It almost never happens. Despite that, bettors love the long shot odds. So they’ll role the dice. And someone took a shot on a safety being the first score of the game.
And it hit.
Six minutes into the game, the Patriots had the ball 1st and 10 at their own 6 yard line. Mr. Cool, Tom Brady, dropped back to pass. No one appeared open. He held it and held it and held it. Ultimately, Jason Pierre-Paul beat his man and lunged at Brady. Brady fired a deep pass over the middle to no one in particular.
After the pass landed 20 yards away from the nearest Patriots receiver, the referees huddled and, ultimately, threw a penalty flag. The ruling: intentional grounding on the Patriots. The penalty occurred in the end zone and, by rule, that’s a safety. The score: Giants 2, Patriots 0.
While this start to the game was just a curiosity to most, it was pure profit to one bettor. See, a guy named Jona Rechnitz walked up to the counter at the MGM Grand and bet $1,000 that the first score of the game would be a safety. He plunked down $1,000. The odds? 50:1. His payout: $50,000.
Recnitz appears to be a generous sort as he bought gifts for his 9 buddies on the Vegas trip with him, according to a tweet from one of his buddies.
While the 50:1 payout probably feels amazing, it turns out other sports books were offering odds of 75:1 and 100:1. But hard to complain about a $50,000 pay day on an intentional grounding call in the end zone.