What Does SP Mean in Betting?

by Horse race
Updated: 25/05/2022 12:34

Starting Price (SP) Explained

Anyone who is quite new to betting on sports can be forgiven for feeling a bit confused about all of the different jargon and technical terms that can be used at UK online betting sites.

SP is a good example of this, being something people will often see on racing betting markets.

What does SP mean in betting? Our complete guide tells you all you need to know, so read on.

What Does SP Mean?

SP stands for ‘Starting Price’ but it is usually shown as just SP on most online betting sites. The starting price refers to the odds that are being offered at the time a horse race gets started.

Prices for horse racing are very fluid, with significant changes in the odds taking place all the way up to when the starting pistol is fired, as bookmakers respond to where money is going.

The SP for a horse that is heavily backed by racing fans in the build-up to a major race can therefore be a lot shorter than the odds that were being advertised right at the start of the day.

Of course, odds can lengthen as well as shorten, with some previously fancied horses ending up starting a race with a much higher SP than they might have been offered at hours earlier.

SP and Best Odds Guaranteed

Most UK online bookmakers have a variety of betting sign up offers available, including for racing. One of the most common betting bonuses for racing is BOG – which is Best Odds Guaranteed.

This means that customers will receive the top prize available for their selected horse, no matter what the horse’s SP is, which results in a big boost to the potential profits that are up for grabs.

As an example, let’s say that a racing fan has picked out a selection for a race at Royal Ascot.

The horse is initially available to back at 10/1 to win the race, but in the build-up, to it getting under way the odds offered for the horse drift out and reach as high as 15/1.

If the SP – the starting price – is 15/1 for the horse on a betting site, the BOG betting bonus means that the customer will be paid out their winnings at a price of 15/1, rather than 10/1.

So let’s say the customer put on £10 for the horse to win. With the 10/1 price, that would have resulted in profits of £100 from the bet. But because the BOG betting bonus pays out at the top SP available, the 15/1 price means a profit of £150 would be received – an extra £50 on top.

Racing fans who want to get the best SP available should always use a bookie with BOG.

Should You Bet at Fixed Prices or SP?

One of the questions racing fans are likely to be asking is if they should take a fixed price for their selection, or instead opt to take the SP when they are placing wagers on big meetings.

Customers who like to place ante-post wagers well in advance of a major race might prefer to take a fixed price, in the event they believe the odds for a horse are going to come down later.

Sometimes only SP is available when browsing the ante-post markets for future horse races.

But a lot of the time, especially when using a UK betting site with a BOG betting bonus in place, it will be preferable to place a wager using the SP option anyway.

This is because players are guaranteed to receive the best SP odds available, which a lot of the time will be better than the fixed prices that were being offered earlier on in the day.

BOG is not always offered for every single race by horse racing betting sites, so it is worth checking too.

How Is the SP Calculated by Betting Sites?

In the UK, SP for horse races is controlled by a body called the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC), which has the job of watching pricing data from racetracks by on-course bookmakers around the country.

The SPs available will then be put in a list from the shortest to the longest, which is the way that odds are always demonstrated for markets at online gambling sites in the UK.

The SPRC will then divide this list in two. After this step, the SPRC takes the shortest odds on the list of longest prices in order to work out the SP.

Why Does SP Matter?

The importance of SP might have faded in the era of many betting sites in the UK offering Best Odds Guaranteed, which has changed the way that a lot of racing fans place their wagers.

But SP does still matter, not least as markets such as the SP favourite in the odds are offered.

SP is also used by UK online bookmakers to calculate forecasts amongst many types of bets.

A horse’s prospects in any particular race may also be judged by their previous SP odds.

With horse racing betting odds being so volatile, the SP is an important marker in the sand.

Steven is the product manager on BettingLounge and is an experienced iGaming writer who has been working in the industry since 2018.

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