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.
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SP is a term associated with betting on horse racing or greyhound racing. It stands for Starting Price, but what does that actually mean? Well as you probably know, the odds at which you can back a horse can and do change frequently before the start of a race. The Starting Price is simply the odds of a horse at the time the race starts.
Typically, the SP is decided by people known as “SP Reporters”. They take an average of the odds being offered by on course bookmakers at the time the race starts. Their job is to come up with an accurate SP that will be used by the whole racing industry.
You might typically see SP on a betting coupon at a horse racing bookie, such as the example below. In this example from a coupon at Paddy Power, you can see that there are no odds displayed for any of the horses. Instead, it just says SP in the odds column.
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 horse 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.
If you look at the same racecard on the day of the actual race, you can see that it looks very different. Whereas before there was only SP on offer, you can now see that each horse has its own price as well as SP.
Consider the coupon above, where there is a choice of a price or SP for each horse. You might wonder whether it is best to take SP, or to place your bet at the fixed price on offer. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Unless you have a crystal ball, there is no way of knowing whether the price 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 price on offer. If the SP turns out to be higher than the price you took, the bookie will pay you at the higher price. Take a look at our list of bookies that offer Best Odds Guaranteed, and make sure you’re betting with one of them!