What Does SU (Straight Up Bet) Mean in Sports Betting

What does SU mean in sports betting? Chances are the first bet you placed on a sportsbook is a straight up bet. You can regard it as the ‘training wheels’ of new bettors.

But still, this bet type is a great tool in a pundit’s betting strategy. While it’s simple, there are strategies you need to learn to maximize your returns with straight up bets.

Read this comprehensive guide on straight-up wagers to become a smarter bettor. Our experts share with you their best tips!

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to place a straight up bet.
  • Understand the differences between SU bets and other straight wagers.
  • Discover the strategies to increase your SU betting winning chances.

Understanding SU Betting: The Basics

Straight up in sports betting is a wager on a team to win the game outright, without any point spread or other conditions. It’s simply a straightforward bet on the team that will emerge the winner of the game, with no margin of victory required. In some sportsbooks, it is referred to as a win bet.

The rules of a straight-up bet are simple:

  • If you wager on a team, and they win, you win.
  • However, if they lose, you lose.

Here is an example to help you understand: Let’s say the NFL’s New England Patriots are facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. A straight bet is when you wager on the Patriots (-180) or the Chiefs (+ 180) to win.

Straight Bet and Straight Up Bet Are Not the Same!

Occasionally, you may encounter the term “straight bets” on sports betting platforms or in discussions. Don’t confuse them with straight-up bets; they are not the same!

While both terms relate to single-game wagers, a straight bet covers point spreads, moneyline or over/under bets. Whereas straight up bets only focus on a win/loss outcome.

In summary, all straight-up bets are straight bets, but not all straight bets are straight up bets.

Comparing SU and ATS Betting

Straight bets differ from Against The Spread, as SU focuses on the outright winner, while ATS considers the margin of victory. SU bets are easier to understand, whereas beginners may find ATS betting a bit complex.

However, if you are new to sports wagering, understanding the meaning of ATS in betting is crucial because this bet type offers a unique advantage: ATS bets can win even if your team loses, unlike SU.

History of Straight Up Betting

Straight up betting is perhaps as old as betting itself. It dates back to ancient civilizations like the Greek and Roman empires, where gambling on the outcome of events like gladiator battles and chariot races was a popular pastime.

It was the primary offering of the modern betting shops that sprouted up after Britain passed the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960, the first known legislation to regulate betting. US Sportsbooks also embraced it after the repeal of the PASPA Act in 2018.

Today, SU remains the most common bet offered by sportsbooks around the world, both online and in-person.

How to Place a Straight Up Bet

Straight up bets are an excellent option for beginners and seasoned bettors because they are easy to place. The step-by-step guide below will help you start staking on straight-up outcomes in no time:

  1. Log in to your bookie account
  2. Select the sports and games
  3. Click on the Straight up option
  4. Enter your wager amount

→ Step 1 — Sign up or log in to your account: Open your chosen sportsbook app or website and log in. If you’re not yet a member, find a licensed online bookmaker in your state and sign up.

In my case, I used my existing account with FanDuel.

→ Step 2 — Select the sports and game you want to bet on: Scroll down the site’s homepage to see the available events. If your game is not listed, use the search bar or sports menu, usually located at the top of the page, to find your ideal market.

The soccer game I wanted to bet on had already started, so I clicked the live tab and saw it at the top of the list of ongoing matches.

→ Step 3 — Click on the “Straight up” or “Moneyline” option: Irrespective of the sportsbook you use, you will find each event’s moneyline odds displayed next to its listing. While the minus sign indicates the favorite, plus is used for the underdog. So, just tap on the odds of the team you want to wager to win outright.

A research I had conducted before this time showed me that the underdog had a pretty good chance of pulling off an upset, so I clicked on the plus sign.

→ Step 4 —Enter your wager amount: After selecting your bet, scroll to the wager section at the end of the screen and input your desired bet amount. Once done, tap the ‘Place Bet’ button to submit your bet.

I remembered putting $5 on the underdog team to win. Note that you can’t wager less than 9 cents and 10 cents ($0.10) on FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively.

Straight Up Betting in Different Sports

Straight up betting is relevant in every professional or college sport you can think of. This is because it only deals with predicting the winner of a game or event. However, due to their unique characteristics, their application differs across major sports like football, basketball, and soccer.

For instance, straight bets offer a two-way market in sports like the NFL and NBA, since you can only wager on either Team A or Team B to win. However, in events like soccer, where a draw is a possible outcome, SU becomes a three-way market.

NFL Straight Up Betting

Football games are ideal for straight up bets due to several factors that make it somewhat easy to predict match outcomes, like home field advantage, team trends, and power rankings. For instance, since 2015, NFL home teams have won over 55% of games.

NFL’s SU odds are usually displayed alongside its point spread and over/under totals. Here is an example:

NFL BettingSpreadMoneylineTotal
Cleveland Browns-2.5-145O45
Houston Texas+2.5+122U45


Basketball is another game where you can place an SU bet on the outright winner of the game. Match outcomes can be affected by home court advantage, recent performance, injuries, and head-to-head matchups.

Sportsbooks also display NBA moneyline odds alongside point spreads and totals:

NBA BettingSpreadMoneylineTotal
Los Angeles Lakers+4.5 (-110)+170O227.5 (-110)
Milwaukee Bucks-4.5 (+110)-200U227.5 (-110)


While the gameplay and length of the sports are different, baseball shares characteristics similar to those of the NFL and NBA, in terms of how its odds are displayed and various factors that could impact its SU match outcomes.

Here is an example of an MLB moneyline odds on DraftKings:

MLB BettingTotalMoneyline
BAL Orioes Corbin BurnesO 7.5 +100-155
TB Rays Ryan PepiotU 7.5 -120+130


In soccer, including popular leagues and tournaments such as the MLS, Premier League and World Cup, straight or ML bets are also known as 1×2 bets.

Here, 1 stands for the home team, X for a draw and 2 for the away team. If you bet on one team to win and the result is a draw, you will lose your bet.

MLS team’s odds usually look like this:

Soccer BettingHomeTieAway
New York City vs. Columbus Crew+110+240+220

Strategies for Successful Straight Up Betting

Getting successful with straight-up betting goes beyond simply picking a team to win. It requires a combination of research and strategy to make informed decisions consistently.

Here are some tips to increase your winning chances with SU wagers:

  • Analyze teams : Research is everything when placing straight up bets. Before deciding a game’s match winner, ensure you analyze the teams involved, including their recent performances, head-to-head, home and away records, injuries, and more. I once missed a key injury update and wagered on a team to win without the star player. They lost, and I learned a valuable lesson.
  • Know when to opt for SU bets: There are several situations when SU betting can be considered a smart and safe move. These include when the favorite is on a winning streak and has a high probability of winning, or in low-scoring games like hockey or soccer. However, avoid SU wagers if the teams are evenly matched or the odds are too close.
  • Shop for the best odds: You can get the best value for your bet by comparing odds across sportsbooks. There was a time when I wanted to wager on the Patriots to beat the Chiefs in the NFL. My usual sportsbook had the Pats at -150, but a quick check revealed another bookmaker offering -130. I quickly opened an account with the new bookie and bet $100. The Patriots won, and I won $76.92. If I had stuck with the first sportsbook, I would have only gotten $66.67 from the same game.
  • Manage your bankroll: Straight-up bets can quickly eat into your bankroll if you are not careful. That’s why it’s essential to set a budget based on the amount you can afford to lose. Avoid increasing your bets to try to recoup your losses, and stick to your dedicated funds. 

Common Mistakes in SU Bet

Because of their perceived simplicity, straight up bets have been known to lull players into a false sense of security, which has led to several mistakes.

  • Thinking strategy is unnecessary: By assuming straight up bets require little or no strategy, players miss crucial factors that can affect the game’s outcome, leading to poor decision-making and potential losses.
  • Lazy research: Some players do not dig deep enough into team and player stats, trends, and home or away performances before placing straight-up bets, resulting in them getting burned.
  • Not keeping track of their spending: Failure to monitor your bets and expenses can lead to overspending, which can result in chasing losses and financial difficulties. 
  • Getting your emotions evolved: You shouldn’t be betting with your emotions.

Bet with your head, not your heart. Some players make the mistake of backing their favorite teams with straight bets, even when stats indicate that the odds are not in their favor. Most times, these sentimental wagers end up in a loss.

Samuel Inglis, Successful Bettor

So, Will You Place a Straight Up Bet Tonight?

Straight up bets are straightforward, but valuable options in sports betting. Not only are they easy to place, but they also offer decent returns on your investment. However, you need a solid understanding of the sports and teams involved to maximize potential gains with SU bets.

Sign up or log in to your sportsbook account and place your first straight up bet today. Remember to compare odds across sportsbooks and bet responsibly. Good luck!

Do you want better alternative bets to straight ups? Have you considered trying if bets? Find out more in our educative sports betting guide.