What is An SP Bookie?

The Quick Answer

What is An SP Bookie?

SP is the abbreviation for starting price. This is the odds of a horse or event literally as it begins (known as the off in racing). Almost all bookies will offer / accept bets at SP, although generally taking odds pre-event is usually much better and more lucrative for you as a punter.

Most high street and online bookmakers will also take SP bets but, with most of these types of betting sites offering best odds guaranteed, SP bets aren’t that common.

Why Are There Not Many SP Only Bookies?

The art of bookmaking is to make a book that gives you a decent chance of winning, but that’s hard to do if you don’t know what odds any of the runners are going to be returned at. That’s why bookmakers like to take bets at the odds they are offering when the bets are placed.

Imagine you’re a bookmaker and you’ve laid £5,000 of bets on a horse at SP. You’ve done this thinking that the horse will be returned at odds no bigger than 2/1 (3.00). However, due to other horses proving more popular in the market, the horse is returned at 3/1 (4.00). Instead of having a £10,000 liability on the horse, you now have a £15,000 liability, which could be the difference between a good winning day and a bad losing day.

Don’t Take The SP When There’s BOG

Punters used to face the dilemma of whether to take the odds that were available when betting or taking SP, but BOG means that you can now take the odds and still get paid out at SP if the SP odds are bigger. While most on-course or high street bookmakers don’t offer BOG, most online bookmakers do offer this popular concession.

If you bet £100 on a horse at 5/1 (6.00), you’ll win £500 + your £100 stake. But if the SP of the horse is 7/1 (8.00), you’ll get a total return of £800 with any bookmaker offering BOG.

Even if some bookmakers limit the amount you can win from BOG, for example, £100, there is an easy way to make sure you fully benefit from bigger SPs. Instead of having £100 at 5/1 (6.00) with one bookmaker, have two £50 bets with different bookmakers. If you’re a successful punter, placing smaller bets with lots of bookmakers can also be a good way of avoiding getting flagged for big wins.

Taking SP With Enhanced Place Terms

Bookmaking has never been as competitive a business as it is right now, and many bookmakers are offering concessions such as enhanced place terms. But one of the terms and conditions of these enhanced place terms can be that BOG does not apply.

Check the small print carefully and, if BOG does not apply, you will have to decide whether to take the odds that are on offer or the SP. When making this decision, it is worth considering whether the bookmaker you’re betting with is offering the best odds as well.

It is often the case that bookmakers offering enhanced place terms do not offer the best odds. For example, your bookmaker may be offering 20/1, 5 places, but you might be able to get 25/1, 3 places somewhere else.

You’ve just decided that the 5 places offer a better value bet. But unless the horse is really fancied, it may well go off at an SP of 25/1. This means you may get 25/1, 5 places if you take SP with your bookmaker, providing SP is an option. *remember to always check the terms and conditions.

Taking SP If BOG Has Been Removed From My Account

Bookmakers don’t like to close betting accounts, as complaints about such actions can put off potential punters. So, rather than closing accounts, bookmakers have started to limit or remove certain concessions to successful punters.

One of the first concessions to be limited tends to be BOG and, if this happens, you will be faced with the dilemma of taking the available odds or SP. Of course, you always have the option of betting with a different bookmaker that has yet to remove your BOG privileges.

If you want to bet with a particular bookmaker because they are offering a standout price, it’s probably wise to take those odds, as SP odds may well be shorter. But that’s your decision.

Should I Ever Bet At SP?

We’ve explained a few instances when you might want to consider betting at SP, especially when enhanced placed terms don’t come with BOG. You may also want to take a standout price with a bookmaker that doesn’t offer BOG or has revoked your BOG privileges.

But there are two main problems when betting at SP. The first is you don’t have a clue what odds your selection will be returned at. You could get lucky and get 6/1 (7.00) when the best price available when you placed your bet was 5/1 (6.00). But if you’re betting on a popular horse, you could see the odds of some selections plummet, for example, from 6/1 (7.00) to 3/1 (4.00).

The uncertainty of betting at SP also flies in the face of the concept of finding value bets. The certainty of taking the available odds is because you know you’re getting odds that you think represent value, or else you shouldn’t be having the bet at all. If those odds happen to get boosted by BOG, brilliant. But if you take SP odds, and the price shortens, you’re no longer getting the value you thought you were.

What Are Value Bets?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of value bets, it is simply the idea of only betting when you think the odds are bigger than they should be. You may think a favourite will win a race but, if you think it should be evens (2.00) and it’s only 4/5 (1.80), you shouldn’t have that bet.

If you find it difficult to pick value winners, don’t despair, you don’t have to pick your own selections to profit from gambling. Betting Gods is a tipster platform that has launched some of the best tipsters in the world. Our tipsters provide tips for horse racing, football, greyhound racing, cricket, tennis, golf, basketball, American football, and ice hockey.

The odds recommended with our tips are available with at least two bookmakers. We also don’t add any BOG increases to our results, but you can still benefit from BOG if you place your bets with a bookmaker that offers it.

You can check out our tipsters via their profiles on the Betting Gods website, where you can see important statistics such as total profit, average monthly profit, return on investment, and winning percentage.

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