Starting Price Betting

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If you’ve ever been on an online gambling sites (UK) or in your local betting shop, you’ll have seen ‘SP’ next to horse racing odds but what does it mean?

The horse racing starting prices is the closing odds that are based on how the market has reacted in the time between the original opening odds being released and the closing odds at the start of the horse racing betting event.

We explain all about starting prices (SP betting) in this guide.

Starting Price Betting

What Does Starting Price or SP Mean?

SP stands for Starting Price and in terms of betting it refers to the odds that a horse goes off at when a race starts. This price is determined by a number of factors.

As you know the odds of a horse can change up to the start of a race – they can drift or shorten – but the SP is the agreed price that a punter will be paid at (unless they have taken a best odds guaranteed promise or have “taken a price or fixed odds” with on-course bookmakers).

How to Beat the Closing Odds Starting Price?

Savvy horse racing punters will bet early on the betting markets and take the fixed odds early prices.

When you take the opening odds you are able to find value prior to odds movements and gambles taking shape.

The best advice is to punt early, take the price and wager with the best odds guaranteed bookies online.

When you bet on the best odds guaranteed you get whichever is biggest in the early odds or closing starting price.

Here are some of the best odds guaranteed bookmakers:

Who Dictates the Starting Price?

The price is usually set by bookmakers but above that, the price is governed by the betting exchange and sometimes by reporters, including the Mirror Group and the Press Association.

When you place a bet on race day, a bookie will offer you the option of putting that bet on at the SP or the price at the time of putting on the bet (before the race gets underway). That is the choice a punter faces with face to face betting, sometimes this can work in a punters favour and other times not.

Most online bookies and the best horse racing betting sites negate this risk by simply offering the ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ – whereby if a price is accepted at the time of the bet, but if the Starting Price (or SP Bet) is more than that, the bookmaker promises to pay out at whichever is better for the bettor. This is a great deal.

It is advised to take the bet at the time to ensure you’ve got it locked down, and if you opt for best odds guaranteed, you’ll walk away smiling.

These BOG only applies to online bookies, which is why we generally advise online betting here at British Racecourses.

How Do They Work Out a Starting Price?

When figuring out the SP, the officials at the racecourse will analyse the pricing information of the track; there’s a specific way of doing the numbers, depending on geography.

Also, thanks to online betting (and meetings seeing fewer people attending) what happens on the betting exchange is also taken into consideration when finalising this price.

Why is the SP important in horse racing?

The SP is important in horse racing for all punters who do not take a price at the time of the bet.

The starting price directly affects the winning payouts when calculating your winnings.

Forecast and tricast bets are influenced by using the SP to work out the payouts won on the permutation bets.

If placing bets on Tote like placepot bet, quad bet or scoop 6 and your selection is a non-runner the Tote will transfer your selection on to the SP favourite so it can influence the selection.

Difference Between SP from Betfair SP (BSP)?

On ITV Racing the horse racing pundits discuss both the SP and also the Betfair SP (BSP).

The difference between (BSP) Betfair SP and the official Starting Price is the BSP is the trading price on the exchange betting market where you can back or lay the price.

The bookmaker’s official SP is the fixed odds price on the betting market at the time a race begins.

Betfair Exchange is not dictated by an external price, the bettors set their own prices and they work it out based on bets from layers and backers. According to Betfair, they think it works out fairer than the classic method and the truth is the Betfair SP is usually better than most official SP prices and fixed odds.

Are there Any Good Deals With SP Betting?

SP betting is good if you feel your racehorse has a chance to drift in the betting markets at the time of you placing a bet.

Punters have the choice of backing a horse at the odds quoted when you make the bet and is known as taking the price.

If you do not take the price on the fixed odds betting market you risk getting shorter odds than if you had taken the price.

Why Would I Take a Starting Price?

You should take a starting price on the fixed odds betting market if you feel the selection will be backed and the odds will go shorter in price.

When betting on a horse race, you get the choice of the current fixed odds price or betting on the SP.

If you opt for taking the price, it means you’re gambling on getting the better price.

You would take the SP if you thought the price at the time you are betting is going to get bigger (that the price is going to drift).

Why Do the Opening Odds and SP Odds Change?

The opening odds are based on the analysis of past statistics and form.

The opening odds fluctuate because punters look to find value and gamble on selections they feel is value for money.

The gambling statistics influence the odds movements and the SP is the closing odds on the event – just before the race starts.

Money talks and changes the difference from opening odds to the starting price odds.

Summary of  What is a Starting Price?

A Starting Price is the odds that a horse starts off at the beginning of a race, sometimes this is shortened to SP. The price is set by a number of variables as mentioned above.

There are benefits to taking an SP over a fixed price or fixed odds but with many online bookmakers now offering the best odds guaranteed this has been somewhat negated over the past few years.

Many online bettors prefer taking a price with many wagering on horse racing events weeks in advance and betting on the ante-post markets.

If you are looking for an sp betting site we strongly recommend checking out our list of amazing horse racing bookmakers online.

Betting Odds Guide

The odds of an event happening are the likelihood or probability of that result.

Check out all the betting odds used for football betting and for horse racing events in the UK.

Check out our in-depth guide to understanding sport betting odds.