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What Does SP Mean At Bookmakers?

What Does SP Mean At Bookmakers?

If you’re new to sports betting, you might find some of the terminology used by online bookies can sometimes be confusing. So at Which Bookie, we’re here to help. One of the most common question we’re asked is about SP. Specifically, what does SP mean, and how does it affect your bets? So let’s find out.

If you want to watch the horse races you bet on, why not check out our horse racing live streaming page where you’ll find links to do so for all UK & Irish horse races.

What Does SP Mean in Horse Racing?

SP stands for “starting price,” which is the odds that a horse carries at the start of the race. These odds are determined based on the odds offered at the actual racecourse where the race is taking place by the on-course bookmakers. A panel of Officials at each racecourse gather the odds on each horse in the betting market, and they fluctuate up until the race begins. The starting price is the final odds that are offered to punters just before the race commences. If there are not sufficient on-course bookmakers at the racecourse then an official body known as  the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC) will calculate the SP using a sample list of online bookmakers.

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How is SP Calculated in Horse Racing?

The calculation of the starting price is based on the odds on offer for each horse in the race at the actual racecourse. The SP Officials at the course use this information to create an overall picture of the race and set the odds for each horse. Generally as more money is placed on a particular horse at the course, its odds will shorten, and vice versa.

SP vs Fixed Odds

In horse racing, there are two types of odds that punters can bet on: starting price (SP) and fixed odds. As we have already discussed, the starting price is determined based on the amount of money wagered on each horse in the on course betting markets and can fluctuate up until the race commences. In contrast, fixed odds are set by the bookmaker at the time the bet is placed and do not change once the bet is placed regardless of how much money is bet on each horse.

The advantage of betting at the starting price is that the odds on your selection could drift, resulting in greater returns compared to if you had taken the fixed odds should your horse win.

In contrast, betting at fixed odds means that you know exactly what odds you will receive at the time the bet is placed, making it easier to plan your bets in advance. However, if the starting price is better than the fixed odds you have taken, your returns will be less.

Why Does The Racecard Only Show SP?

You might typically see SP on a betting coupon or slip at a horse racing bookie, such as the example below. In this example from a racecard from Bet365, you can see that there are no odds displayed for any of the horses. Instead, it just says SP in the odds column.

horse racing sp

The reason you see SP instead of specific odds is usually because you are looking at a race which doesn’t start for some time. The odds compilers have no way of knowing how the horses should be priced at this stage. So if you want to bet on it now, you can just bet at SP. Therefore, the odds your bet will be settled at will not be determined until the start of the race.

Should I Take SP Or The Fixed Odds ?

Consider the market above, where there is a choice of fixed odds or SP for each horse. You might wonder whether it is best to take SP, or to place your bet at the fixed odds on offer. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Unless you have a crystal ball, there is no way of knowing whether the odds will be higher or lower than SP.

The good news is that many bookies have an offer known as Best Odds Guaranteed. With this feature, you can safely take the fixed odds on offer. If the SP turns out to be higher than the odds you took, the bookie will pay you at the higher odds. Take a look at our list of bookies that offer Best Odds Guaranteed, and make sure you’re betting with one of them!

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SP In Greyhound Racing

SP, or Starting Prices, don’t just apply to horse racing. You’ll also find SP on many cards for greyhound racing. In fact, the starting price for greyhounds is often listed for a lot longer than with horse racing.

Odds on greyhounds are often not made available until a few hours before the race with only the SP offered until that time.

Like horse racing odds, greyhound odds fluctuate in the lead up to the race and are usually less stable than horse races due to less money being bet on them.

The decision of whether or not to accept the SP or take the fixed odds on greyhound racing is, like horse racing, a personal choice. Odds could drift or shorten which could lead to greater or less returns.

If you place your bets at fixed odds, it’s a good idea to bet with a bookmaker that offers best odds guaranteed on greyhound racing so that if the odds do drift, you’ll get paid out at the bigger odds.

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