What Does SP Mean in Horse Racing? A Comprehensive Guide

Written By:  Finn Huxley

The world of gambling is filled with abbreviations and potentially confusing terms. One of these is SP or Starting Price, a typical horse racing odds that refers to a particular horse’s chances when the race begins.

This article will explain everything you need to know about SP, including its definition and how it differs from fixed price and best odds guaranteed.

What’s the Meaning of SP?

SP (which stands for “Starting Price“) is the official or final odds at the start of a horse race. These odds, which bookmakers offer, are calculated based on the prices offered and the total amount of money placed on each horse to win. In other words, SP is the available odds on a horse when a race starts.

Determining the Starting Price

So, who determines the SP or Starting Price? Typically, there will be a list with prices on offer for each race. This list, which gathers the longest to shortest prices on-course bookmakers or online bookmakers offer, is divided into two halves. The SP will be the shortest odds you could get from the longest odds’ half.

The SP is usually calculated by a panel of bookmakers (the Starting Price Regulatory Commission) who assess the form, potential, and other relevant factors of each horse in the race. They may take into account the current betting trends and adjust the odds accordingly, too.

The goal of determining a Starting Price is to ensure a fair and balanced market that reflects the perceived chances of each horse winning. This is why it’s become a good reference point for people who prefer to place their bets close to the start of a horse race. If you don’t specify a particular price (or take the early fixed odds the bookmakers offer), your bet will be settled at the SP.

The Starting Price can fluctuate right up until the race starts. This is because betting patterns change as new information becomes available. So, your final odds may differ slightly from the initial Starting Price.

The Difference Between Starting Price and Fixed Price

The main difference between SP and Fixed Price is the timing at which the odds will be determined.

The Starting Price is done at the start of a horse race. It’s calculated based on bookmakers’ prices and the total amount of money placed on a particular horse. So, you won’t know the SP until the race begins.

The Fixed Price, on the other hand (also known as Early Price or Morning Line), refers to the odds the bookmakers offer well before a race – typically the day before. In this case, the odds are based on the assessment of a horse’s chances to win and the potential betting market.

The Difference Between Starting Price and Best Odds Guaranteed

The main difference between SP and Best Odds Guaranteed (or BOG) is the timing of the odds determination and the guarantee offered to bettors.

As we mentioned, the odds for a Starting Price are calculated based on the bookmakers’ price and the total amount of money. Best Odds Guaranteed, however, is designed to ensure the bettors receive the best possible odds (and protect them against fluctuations).

With BOG, if you take an early price on a horse and the Starting Price is higher, the bookmaker will automatically adjust the odds and payout at the higher SP. Let’s see an example:
Say you bet on a horse at odds of 5/1 (6.00) in the morning. If the SP for that horse ends up being 8/1 (9.00), the bookmaker offering Best Odds Guaranteed will also settle your bet at 8/1 (9.00). If, on the other hand, the SP is lower than the early price, you will still receive the higher early price.

SP, Forecast And Tricast Bets

Forecast and tricast bets are essential components in horse racing betting and are closely related to SP and SP bets.

A forecast bet allows you to predict which horses will finish first and second in a race in the correct order. The payout for a forecast bet is based on the Starting Price (SP) of the two selected horses at the start of the race. The forecast payout is calculated by multiplying the Starting Prices of the selected horses. For example, if the Starting Prices of the selected horses are 4/1 and 6/1, the forecast payout would be 4 multiplied by 6, resulting in a potential payout of 24 times the stake.

A tricast bet is a slightly more challenging variation of a forecast bet. In this case, you would need to predict the horses that will finish first, second, and third in a race and in the correct order. The payout for a tricast bet is also based on the Starting Price (SP) of the three selected horses at the start of the race.

Since tricast bets require more accurate predictions, the potential payouts for successful tricast bets tend to be higher than forecast bets.

Conclusion: SP Horse Racing

The Starting Price or SP is essential for the world of horse racing. Firstly, it serves as the official odds determined at the start of a race, reflecting the final odds at that time. But the SP also plays a crucial role in various other aspects of horse racing, including settling bets, determining payouts, and providing transparency in the betting market.

This is why understanding and considering the Starting Price is essential for bettors looking to make informed decisions on horse betting apps and platforms and engage in the thrilling world of horse racing.