The College Football Playoff National Championship is still a month away, but FanDuel is already rewarding fans who placed early bets on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
This week, the company announced that it is treating No. 1 Alabama as the champs already, paying out all future bets on the Crimson Tide to win it all that were made prior to 5 p.m. on Friday. That also includes any outstanding parlay bets that only required Alabama winning the title.
FanDuel says that it’s motivation behind the move is to reward customers for jumping on Alabama early. Bama opened the season at plus-195 (nearly 2-to-1 odds), meaning a $100 bet would pay out $195. However, after a dominant season, the Tide now have minus-280 odds to win the title, meaning a bettor would have to pony up $280 for a chance to win $100.
That drastic odds change comes because of how well the Tide have played this season, posting an undefeated 12-0 record while regularly dispatching opponents by a large margin. Many have already penciled Alabama in to play in the national championship (some doing so long ago) and, with the odds getting steadily less favorable as we get closer to the big game, FanDuel wanted to get reward that faith.
“It’s a way to reward our customers for betting on Alabama when the odds were really hard to make any money doing it,” FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy said.
The move could potentially cost the company around $400,000 if Alabama doesn’t actually win the title, as they’ll also pay out bets to the team that does take home the trophy.
It’s a strange move, but it seems to be as much a marketing ploy as it is a gesture of goodwill. With the recent legalization of sports betting, it appears they’re willing to take unique approaches to getting their name out there and winning over bettors.