If you do a web search for the phrase “straight up,” you might get information on Paula Abdul’s first single, or 1970s band Badfinger’s third album. We don’t talk about either of those here in discussing NFL betting terminology.
Straight up or SU simply refers to whether a team has won the game, regardless of the point spread. If the New York Giants beat the Carolina Panthers 20-18, the Giants have won the game straight up or SU. Now, if the Giants were favored by 3 points, they failed to cover the game Against The Spread, because they won the game by just 2 points.
So you can win a game SU and lose the game ATS.
How does Straight Up (SU) work in NFL betting?
It’s very common when you bet on the NFL to see a team’s SU and ATS records listed together. For example, back in 2006, the Giants were 8-8 SU and 7-8-1 ATS, while the Panthers were 8-8 SU and 6-9-1 ATS.
This gives you a clue that New York were a slightly better team to wager on than Carolina, even though both teams were .500. Indeed, the Giants were only outscored by a total of seven points during the regular season, while the Panthers were outscored by 35 points.
Straight Up stats are important for NFL Moneyline betting
SU stats are obviously more valuable in NFL betting when you’re dealing with the moneyline instead of the point spread. But it’s still very useful to keep a team’s SU record in mind when you’re looking at its ATS record.
Consider the 2006 Buffalo Bills, who went 7-9 SU and 10-6 ATS. Casual observers didn’t think much of the losing Bills that year, but five of those SU losses were by a field goal or less.
That’s how Buffalo was able to put together a highly profitable 7-0 ATS streak during the second half of the season. If you want some of that money, don’t ignore those SU stats.