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Whenever you’re gambling with a bookmaker on a horse race, the price of any selection is quoted – and when you place your bet, you may decide to take that price or not. The price quoted at that time is known as the “Early Price”, whereas if you decide not to take the price available, you will then receive the starting price (the “SP”).
The SP is calculated using a mean average of the different prices offered by the on-course bookies, but no matter where bets are placed, including online, at the racecourse, or in a bookmaker’s etc, if you leave your wager to go with the SP, this is how it is calculated and it will be used by all bookmakers to calculate returns.
So, an Early Price is a fixed price offered before an event gets underway and one which, should you decide to take, you are then obliged to stay with even if your fancied selection goes out to longer odds in the market.
Deciding whether to take the Early Price or the SP, therefore, is a bit of a gamble in itself and is largely dependent on what you expect the market to do over time. In other words, as a horse race, for example, gets ever closer, will the gambling public gradually begin to realise the merits of your selection thereby shortening the price, or will the absolute opposite happen?
So, you’re trying to second guess what the market will think of your selection as an event gets closer. If you’ve proved to yourself over time that you are a shrewd punter, good at spotting trends of certain trainers at particular racecourses and/or distances, for example, and a generally wise student of form, then you’re probably going to take the Early Prices available in most cases. But even in these cases, there’ll still always be times when you wish you hadn’t.
So another strategy worthy of consideration is to hedge your bets when it comes to Early Prices. For example, you might decide to place a certain percentage or simply half on your selection taking the Early Price – and another half or the remaining percentage at the SP.