Straight Up

Straight up refers to a fixed price win-loss wager, with no point spread, making a team’s straight up record the same as it’s win-loss record, ripped directly from the standings.

When betting straight up, bettors get less return for betting on favored teams, but the bet becomes easier to win. For underdogs, the opposite is true. Straight-up bets can pay out a lot when underdogs win, but typically are used in “pick-em” games or games with a small point spread.


For NFL wagering, one of the most effective ways to analyze a team’s straight up record is by weighing it against their ATS record and looking for possible discrepancies.

For example, if a team with a 6-10 record straight up is 8-7-1 ATS, this indicates that they have been keeping games close may be better than their win loss record suggests.

If a team’s record ATS is worse than their straight up record, the opposite might be true.

When comparing SU and ATS records, it is important to look at other factors as well. A team with a strong defense and weak offence (or vice versa) is more likely to be involved in close games.

On the flip side, a popular, dominant team might see their ATS record fall victim to large point spreads. The 2007 New England Patriots went 16-0 straight up in the regular season but only finished 10-6 ATS. This was because Tom Brady and company gave up double digit points in 11 of their 16 games, and were actually favored by 20+ points on three separate occasions. There were a number of games which the Patriots won by over two scores….and still didn’t cover. In this case, the 16-0 straight up record and the 10-6 ATS record are unrelated to one another.


In general, straight up wagers or moneyline bets are best for pick ‘em games, but can also be used when betting for underdogs in games with a small point spread, as this will improve payouts.

It is typically inadvisable to make straight up bets on favorites, as the payout is typically not worth the risk. With that said, low risk straight up wagers on favorites can be used effectively in parlay bets.

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Because it is calculated without factoring in the point spread, a teams straight up record is the same as it’s win-loss record. This makes it a useful tool when evaluating a team’s overall strength and betting the moneyline. With that said, a team’s straight up record is not a perfect predictor of future success, as it doesn’t factor strength of schedule into the equation

The NFL schedule is randomized in such a way that certain teams have a much easier path to wins than others, and as a result can pad their straight up records.

Teams play a home and home series with their divisional opponents, four games against opponents from one division in their conference (two home, two road), four games against opponents from one division in the other conference (two home, two road) and two games against conference opponents (one home, one road).

A strong team from a weak division already has an easier path to divisional wins – if they are matched with another weak division, this advantage is increased.

In 2015, the Carolina Panthers coasted through their division 5-1 on the way to a 15-1 straight up record. Their opponents in the NFC South were all .500 or worse. Prior to their loss, this caused the Panthers to be deemed “the worst undefeated team in history”.

With that said, the Panther’s straight up record may have been inflated, but they were definitely good, defeating the 10-6 Seahawks and 13-3 Cardinals in the playoffs before falling to Denver in the Superbowl.

The opposite can also be true.

Take the 2013 NFC West, for example. The division featured 4 strong teams, but had to play each other twice each, impacting each other’s straight up records.

The Seahawks finished 13-3 and won the Superbowl. The 49ers finished 12-4, and lost to Seattle in the NFC Championship. The Cardinals, on the other hand, finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs and the Rams finished in the basement at 7-9.

What these straight up records don’t show is that the Rams were 1-5 against their division, making them 6-4 against other teams. The Cardinals suffered a similar fate, going 2-4 within the division. Two of Seattle’s 3 losses came against division rivals too.

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