Alabama's dominance on the football field this season has led to the first-of-its-kind payout by one sports betting website.
Per an official release from FanDuel, anyone who placed a singles future bet on the Crimson Tide to win the national title by 5 p.m. ET on Friday received a payout for the wager—even though the College Football Playoff Championship Game isn't played until Jan. 7.
FanDuel Group CMO Mike Raffensperger explained the decision in a statement:
"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.
"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.
It's hard to think anyone other than Alabama will walk away from the 2018 season with a national title. The defending champs have won each of their 12 games by at least 22 points and have scored at least 50 points eight times.
The release notes Alabama is a -280 betting favorite (bet $280 to win $100) to win this year's national championship. Early payouts could be as much as $400,000 if gamblers maximized their parlays.
FanDuel's decision comes before the Crimson Tide have secured a spot in the College Football Playoff. They can end the regular season undefeated with a victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.