What is SP Betting?

Published: 5th June 2018
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: 3rd March 2021
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What is SP Betting?

It’s always important for online bookmakers to focus on giving its customers as much value as possible for each and every wagering dollar or pound. In an industry that’s as competitive as the iGaming industry has become, customers have grown quite astute in regard to leveraging their patronage in a way that gives them the extra benefits they need and feel they deserve.

For horse racing punters, bookmakers tend to give extra benefits in the form of betting promotions as opposed to the free bet bonuses offered to sports bettors. This is necessitated by the fact good handicappers could have the ability to use free bets on the best horse racing betting sites that rain down big prices for a win. That’s the kind of exposure bookmakers have to avoid if they want to stay in business.

Types of Betting Promotions:

Typically, horse racing bettors prefer bonuses from betting sites that do one of three things; give them a boost or extra value on the odds for a certain selection, provides insurance against a bad beat and/or offers a guarantee of the best prices on the market.

One particular online bookmaking giant currently offers a great “Odds Boost” promotion. The promotion allows the bettor to make bets on horses and accumulate points on day, only to turn around and use those points the next day to boost the odds on ONE horse the bettor truly believes in. The amount they can boost the odds by is determined by how many points they accumulated.

Bad beats are certainly part of the game, but bettors really appreciate a good promotion that offers a rebate should their horse finish second in a particular race. They also like promotions that pay the “past post” winner, even when their selection has been subject to a disqualification. Having promotions like these to protect their investments renders a lot of loyalty.

Above all, players want to know the bookmaker is being fair and offering the best value possible. When bettors bet on horse, there are a number of different odds floating around for every race. The bettor often has difficulty gaining access to all the different on-track horse racing bookmakers and tote systems, which makes it near impossible for them to shop for the best prices. They have to depend on the integrity of their bookmaker(s) to offer the best prices or better yet, guarantee the best prices on the market and then know what those prices are at pay-out time.

About SP Betting (What does sp mean in horse racing)

Betting on Horses in Europe and Australia is much more complicated than say in North America or other parts of Asia. Pari-mutual betting in the US keeps the playing field level for all horseplayers who are backing the same horse.

The same cannot be said for the fixed odds style betting that takes place across the pond and down under. When a bettor is betting fixed odds, getting the best price is always a matter of timing and being in the right place at the right time. Again, that’s not possible in an online gaming environment.

With that said, players will typically see their bookmakers advertising the best prices or odds possible. How can they do this?
It’s called “Starting Price” or SP betting. What does SP betting mean? Up until post time, all odds are subject to change on horse at any time. The only time the price stabilizes and becomes set is when the starting gate opens.

Whatever the finals odds are at that time across the board over the entire field, they immediately become the Starting Price odds. If the online bookmaker finds and gives their customers the best of these final prices, they are considered to have fulfilled the responsibility of paying the best odds available. By the way, should a better go ahead and take the early fixed odds while under the bookmakers guarantee, they will still be paid at the SP price if it’s the best price.  Check out our guide on horse racing betting strategies.

What is the Value of Receiving the Best SP Available?

If the bettor wants to avoid taking fixed odds well ahead of post time because they believe they can do better, they might just decide that the SP bet stands a good chance of being the best price available at any given point in time. Theoretically, any bets made prior to post are just guesses and the actual betting value of any particular horse will be given a spotlight when all the bets have been recorded. If there are several totes and bookmakers taking bets that result in different odds, the player is protected by the online bookmaker because they get the best of the best.

Best Odds Guaranteed:

Nowadays when it comes to betting, users should not even be worrying about if they should be betting on the SP with their chosen bookmakers. The main reason is because the majority of popular bookmakers such as Bet365 & Ladbrokes offer a popular feature called ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’. This wonderful feature is where the bookmaker shall offer the punter an SP, regardless of whether it is better than the early price in which they bet at. For example, if the better is betting on a Horse which is 9.0 and the SP was 8.0, the bookmaker shall pay the user at the odds of 9.0.

However, if the SP is 12.0 then the bookmaker shall pay the punter out at the price that it actually is, so overall in perspective it really is a superb win/win situation!

How is the Actual Best SP Determined?

There’s actually a group that is responsible for collecting the SP odds for all major bookmakers and tote systems. It’s called the ‘SP reporters’. They collect the information and provide it directly to the online bookmakers that partake in the group’s services.

What Does Each Way Betting Mean?

By way of providing some information on another betting term that often leads to confusion, this might be a good opportunity to briefly discuss, “What does each way betting mean?” In America and other parts of the world, it would be called betting a win/place ticket. Each way betting is simply the process of betting a horse to both win and place on the same betting ticket.

If the total each way bet is £10, half of the bet is allocated to the win portion with the remaining half going for the place bet. As usual, the win portion will be paid as long as the horse wins the race. The place portion will be paid as long as the horse finishes first or second. It’s just as simple as that.

With a new understanding about SP betting, you can now understand how it’s possible for your bookmaker to make such a bold guarantee and then fulfil it. All you have to do is all the work necessary to pick the right horse when all is said and done.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.