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What Does SP Mean In Betting? | What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing?

There are several betting terms around being used at bookmakers and if you are interested in horse races, we are sure that you have heard the term “SP” before. Have you ever wondered what does SP mean in betting? Well, we answer this question for you in this guide: We will explain SP betting meaning and what does SP mean on a betting slip.

When used right, SP betting can offer better odds for your bets and give you an actual advantage. Whether you play a straight, forecast, or Tricast bet, you can take advantage of SP betting odds. Without further due, let’s start our guide and answer the obvious question first: What is SP betting?

What does SP mean in betting terms?

Alright, let’s start with the SP betting definition and let you know what does SP mean in betting? This is a term you will see in almost all horse racing betting sites at mobile bookmakers so this question is usually asked like “what is SP in horse betting”. While it is commonly used in UK horse racing betting, you can also see this term used in dog races too. SP meaning betting is simple: It means “starting price”.

In order to explain what does SP mean on horse betting, we need to talk about horse races first and not other sports. It is possible to bet on a horse race that has not been done yet. You can even bet on a race that will be held months later at almost every crypto betting site. However, as the race day approaches, you will see that the odds are constantly changing (increasing or decreasing). This is normal because odds are determined by the current performance of horses and jockeys. A horse that was seen as a favorite a month ago may lose this position (or vice versa).

In short, odds are constantly changing until the race begins, and every bookmaker is free to determine their own dynamic odds. See the process in our how do bookies set odds article. Some bettors use this to their advantage and try to place their bets with the best possible odds by tracking odds differences. This is called ante post betting: Simply, they are the bets placed way before the race starts. (Read our how to bet on horses and horse betting terms guides for more info about how all these work.)

However, when the race day comes, the odds offered just before the race starts are fixed in all bookmakers. This is the SP in betting means: They are the fixed odds offered just before the race starts. Some bettors prefer to use fixed SP horse betting odds rather than ante-post odds. There is no real way of knowing that starting price horse racing odds will be better or worse: sometimes they can be better and offer price boosts and enhanced odds, but sometimes they can be worse.

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How do they set betting SP values?

We answered what is SP in betting question above: You now know what does SP stand for in betting. Let’s talk about how the starting prices are set too. This may sound weird but there is an actual commission for this job, based in London and called “The Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC)”. They are setting the rules for calculating SP and regulate them. According to these rules: 

Odds offered by the bookies for each horse are added to a list, from longest to shortest. For example:
Then, the list is divided into two equal halves. For example:
The half containing the longest odds is selected to set SP. The shortest odds in this list is the SP. In this example, we will use this half of the list:

And 6/1 is the shortest price here, so it is the SP for this race. This method is similar to calculating the median, although it is slightly different, but it has big differences from lucky 15 bets. And there you go: You have learned how do they calculate horse betting SP figures. Note that this SP horse racing calculation method is used for dog betting (greyhound races) too.

SP betting is not available in all races

In TOTE races (and all other forms of pool betting, like Scoop 6 betting), SP betting is not available: These races have their own special pools and payouts. Simply put, they return a certain percentage of the dividends to bettors. That’s why you cannot see SP betting as an option in these races. In other words, you won’t see SP on betting slip if you are playing at pool betting sites.

In such tote races, you can only place bets like Tote Jackpot, Tote Placepot, Quadpot, Tote Swinger, Tote Win/Place, Tote Exacta, or Tote Trifecta.

When should you take SP on betting?

You learned the betting SP meaning at live betting sites and saw the advantage it can offer you: In some cases, SP betting can give you much higher odds. So when should you prefer SP odds and when should you prefer ante-post odds? Is there a scenario where SP betting would be a better choice?

As we mentioned above, it is not possible to know with certainty whether SP odds will be better or worse than ante-post odds. Bettors who like to research and want to achieve the highest possible winning potential by comparing odds generally prefer ante-post prices at the best sports betting exchanges. SP betting mostly appeals to casual bettors who do not have time to research and want to make a simple bet on race day and try their luck. So how good SP betting will be for you depends a bit on your betting habits.

In addition, if you are sure that ante-post odds will change significantly, SP betting may be the better choice. A horse shown as a favorite will have low ante-post odds. Also, before placing any bet, read out article about horse racing being fixed, you will learn a lot from it.

However, if you think this will change and see odds shortening, you can get better prices on the race day by choosing SP betting. In any case, the “best odds guaranteed” option will be the best choice you can make: Our recommendation is to place an ante-post bet and choose this option to ensure a better payout should SP odds increase.

Best odds guaranteed and Starting Price

Not all bookies have this option, but you can see the “best odds guaranteed” offer at all the biggest bookmakers in UK. However, you have the chance to choose them at Gambling Judge filtering them by bookmakers by payment payment methods.

This feature is similar to the “accept all odds movement” but protects the bettor from odds changes between the early prices and the starting prices. Simply put, it means if you placed a bet way before a race starts and the SP odds turn out to be better, you will get paid according to these SP odds if you win.

  • For example, you placed your bet with 8/1 odds. This means when you wager 10 EUR, the payout will be 80 EUR.
  • Turns out, the SP odds are 10/1: They pay 100 EUR for the same wager.
  • In this situation, if the best odds guaranteed is available, you will still get paid according to the SP odds.

What is the Betfair SP?

Betfair, the famous betting exchange platform, also offers starting prices for horse races with a lot of promotions. However, it calculates them differently, that’s why it is called “Betfair Starting Price” (BSP).

Betfair Starting Price | BSP
 ➤ SP calculation of Betfair is based on bets placed by both backers and layers in any market.

 ➤ There is no margin for profit: Betfair will determine the SP by balancing bets from customers who want to back and lay.

 ➤ Since a profit margin is not included in these calculations, you will always get better SP prices at Betfair.

 ➤ Take a look at our Betfair trading strategies article to learn more & get some tips.

SP betting tips & tricks for beginners


👉 Check out horse racing and SP prices in other countries too and currencies you can use for betting. The rules listed above only apply to horse racing in the UK and are quite strict. Each country uses a different method for calculating SP prices. Therefore, it is possible to get higher SP odds in races in different countries.

👉 The best sports betting exchanges such as Betfair will always offer higher SP prices in this sense. For SP betting, we recommend that you choose platforms such as Betfair, not traditional bookmakers.

👉 Whatever you decide, don’t forget to use the bonuses of online bookmakers. You can use risk free bet offers for ante-post and SP betting and learn how they work without any risk.

FAQ about SP betting

This means short “starting price favorite”. Simply put, it means the favorite horse (the horse that is expected to win the race) when SP odds are announced.

Betfair does not take a profit margin into account when calculating SP betting odds. The calculation is made by balancing bets from customers who want to back and lay, that’s why they are almost always higher.

It means the same thing: starting price. However, instead of horses, greyhounds are used. As mentioned above, SP betting is available in dog races too, not only horse racing.

If you think that the ante-post odds will be higher than the pre-race odds in any case (i.e. if you are sure that the prices will decrease on the race day), SP betting will not be a good choice.

Get the best SP betting odds

There you go: You have now learned what does SP mean on betting. More importantly, you have learned how to use SP in betting, whether it is horse racing or dog racing. And since you learned SP betting term in detail, it is time to make some practice: Take a look at our lists of best odds bookmakers and best sports betting exchanges, pick one, and create your account today. Get the best betting on SP odds and win big: Good luck out there!