strategy, the temptation is to spread your bets across a variety of outcomes. However, Campbell advises against that approach: "My biggest suggestion is just to make sure your props line up with whatever side or total you take because you are likely to just end up hedging yourself if you don't. If you like the 'over' for example, it's pretty logical that Cam Newton would have a big game to make that happen so your prop picks should reflect that. Try to avoid having your props contradict your side or total plays on the game. You're probably just going to end up with your Super Bowl as a wash that way."

We used the WhatIfSports.com NFL simulation engine to crunch the numbers for some of the more common in-game prop bets. Check out the computer's predictions:

View WhatIfSports.com's Super Bowl 50 prediction.

Print OddsShark's Super Bowl Party Props game.