Lots can go wrong when wagering on horse races. Most of those unfortunate happenstances are far beyond the bettor’s control. One of the most frustrating occurrences at the track, however, relates to poor timing of the bet, when a selection wins at odds better than the fixed odds the bettor agreed to. Nobody wants to be holding a ticket at 9/2 when the final result pays 5/1 or higher.
That’s where “Best Odds Guaranteed” comes in. Bookmakers realize they are in competition with the Tote. A horse they offer at 9/2 days before post time may very well end up paying a lot more to pool bettors who wait till the very last minute to make their wagers. The opposite may be true, too, but to induce early wagering, the deal must be sweetened and Best Odds Guaranteed does the trick.
In simplest terms, Best Odd Guaranteed means if a wager is made at a fixed price and the “starting price” (SP) ends up being bigger, the bettor will be paid at the higher odds. What’s more, if the SP is lower than the fixed price, the higher of the two is still paid. This gives bookmakers, both online and trackside, a significant competitive advantage versus the Tote, which pays every winner a dividend based on the total amount wagered divided by the total number of bets made.
Bettors who wish to avail themselves of Best Odds Guaranteed should be well aware of how starting prices are determined. As the name implies, the SP is a bet placed at whatever the price of the market is when the event commences and no more betting is allowed. For horse races, the SP of each entry is equal to the official odds prevailing in the on-course fixed-odds betting market at the racecourse at the point when the race begins.
The most common method for determining starting prices is for an appointed panel of “SP reporters” to decide them by consensus, based upon their observations of the bookmakers’ fluctuating prices. In the U.K., for example, an average of the prices offered by on-course bookmakers is used as the SP at the start of each race. SP bets placed online, at betting shops or with the bookies at the course are all treated the same, because the payout must be at the officially announced rate.
Anyone making wagers at the track should be aware that SP betting does not apply to Tote or pool betting. The odds calculated by the “totalisator,” a pari-mutuel computer that registers bets and determines dividends, have no connection whatsoever to the SP. Only the bookmakers’ odds are taken into account, and each bookmaker has the discretion as to when to offer Best Odds Guaranteed.
At william hill, for example, one of the world’s leading high street bookmakers with a far-reaching online presence, Best Odds Guaranteed is available on all U.K. and Irish Horse racing, as well as on every greyhound race offered. It applies to all bets placed at board prices and william hill Earlybird prices. It does not apply to ante-post prices, bets taken on the Tote or at Pari-Mutuel prices, nor does it apply to Place Only, Betting Without or Insurance Bets.
It is worth noting that the Best Odds Guaranteed offer applies to both single and multiple bets placed on qualifying races. Should a multiple bet contain some Best Odds Guaranteed races, the prices for those races are honoured at either the price taken or the SP, whichever is greater.
Best Odds Guaranteed is the optimum way of ensuring the best possible price for bets. It means no more disappointment if the price improves closer to post time, and it is one of the few unfortunate happenstances that can easily be avoided.