FanDuel Sportsbook did something this week that is unheard of in the sports betting world: Pay out futures on Alabama to win the College Football Playoff National Championship.

And this was done more than a month before the yet-to-be-determined teams take the field on Jan. 7.

The decision comes before No. 1 Alabama played in today’s SEC Championship Game against No. 4 Georgia (Alabama won, 35-28). The Crimson Tide were still awaiting official word that they would be one of the four teams selected to play in the College Football Playoffs.

Sounds too good to be true, right? There is no fine print here.

“Alabama’s historic and seemingly inevitable march to Levi’s Stadium deserved a history-making gesture to our customers,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group, in a press release.

“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.”

Collecting the early payout at FanDuel Sportsbook

Any singles futures bets on Alabama were paid out to customers on Nov. 30. Any future wagers placed on the Crimson Tide after 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 are not eligible for the early payout.

Retail customers of FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with a physical bet slip dated prior to Nov. 30 can now redeem it for the full amount.

From the press release:

The early payouts apply to anybody holding a physical ticket on a bet placed at the Meadowlands or on its online sportsbook. In fact, FanDuel indicated that it already credited bettors accounts on the mobile app.

So yes, this is just for NJ sports betting fans.

FanDuel said when taking into account the Alabama championship futures that are involved in parlays, the early payout could be in the ballpark of $400,000.

Raffensperger commented:

“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.”

Bettors at FanDuel rolling with the Tide

FanDuel’s move is unheard of in the US sports betting world… at least so far as we know. But it’s something that happens every now and then in Europe.

One day, years down the road, there may be a trivia question about the first legal sports betting operator in the US to pay out future wagers more than a month before the final game is even played.

To be fair, the numbers have all signs pointing toward another Alabama national championship season. It would be their third in four years and sixth since 2009.

The odds to win another are currently heavily in Alabama’s favor. FanDuel had the 12-0 Crimson Tide at -280 to win the National Championship (the bettor had to wager $280 to win $100).

In FanDuel’s updated Friday night futures, Alabama remained way out in front of the pack at -250 while Clemson was next at +380 followed by Notre Dame at +1,400. Georgia and Ohio State were both at +1,800.