In horse racing there are loads of different slang words and jargon used which can make it hard for beginners or casuals to understand what is going on. Most of these abbreviations and jargon are related to the betting which is so intrinsically linked to horse racing in the UK. We are going to have a look specifically at SP in horse racing below. How is the value of SP calculated and what actually is it? Let’s find out below.
What does SP stand for?
SP stands for Starting Price in horse racing. Basically, it is the available odds on any given horse at the beginning of the race.
How is SP worked out?
SP is traditionally worked out by a panel of experts and officials who are at the racecourse and will base the SP on the fixed-odds quoted by the bookies in the concourse at the given racecourse. If there are not any on-course bookies at the given racecourse then the starting price is determined by a regulatory commission who calculate the starting price using samples for online bookies.
The process of calculating the starting price in the UK sees the ordering of starting prices offered by on-course bookies from lowest to highest and dividing then into equal halves. The overall starting price is the shortest price in the half. The longest odds are provided by the on-course bookies.
Why would I bet using SP instead of fixed odds?
What’s the point in betting using SP instead of fixed-odds? Admittedly, nowadays there is less and less incentive to back a horse at starting price. Infact, most of the time it would be silly as the bookies generally now offer a best-price guarantee when placing bets. This popular promotion sees betting sites offer the best price from 9am on the day of the race. For more betting promotions have a look at the Timeform free bets page – it shows you all the latest and greatest betting promotions available.
You are always going to take the best-price guarantee over starting price odds but when the bookie doesn’t offer the guarantee then starting price bets can actually be a worthwhile investment. It is particularly appealing if you think the horse is going to drift in betting and odds on the day of the race – allowing you to boost your odds whilst many other punters are stuck with fixed-odds prices.
How does SP differ from BSP?
When listening to or watching horse racing in the UK you will often hear the commentators mention the BSP instead of the SP. What is this? Simply put, this is just Betfair’s starting price (BSP). Betfair bets are slightly different as there are bets being placed which are both laying and backing the runner.
Why is SP important in horse racing?
Whilst SP betting has become slightly defunct on its own it still remains very important in the betting world. It is used for calculations of forecast and tricast betting as well as tote betting. These are popular types of bets and the starting price matters when it comes to them.