The Philadelphia Eagles are 7-0 in coin tosses so far this NFL regular season, including one in overtime.
NBC Sports was excited enough by this fact to publish an article trying to explain why the team is such an expert at getting lucky. It must have been a slow news day. The author went to great lengths to explain a 128-to-1 shot, as if those things never happen in sports, or anywhere else.
Eagles’ captains stress about ending streak
The Eagles players are concerned with being the one that goes onto the field and losing something that happens every other time. “There was a bit of pressure on me,” Avonte Maddox, who made the last coin toss call for the Eagles, told NBC Sports. “That’s why I went with tails never fails.”
And it worked. It brought the Eagles to 7-0 in coin flips for the year. Watching hours of film of coins flying in the air paid off once again for the team. However, studying physics and trends is only so much help here.
The visiting team calls heads or tails before kickoff. Hours of watching film of a referee’s techniques and studying the trends of how a coin lands week-after-week does not help if the opponents gets to make the call.
Still, the Eagles have managed to defy the odds for an impressive 3-0 record when having to fade a call by the visiting team’s captain. That 8-to-1 shot is something that will make any home crowd cheer loudly and get the team fired up.
NBC Sports notes how ‘remarkable’ winning seven coin tosses in a row is. The article even cherry-picks two preseason games where the Eagles won the coin toss, to make it a nine-flip streak. We all know that preseason does not count for anything, not even this.
The odds of winning seven coin tosses in a row are 1 in 128. In the big picture, that is not all that remarkable. Theoretically, a team will start the season with seven winning coin tosses once every four years. It is just as likely that a team will start a season losing its first seven coin tosses.
It is even less remarkable if you consider winning seven regular season flips in a row. There is a 25 percent chance it can happen during any seven-game stretch in the NFL, ignoring overtime. Theoretically, it happens one time every 28 games for a team. This makes the over/under of it happening to any random team once every 1.75 NFL seasons.
NFC Super Bowl teams think nothing of this streak
Of course, there was the streak of the NFC winning 14 Super Bowl coin tosses. The Chicago Bears did the same. The odds of that are 1 in 16.384. Both streaks ended with a 1 in 2 occurrence that is pure luck, just like the Eagles’ one eventually will.
The only thing remarkable about the Eagles winning seven coin tosses in a row is that somebody thought it was newsworthy.
Delaware became the first state to launch full-scale sports betting after PASPA was found unconstitutional. The first look at futures odds shows some regional bias and high vig.
Being the nit that I am, I decided to dig into the numbers to see just how badly Delaware players are getting the shaft. I used the Sports Futures Calculator at Wizard of Odds for the math.
Regional bias obvious in NFL futures
Are you near Delaware and want to make a futures wager on a regional team? You may want to take a trip to Nevada to do it. The same can be said for some West Coast teams having better prices in Delaware.
The price that stuck out the most was the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl. At Delaware sportsbooks, that only pays +450. William Hill offers this bet at +800 in Nevada. BetOnline, an unlicensed sportsbook that accepts bets from Delaware players, also has the Eagles as an 8/1 payout. Westgate pays +1000 on an Eagles repeat. That’s quite a discrepancy.
The Baltimore Ravens are offered at +6000 to win the Super Bowl in Nevada. Delaware sportsbooks posted that number at +3500. The Washington Redskins are +10000 at Nevada William Hill sportsbooks, but +7500 in Delaware. The Steelers see a slashed price in Delaware at +1000 when compared to Nevada’s +1200.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams bettors may not want to buy a futures bet in Nevada, where it only pays +800. It’s +1200 in Delaware. The soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders are +1200 in Nevada and +1800 in Delaware. The Chargers pay +2500 in Delaware betting shops, but Willian Hill in Nevada hangs +2000 for the same bet.
One price that made no sense between the states is the Atlanta Falcons. In Nevada, Will Hill bettors only get +1200. In Delaware, it’s +2200. This was the only instance I found where a city significantly closer to Delaware than Nevada saw a much better price in Delaware. William Hill may need a geography lesson, or perhaps Delaware bettors know better than Nevada ones that the Atlanta Falcons are overhyped trash.
Major League Baseball pennant races
The regional bias was not as noticeable in Major League Baseball. However, there were still some clear differences. The Philadelphia Phillies are +650 in Delaware. That same bet gets +3000 at William Hill in Nevada. The Braves, a team with legacy fans in the region from the days of TBS broadcasts, only pay +800 in Delaware. That same bet is +4000 at William Hill in Nevada.
The longshots paid at least double in Delaware when compared to Nevada. This may be related to a state lottery’s hopes in enticing players to make sucker bets. There is not a major difference in betting the lowly 22-41 Cincinnati Reds at 50-1 or 999-1, especially when the price of favorites is slashed to make up for it.
Comparing Delaware futures vig to other markets
The vig on futures bets in Delaware is high. The markets I evaluated fell just short of 30%. They were only marginally worse than the William Hill Nevada holds. On the other hand, they were 5-10 basis points above the benchmark Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas and the offshore sportsbook BetOnline. Here’s a full breakdown of 2018 NFL futures at the four sportsbooks as of June 7.
|Team||Delaware||William Hill LV||Westgate LV||BetOnline
There probably is not a reason to drive to Delaware to make a sports futures bet. It could only be a matter of days before New Jersey becomes an option with a competitive market that may be worth the drive for some in the region.