What Does SP (Starting Price) Mean in Betting?

Betting, especially in horse racing and greyhound racing, has its own unique jargon and terms that can be confusing for newcomers. One such term that often comes up is “SP,” which stands for Starting Price. Understanding the concept of starting price is crucial for both novice and experienced bettors, as it plays a significant role in determining payouts and weighing betting strategies.

The starting price refers to the odds offered on a particular selection at the start of a race or event. These odds are determined by bookmakers based on various factors, including the horse’s or dog’s past performances, current form, and track conditions.

The starting price serves as a common reference for bettors to compare odds and make informed decisions while placing wagers on different selections.

What Does ‘SP’ Stand For In Betting

In the world of sports betting, particularly in horse racing and greyhound racing, the term ‘SP’ is quite common. ‘SP’ stands for starting price, and it refers to the odds assigned to each competitor at the beginning of a race. The starting price is the official odds set by bookmakers or betting exchanges once the race gets underway.

Establishing the starting price is crucial, as it directly impacts how much a bettor can potentially win from a wager. If odds fluctuate before the race begins—for example, if the odds of a favorite drift or the price of an outsider comes in—then the potential payout will reflect these changes.

One might wonder how the starting price is determined. Bookmakers and betting exchanges typically derive the SP from the varied betting activity of bettors just before the race begins. It is a reflection of the general consensus among the majority of people betting on the race.

When placing bets ahead of race day, you may often see the term ‘SP’ listed alongside the odds. This typically means that the odds being offered haven’t been finalized yet. As the race draws closer, the odds may change based on factors such as the participants’ performances, as well as betting trends and patterns.

In conclusion, understanding the concept of starting price (SP) is essential for bettors engaging in horse racing or greyhound racing. This knowledge helps them to accurately interpret the odds and potential payouts while making informed betting decisions.

History of Starting Price

The concept of the starting price (SP) has its roots in horse racing, and has evolved over time to become an integral part of betting practices. In the early days of horse racing betting, bookmakers would set the odds just before the race began. This was done based on the perceived chance of the horse winning and the amount of money wagered by bettors.

As horse racing grew in popularity, the on-course fixed-odds betting market emerged to provide a more standardized system for determining odds on each horse. The term “starting price” was coined to represent the odds prevailing on a particular horse at the time the race began. This made it easier for bettors to gauge the value of their bets and make informed decisions.

At first, the starting price was determined by representatives of various bookmakers, who would gather in the betting ring at the racecourse and agree on the odds. However, with the advent of technology and the rise of online betting, the process of determining the starting price has become more sophisticated.

Today, the starting price is largely dictated by an independent panel of bookmakers who monitor the on-course betting market and establish the SP based on the activity they observe. This method ensures that the starting price accurately reflects the opinions and expectations of the betting public.

In addition to its important role in horse racing, the concept of the starting price has also been adopted in greyhound racing and other sports betting markets. The use of SP allows bettors to place bets on events without having to worry about fluctuations in odds leading up to the start of the race or event.

As the betting industry continues to evolve, the history of the starting price serves as a testament to the ongoing adaptation of betting practices and the importance of providing bettors with accurate odds at crucial moments in the gambling process.

How Starting Price Is Calculated

Official SP System

The Starting Price, commonly known as SP, refers to the odds for a horse or greyhound in a race just before it starts. The official SP calculation system considers several factors, including the amount of money wagered and the public’s perception of a horse or greyhound’s chances of winning the race 1. The official SP is determined by a panel of on-course observers who take into account the sample of prices offered by bookmakers. Their primary objective is to provide a fair, industry-standard representation of the odds at the beginning of a race.

Bookmakers and SP Calculation

Bookmakers play a vital role in the calculation of the starting price. They adjust the odds leading up to the race based on various factors such as current market trends, betting volumes, and the perceived chances of the contenders to win 2. As the race starts, the bookmakers adjust their price offerings for the final time, and the last odds available at that moment are considered the starting price 3.

It’s important to note that various bookmakers might have slight variations in their odds, but the SP aims to create a standard reflection of the odds at the beginning of a race. Some betting platforms offer a Betfair Starting Price (BSP), which is specifically calculated based on the odds available on the Betfair exchange 4.

Significance of Starting Price

The starting price (SP) plays an essential role in the betting world, representing the official odds on a horse or greyhound race at the time the race begins. It serves as a reference point for both bettors and bookmakers, reflecting the on-course bookmaker market. This price is determined by various factors, including bets placed and the perceived chance of a horse or greyhound winning the race (source).


For bettors, the starting price provides a fair and accurate representation of the odds at the time the race begins. Unlike early fixed odds, which may change before the race starts, the SP remains stable as it accounts for all factors leading up to the event. This enables bettors to make informed decisions when wagering on a race. In some cases, bettors may prefer to place an SP bet when no early fixed odds are available, ensuring they receive the most accurate odds at the start of the race (source).


Bookmakers use the starting price to set their odds, offering a consistent and reliable reference point for their customers. As the SP reflects the on-course bookmaker market, it enables bookmakers to ensure they are providing competitive odds that accurately represent the horse or greyhound’s perceived chance of victory. This helps them to stay competitive and win business from bettors who are looking for the best possible odds on a race (source). The SP is also crucial for bookmakers to calculate their liabilities and potential payouts.

As seen, the starting price holds considerable importance for both bettors and bookmakers, providing a neutral and accurate point of reference that is essential for the fair functioning of the betting industry.

Difference Between Starting Price And Fixed Odds Betting

The primary contrast between Starting Price (SP) and Fixed Odds betting lies in when the odds are determined and how they influence potential payouts. The Starting Price represents the odds of a horse at the moment the race begins, and these odds are determined by an on-course bookmaker market.

If a bettor opts for the SP, they rely on the final odds provided right before the race commences 1.

Fixed Odds betting, on the other hand, involves placing a wager at a predetermined price. This means that the odds are set when the bet is placed, and they remain constant regardless of any fluctuation in the market before the race begins 2.

With Fixed Odds, bettors can be certain of their potential payout, which brings a measure of predictability and control to their betting experience.

Both betting options have advantages and disadvantages. Choosing SP may provide a more attractive payout if the odds of a horse improve closer to race time; however, bettors forego the security of knowing their exact payout beforehand. On the flip side, Fixed Odds betting offers stability in knowing your potential winnings, but it can be less rewarding if the odds improve after you’ve placed your bet 3.

In conclusion, the choice between Starting Price and Fixed Odds betting largely depends on individual preferences, risk tolerance, and betting strategies. Some may prefer the stability of Fixed Odds, while others may opt for potential higher rewards when betting with the Starting Price. Ultimately, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each approach to determine which works best for your betting style.

Impact On Different Types Of SP Bets

In the world of betting, particularly in horse racing and greyhound racing, SP stands for “starting price.” It represents the odds at which a particular selection will begin the race source. The impact of SP on different types of bets is important for bettors to understand, as it influences the potential returns and risks associated with each bet. In this section, we will discuss the impact of SP on win bets, each-way bets, and place bets.

Win Bet

A win bet is the most straightforward type of bet, where the bettor simply chooses a single selection to win. The SP influences the potential returns of the win bet, as it determines the odds at the start of the race. The higher the SP, the greater the potential winnings if the selection does win. However, a higher SP also means a lower probability of the selection winning, resulting in higher risks for the bettor. If a bettor chooses to bet on the SP, they are taking a chance that the odds may change, and they might end up with a lower return than anticipated based on the current odds source.

Each-Way Bet

An each-way bet consists of two separate bets: a win bet and a place bet. The SP can impact both parts of an each-way bet. For the win portion, the same considerations apply as with a win bet, as the SP influences the potential returns. The place bet portion depends on a horse or greyhound’s finishing position and the number of selections in the race. In this case, the starting price can also play a role in determining the odds for the place payout, which then affects the bettor’s potential return if their selection finishes within the specified place criteria source.

Place Bet

Similar to the impact on each-way bets, the SP plays a significant role in determining the odds and potential returns for place bets. With a place bet, the bettor is choosing a selection to finish in a specified position, typically the top two or three, depending on the race and the betting rules. The SP will affect the odds for the place component of the bet, as well as the potential return if the selection finishes in the required positions source.

In conclusion, starting prices have a notable impact on different types of bets, as they determine the odds and potential returns for bettors. Ultimately, understanding the influence of SP on different types of bets is crucial for bettors to make informed decisions and manage their risks effectively.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using The Starting Price

The Starting Price (SP) is the odds offered on a horse or greyhound race just before it begins, based on the bets placed and the perceived chance of the horse or greyhound winning the race. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using the starting price when betting.

One advantage of using the SP in betting is that it protects against sudden changes in odds. If you place a bet and the odds change significantly before the race starts, you may end up getting less value for your bet, but with the SP, you get the odds at the start of the race, which may be more favorable1.

Another advantage is that some bookmakers offer a Best Odds Guarantee, meaning if a punter takes fixed odds on a race when the bet is struck and the SP turns out to be better (that is, higher), then if the punter wins, the payout is calculated using the SP2. This ensures that bettors get the best possible payout for their selection.

However, there are also disadvantages to using the SP. A primary drawback is the lack of certainty when it comes to the odds offered. Betting with the starting price means you won’t know the exact odds until the race starts, which can make it difficult to plan your betting strategy and manage your bankroll.

Additionally, the SP is often less favorable than the early fixed odds due to fluctuations in market perception and varying betting amounts on different runners. In some cases, bettors may miss out on better odds that were available earlier in the day.

In summary, while there are advantages to betting with the starting price, such as protection against fluctuating odds and potentially benefiting from a Best Odds Guarantee, there are also downsides, such as uncertain odds and potential missed opportunities for better odds. Bettors must weigh the pros and cons of using the starting price when making their wagers.

Important Tips When Betting With Starting Price

When betting with the Starting Price (SP) in horse racing or greyhound racing, it is crucial to understand how it works and the factors that can impact the odds. The SP represents the odds on a horse or greyhound at the start of a race, just before it begins, and is the official price based on bets placed and the perceived chance of the entry winning the race 1.

Recognize the limitations of SP: The Starting Price may not always offer the best value for your bets, as it is based on the bets placed and public opinion. Unlike fixed odds, SP is subject to fluctuations and does not guarantee the same level of return 4. Therefore, explore other types of betting, such as fixed odds, to find the best value before choosing to bet with SP.

Monitor market movement: To make informed bets using SP, pay close attention to the odds movement leading up to the race. This can give you valuable insights into how the public perceives the chances of different horses or greyhounds and help you identify potential value bets.

Look for bookmakers offering Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG): Some bookmakers offer a BOG promotion, which allows you to bet at fixed odds but still receive the SP if it is higher than the price you originally selected, and your horse or greyhound wins the race 4. This can provide extra value and give you the best possible return on your bets.

Understand the importance of timing: The odds offered as SP can vary significantly from the ante-post odds or early prices, depending on the amount of money wagered and the opinions of the public 5. By understanding the factors that can impact the odds as the race approaches, you can place bets at optimal times to maximize your potential returns.

Keep these tips in mind when betting with the Starting Price, and always prioritize value and informed decision-making over simply following the crowd. This will help improve your chances of success when using SP as a betting strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is SP determined in betting?

The Starting Price (SP) in betting is usually determined by an on-course bookmaker who compiles the prices (odds) of each horse at the beginning of the race. The average odds offered by these bookmakers are then used to calculate the final SP. The process may differ slightly among countries, but it generally involves taking a consensus of the odds offered by various bookmakers.

What is the connection between SP and Bet365?

Bet365 is an online betting platform that, like many other bookmakers, offers its customers the option to place bets using the Starting Price (SP) in horse racing and greyhound racing events. Bet365 ensures fair odds for its users and adheres to the market standard in determining the Starting Price, thereby providing a trusted platform for betting on SPs.

How does SP betting work in horse racing?

SP betting works by allowing bettors to wager on the starting price of a horse in racing, which is the final odds offered at the beginning of the race. By choosing to bet on the SP, they are essentially betting on the odds that are agreed upon by the on-course bookmakers at the start of the race rather than fixed odds offered before the race.

What is the meaning of EW in betting?

EW stands for Each-Way, a popular type of betting in horse racing where a bettor’s wager is split into two parts: one part backing the selection to win and the other part backing the same selection to finish within a specified range of places (for example, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). This type of betting allows bettors more opportunities to win, although the returns may be lower compared to a straight win bet.

Is betting on starting price advantageous?

Betting on the starting price can be advantageous in certain situations, such as when there are significant fluctuations in the market odds leading up to a race. By opting for the SP, bettors can avoid the risk of receiving a lower payout due to sudden changes in the odds just before the race begins. However, this strategy comes with its own risks as the final SP may be less favorable than the earlier fixed odds.

What factors influence the starting price in horse racing?

A number of factors can influence the starting price in horse racing, including past performance, form, and overall reputation of the horse and its connections, such as the trainer and jockey. Market trends and the volume of bets placed on a particular horse can also significantly impact the ultimate starting price, as bookmakers adjust their odds according to the demand and supply in the betting market.


  1. https://punter2pro.com/starting-price-betting-sp-explained/ 2 3 4

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starting_price 2 3

  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/betting/racing/what-does-sp-mean-in-horse-racing/ 2

  4. https://sportsoddsguide.com/what-does-sp-mean-in-betting/ 2 3

  5. https://www.safebettingsites.com/what-does-sp-mean-in-betting/

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