It’s always fun to bet on your favorite team and see them win, but for one Auburn alum, a football victory on the field could translate into a major sportsbetting win. In October, Chris Hefner put down $250.91 at the Venetian on the Tigers to win the College Football National Championship at 85-1, and if it happens he’ll walk away with $21,578.26.

Auburn football celebration

The Auburn Tigers are hot, and closer to the national championship than anyone expected them to be, save for one fan who stands to celebrate a big payday if his alma mater can keep winning. (Image: AuburnTigers.com)

At the time, Auburn had just lost their second game of the season and were all but forgotten in conversations about teams getting into the College Football Playoffs.

The program fell from 10th to 21st in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, and there wasn’t much optimism about the squad’s chances of staying among the top ranked teams, much less contending for a title.

But Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn said after LSU came back from 20 points down to win that, “It was not the end of the world,” and Hefner believed him.

Odds Lower as Victories Mount

Hefner, president of a medical services company in Macon, Georgia, thought it would be an opportune time to put his money where his heart was, and so he did on the morning the team faced Arkansas. They won that game 52-20.

Hefner told the Alabama Media Group that a couple factors made him plunk down the cash on the Tigers.

“Value is great,” he said, “but there must be a structure in place to go along with the value.”

While the team has been winning, the odds have been going lower. They were 9-2 this week, behind Alabama, Oklahoma, and defending champion Clemson, all of whom are at 4-1.

He could look like a genius if the team can win its next three games. The Tigers face Georgia in the SEC Championship on Saturday and are 2 ½-point favorites. They defeated the Bulldogs three weeks ago, 40-17.

Hefner says he’ll be at that game. He then would have to see Auburn win its semifinal game and the final to collect. A sports exchange company that buys potentially winning tickets offered him $3,800, but he’s not selling.

Second Chances

This isn’t the first time Hefner has bet on his alma mater, but he is hoping for a different outcome the last time, in 2013, when he placed two $100 bets (at 75-1 odds) that his team would win the national championship. That year, the Tigers had a similar turnaround season and made it to the national championship, but lost to Florida State 34-31, denying Hefner a $15,000 payday.

Hefner said he doesn’t bet regularly bet, but will put some money down when he sees a line that catches his eye.

“I’m not trying to make a living with these plays or pay the mortgage,” Hefner said, “I’m just having fun. That said, I’ve had my share of heartbreak.”

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently made a friendly wager on his alma mater that paid off. He bet Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts that his Tigers would beat the Crimson Tide in the state’s annual Iron Bowl. When Auburn was victorious, 26-14, Hurts had to wear an Auburn jersey on the Alabama campus.