Starting Price

What is a Starting Price?

Starting price – or SP – is predominantly a horse racing term and is the price, or odds, on offer when a race begins. The SP is distinct from a board, ante post or day of the race price.

When placing a bet in a betting office customers can take a price or have winning bets settled based on the SP, and the industry uses the SP across the board which means the same SP applies for all bookmakers. Any other prices are determined by the odds compilers and market forces.    

How is Starting Price used in Sports Betting?

In horse racing and greyhound racing the starting prices for an event are determined by betting activity at the course. On-course bookmakers take cash bets and can lay them off at their discretion. Betting takes place in the ring on course in Britain and Ireland.

Off course bookmakers can build up liabilities on horses and they can offset the potential loss by betting into the market in the ring. Betting usually begins about 15 minutes before each race.

The odds on offer fluctuate based on weight of money. Bookmakers try to create a book which wins them money regardless of the outcome but this is difficult to achieve. Betting markets are monitored and as a race begins a sample is taken of the existing odds for each horse to win. SP reporters convey the odds as the race begins to the bookmakers, who then settle bets accordingly.

Some bookmakers offer best odds guaranteed. Bets will be settled at the biggest price, which might be the board price or SP. The odds determine the return from a winning bet.  

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