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Peter Addison

SP stands for ‘Starting Price’. It’s an important figure in horse racing, greyhounds and, indeed, most sports. The SP is the odds of a competitor or market at the start of a sporting event, such as the start of a horse race, the kick-off in a football match or the first serve in a tennis match. This guide digs deep to provide a full explanation of ‘What does SP mean in betting?’

How Does the SP Work?

In the days and hours leading up to an event such as a horse race, the odds of each competitor will change. This is due to the money being taken on a race, fresh information being received such as other declared competitors withdrawing, or – in terms of horse racing, cricket and tennis, for example – a change in the weather.

Horse Racing 2

However, at the precise moment the event begins, the odds are fixed. That’s when they become known as the starting price. The SP meaning betting in horse racing is therefore the ‘price at the start’ of the race. Prices may change for some events for the purpose of in-play betting, but for horse racing and greyhound betting the price of each competitor is now fixed.

When you place a bet you usually take the odds as declared at the time you placed your bet. But for some sports, you can choose to take the price for SP betting meaning your winnings are determined by the starting price multiplied by your stake. (Note: if you have difficultly working out winnings and returns from your betting then please feel free to use one of our free bet calculators).

Who Determines the SP in Betting?

The starting price in horse racing is determined by the Starting Price Regulatory Commission. This organisation exists to maintain the integrity of horse racing betting independent of bookmakers. The betting SP is roughly calculated as a median of all prices listed by a range of bookmakers and is done independently of sports betting companies to maintain fairness. Prices before the start of the race are determined by the bookmakers themselves, but they have to accept the SP odds.

The same principle applies to greyhound racing but not to (most) other sports. For a football match, for example, the ‘starting price’ of a team winning at the moment of kick-off is determined individually by each bookmaker and usually varies across multiple bookies.

When Does the SP Apply to a Bet?

When you place a bet with an online bookmaker, you usually take the price offered at the time. You can, however, choose to take the betting SP instead.

If you place a bet at a betting shop, it will be assumed that you will take the betting SP. If you want the odds offered at the time of your bet, you have to state this when placing your bet. If you do not stipulate which price you want, you will automatically be paid out at the starting price.

Best Odds Guaranteed

Best odds guaranteed, or BOG for short, is something available at most of our recommended betting sites for horse racing betting and sometimes greyhound betting too. With this, there are two prices in play – the price at the time you placed your bet, and the SP odds. If your bet is a winning one (including each way betting in which your chosen selection at least places) you will be paid out at the better price – the price your bet was placed at or the starting price.

Greyhound Racing

If you are betting on ‘price at the time of bet’ or SP in horse racing or greyhound racing, then you should always look for sites that offer ‘best odds guaranteed’. This way, you will not miss out on extra returns should your bets be winning ones.

What is BSP in Betting?

BSP stands for ‘Betfair Starting Price’ and online only applies to the starting price offered by the sports betting site and exchange betting site Betfair. It’s the starting price calculated by Betfair based on the number of backers and layers using their site and is completely independent of the SPRC.

With the SPRC, starting prices are calculated in such a way that it practically ensures bookmakers make profits from races. Because Betfair makes money via commission, they do not need to profit from all bets placed, only winning ones. They therefore calculate their own SP in betting in such a way that zero profit would be made by them if they were an on-course bookmaker and not a betting exchange.

The BSP is calculated by a direct formula that does not waver. It determines that no matter the outcome, all the money that is paid by losers of the bet goes to punters who won the bet. Betfair then take a small commission from bet winners. As a result, the BSP is more beneficial than the SP odds determined by the SPRC.


By now, you should have a clear understanding of how the SP works in horse racing betting and greyhound racing, too. Other sports have betting SP, but that isn’t so crucial when it comes to guaranteeing the best returns for your bet. Remember, if you are looking to bet on horses or greyhounds, pick sites with ‘best odds’ guaranteed’ or use the Betfair betting exchange to maximise your returns.


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Peter Addison
Peter Addison

Peter is one of the most well-known and well-respected names working in the field of online sports betting today. Having a Bachelor of Arts degree, Peter has worked for many high-profile publications in the industry, both online and in the real world. He joined the SafestBettingSites team in 2021 and has provided millions of words ever since. When not writing, Peter enjoys performing and writing music, gaming, reading and he is a massive movie buff, with a particular love of Japanese cinema and anime.