Top-ranked Alabama still has two playoff wins to go before claiming college football’s national championship title, but for bettors at the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, tickets backing the Crimson Tide are as good as gold. FanDuel Alabama championship bets have been paid early.
In a press release issued November 30, FanDuel – the Garden State’s second-place sportsbook operator in terms of monthly revenue – revealed that all futures bets on Alabama to win it all would be paid out immediately. The announcement came one day before the Tide came back from a 14-point second-half deficit to down Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, finishing off an undefeated 13-0 regular season run while securing Alabama’s fifth straight berth in the four-team College Football Playoff tournament.
But even if head coach Nick Saban falls short of winning Alabama’s second consecutive national title, and third in the last four years, FanDuel bettors who took the heavy favorite are already winners.
In order to collect the free cash, bettors must hold a FanDuel Alabama championship bet issued before 5 p.m. (eastern standard time) on November 30.
FanDuel operates a brick and mortar sportsbook facility at the Meadowlands racetrack in East Rutherford, along with an affiliated online betting platform accessible statewide, and bets placed through either venue will be honored. Single-wager futures tickets can be cashed immediately, while parlays involving an Alabama title now have that leg labeled as a winner.
Per the company’s press release, FanDuel expects to pay nearly $400,000 back on Alabama winners – regardless of the team’s performance in the upcoming Orange Bowl against #4 Oklahoma (12-1).
In a statement, FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy called the early payout a “reward” for bettors who decided to play the odds and back the heavy favorite earlier in the year:
“It’s a way to reward our customers for betting on Alabama when the odds were really hard to make any money doing it.”
A bona fide college football dynasty, Alabama has played in the last three national championship games, beating Georgia last year after splitting a pair of classics with Clemson. Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa capped off a comeback victory in the 2017 title game, returning this season to compile a Heisman Trophy caliber campaign.
The Crimson Tide juggernaut opened the season as massive (+195) favorites, with early FanDuel Alabama championship bettors standing to win $195 on their $100 wager.
In the wake of an undefeated year – one which saw Alabama outscore overmatched opponents to the tune of 623-193 combined while the team’s title odds improved to (-280) – FanDuel’s risk management team felt comfortable calling them the champs with two games to spare.
Mike Raffensperger – who serves as chief marketing officer for the FanDuel Group – explained that the Tide’s historic dominance made the early payout an easy decision:
“Alabama’s historic and seemingly inevitable march to Levi’s Stadium deserved a history making gesture to our customers.
While the college football season has not had too many surprises, we wanted to surprise our customers today, thank them for their loyalty, and prove there are More Ways to Win on FanDuel.”
Of course, should Alabama fall short, bettors backing the eventual 2018 National Champions will still win their wagers.
Paying out futures bets early isn’t new, and indeed, the promotional practice was pioneered by FanDuel parent company Paddy Power / Betfair over the last decade.
The Irish bookmaking titan – which acquired FanDuel’s daily fantasy sports (DFS) brand back in July – has a long history of early payouts.
Paddy Power / Betfair paid supporters of golfer Jordan Spieth midway through his wire-to-wire win in the 2015 Masters tournaments. And in an infamous incident, the bet shop lost nearly $1 million after paying early on Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.
Raffensperger wasn’t worried about a repeat, however, and his statement made sure to point out that early payouts are meant to be entertaining regardless of the outcome:
“FanDuel is a customer first company and innovations like an early payout of a major sporting event is a great example of what can be done in a legal and regulated sports betting market to benefit the consumer.
Even if Alabama loses its next game or doesn’t win the national title, this was something that we wanted to do to celebrate our customers and show why we are the most innovative and fun sportsbook in the United States.”