I think the graph in Garrick’s answer tells a much larger story than the overall results being 50/50. I don’t see a Y-axis so I can’t really break down these numbers, but look at the distribution of games won by the opening team for games finished in 9 turns or less (the opening team’s 5th turn). It looks like around 2-to-1 in the first teams favor. In games that last 10 turns or more it flips the other way. In fact, if you threw first and haven’t won by your 6th turn then it seems the odds are you aren’t going to. Bernard’s Law of Infinity states that equally matched teams will play indefinitely, but I disagree. The Hodges Brevity Theorem states that the length of a game is inversely related to the performance of the two teams: high performing teams play short games.
Playing well means you’re making progress on the baseline (or killing the king for the win). It doesn’t matter if the field is empty or you’re throwing ten, you need to advance or end the game. If you’re failing to do that then you’re passing the control of the game to your opponent. So, the only reason that any game should last longer than the 11th turn (Team A’s 6th) is that Team A failed to advance the game in at least one turn. Couple this with the average open being about two base kubbs on turn one and really Team A should be finishing by turn 9 – right at the 2-to-1 winning ratio seen in the graph.
I realize that these are all tournament games from top-tier teams, but in my opinion all of the games that lasted more than 12 turns are examples of good teams playing badly (I don’t mean to sound haughty or like a dig against anybody – I’m sure I am well represented in those games!) Our anonymous Swiss friend commenting on Garrick’s answer is right though; when teams are playing well there is an advantage to throwing first – and in my opinion they better they do the bigger the advantage becomes.