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The importance of SP odds and proving betting value?
Where do SP odds come from, what are SP odds and how can you use SP odds to help your betting?
Published on 24 April 2020
Updated on 24 April 2020
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In the ‘old days’ of flat capped bookmakers offering SP odds horse racing events at the local course or illegal bookies outside pubs in back alleys. All of them operate in much the same fashion, as Peaky Blinders running numbers rackets or the prohibition-era style communities illegally wagering on sporting events.
Every year since betting first began, the Starting Price (or SP) has always been an important aspect of betting, especially early horse racing prices and early football prices and we don’t want it to stop anytime soon.
What is the meaning of SP in sports betting; horse racing, football or any sport?
The Starting Price is the full form of ‘SP’ and relates to the initial odds placed on the outcome of an event, prior to the event starting (or kicking-off). SP is presented before an event is subject to the wider betting market and the odds have not been affected by punters, bettors, traders and bookmakers making changes to the odds.
Can punters use the SP to make betting decisions?
Sometimes Starting Price is used by bettors to find additional value by using expected value justifications (title) based on data and information. These decisions can be further enhanced when SP odds move with the betting market.
Some punters believe placing a bet on a football match or horse race at the Starting Price is a good move, but sometimes it’s hard to know when you’re making the best betting decisions. Especially, when you place bets before bookmakers and betting exchange ‘bookies’ have provided their fixed betting odds to the public or noticed the wider effect of the betting market on the SP odds.
How are SP odds set?
Setting Starting Price odds can be varied and depend on the sport or event in question, but since betting began the starting price is decided by the people closest to the action, so the traditional bookie around the corner from the track might set an SP based on the form or other information gained from being a person in the know.
However, this raises more questions than answers, as there is not a unified method to set starting prices. Every bookmaker, trader or trackside bookie may have a different opinion, so how does this play into the wider betting ecosystem?
Why isn’t the Starting Price the same across all bookmakers
Fundamentally the SP at bookmakers and betting exchanges are not based on the same thing. The back and lay activities within exchanges will determine the Starting Price, as there must be a balance between the back bets and the lay bets.
Matching bets between different punters, traders and small bookmakers on the service ensures there is a correlation and a balance; excluding the vig, which would be baked into the bookmaker Starting Prices.
This means you’re more likely to find better odds with betting exchange SP rather than bookmaker SP.
Could there be a Starting Price agreement between all bookmakers about how they set their odds? Could the odds change and vary based on the betting market, profit requirements, punters, information, knowledge about runners, riders, teams, etc.
We really don’t have an answer to that one, but different internal and external factors affecting bookmakers may mean it’s impossible.
What are betting SP odds?
If the fixed odds and moving odds within the betting market provide a glimpse of the different opinions of the entire betting market, the pre-match, pre-race or pre-event Starting Price must show thoughts and knowledge of all the bookmakers and race course bookmakers within the betting system.
This is significant, as it demonstrates the professional views of the corporate bettors and how they more often than not differ from the wider public when information about the event, race or match is widely available.
Using this SP can help you to check your betting value and see if you’re really receiving as much value from the bet as you believe. Using expected value, we can see that the SP can provide a view of the real pre-event odds based on professional opinion and you can determine if your bets would provide you with positive or negative expected value.
How to check the SP to determine if your strategy provides more value
This involves taking a good look at your bets over an extended period. Are you tracking each and every bet and reasons behind placing those bets? Do you also track the expected value over the same period?
Assuming you have (at least) some of the information above, you can compare SP price betting odds to the final fixed odds to determine if your strategy is helping you to find more value or less value than the starting prices.
If your average bet has lower odds than the SP, it could mean that you’re consistently finding bets at a lower price than the assessment of bookmakers and other betting professionals.
Similarly, if your betting odds are consistently higher than the Starting Price odds, it’s sensible to conclude that your odds are in a better place and your current betting strategy appears to display more value than the professionals have identified when they assess a betting event.
Hopefully, you can use this information to find more and more successful betting options across your selections.
Tags: odds, bookmakers
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