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What does SP stand for in betting?

June 23rd, 2017 Beginner, Betting Markets, Horse Racing, Matched Betting, Sports Betting

What does SP stand for in betting?

For people new to gambling, there are often lots of terms that are quite confusing. As well as answering the question, “what does SP stand for in betting?”, this post will also look at how race tracks calculate it and how to use it.

SP simply stands for ‘starting price’. It is common in horse racing, and states the price of each horse when the race starts.


How do they determine the SP?

Now you’ve answered the question ‘what does SP stand for in betting?’, it’s important to know how it actually works. Well, when calculating the starting price, horse racing officials at the race track take a look at the pricing data from the track. The exact method to calculate the starting price in betting differs in each country. But typically, it is decided by an appointed panel based on the movement of the prices on the racetrack.

This is then communicated to the bookmakers who use it for reasons which we will cover next.


Why would you use the SP?

When you place a bet on a horse race, you will have the option to take the current price, or take the SP. If you take the SP, this means that you are taking a gamble on the starting price being better than the current price.

what does sp stand for in betting

For example, a horse is currently available at odds of 15.0. The bookmaker asks you whether you want to place your £10 at them odds or take the SP. If you back it at odds of 15.0, you will have a potential return of £150.

Should you instead take the SP, you’re hoping that the starting price is higher than 15.0. If the odds decrease, then you potentially win less money.


BSP at Betfair

The question ‘what does SP stand for in betting?’ is slightly different if you use the Betfair exchange. Instead of an independently determined SP, Betfair offer their own version, the BSP.

BSP stands for ‘Betfair Starting Price’, and it is calculated based on bets placed by both backers and layers in the market. They say that it gives a much fairer starting price to the traditional method.

In fact, Betfair claim that the SP is usually better than the official SP offered at many sportsbooks.


Best Odds Guaranteed

These days, you don’t have to even worry about whether you should bet on the SP with many bookmakers.

This is because some of them offer what is known as ‘best odds guaranteed’. Best odds guaranteed is where the bookmaker offer you the SP regardless if it is better than the early price you bet at.

For instance, if your horse was 10.0 and the SP was 9.0, the bookmaker will pay you at odds of 10.0.

Should the SP be 12.0, however, the bookmaker will pay you out at that price. So it’s really a win/win situation (so long as your horse actually wins, that is).


Can you make money betting at the SP?

It depends on if your horse finishes in the right position! Gambling is all about luck – there’s no way to guarantee a win or a profit.

There is however, matched betting. Using bookmakers’ free bets and offers, you can maximise your chances of making a profit through betting. Matched betting eliminates the risks associated with gambling and puts the odds in your favour.

Find out more:

Intro to matched betting download