What does SP mean in horse racing betting? Our guide explains it all
What is SP? This guide explains what it means, how it works and how you can incorporate it into your betting.
What does SP mean?
When looking at horse racing odds, you may have noticed the letters ‘SP’ listed in the odds column.
This abbreviation refers to the Starting Price, which are the odds a particular horse will go off at, the moment the race begins.
That means if the odds of a favourite drift or the price of an outsider comes in before the start, your potential payout will reflect it.
If you want to bet on a horse ahead of race day, chances are you’ll see SP listed. This is because the full information of a runner isn’t available to bookmakers to offer fixed odds at that time.
However, on race day you’ll have the opportunity to choose either the SP or the fixed odds in your Betway betslip, by tapping the drop-down icon.
While there are benefits to choosing the starting price, it’s worth noting that Betway offers best odds guaranteed on UK and Irish daily horse racing.
That means if you pick a horse on the day it runs, you’ll be paid out at the best available odds, giving you even greater winnings. For example, if you back a horse at 3/1 but it goes off, and wins, at 4/1, you’ll be paid out at 4/1.
How is the starting price calculated?
The starting price, or SP, is calculated differently in each country where horse racing takes place.
In the United Kingdom, where it’s most commonly found, the starting price is controlled by the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC).
The SPRC will monitor the pricing data from racetracks by on-course bookmakers. They’ll then order these from longest to shortest, divide this list in two, and take the shortest odds on the list of longest prices.
This means that the SP, or longer odds, would have been offered by at least half of the on-track bookmakers in the sample list.
When would you use SP?
When betting on horse racing at Betway, you’ll usually be offered the choice of either backing a horse at the fixed odds quoted or the SP.
With Betway offering players the best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing, it’s usually more beneficial to take the offered price, in the knowledge that if it increases, your potential payout will too.
However, selecting the SP can be useful when betting on future races, or on races or system bets where ‘best odds guaranteed’ aren’t eligible and you believe that a horse’s price could drift before the start of the race.
Why is SP important in horse racing?
The SP is important to both bookmakers and bettors alike. For bookmakers, it’s used to calculate forecast and tricast bets, with some bookmakers using the SP in their payouts. For bettors, the SP favourite can substitute non-runners in certain multi-leg system bets.
Previous SP prices can also be used to measure the expectation of a horse in an upcoming race. While it can be important to study a horse’s previous form over similar distances or at a certain course, looking at historic prices can also act as an indicator of expected performance.
It’s also worth noting that odds are volatile, and prices shift in reaction to the market in the moments leading up to a race. The volume of bets placed at this time can, in some instances, have a huge impact on the final odds of a horse.
In circumstances where best odds guaranteed offers aren’t available, betting on the SP can be appealing, especially if you’re keen on a runner where the odds have drifted by the time the race begins.
Visit Betway's horse racing betting page.