The 4th of July is one of the most sacred American holidays. It’s a chance to celebrate our independence, enjoy backyard barbecues and take in fireworks. It also marks the annual 10-minute Super Bowl of competitive eating.
The 104th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place at Noon ET on Saturday and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Unfortunately, it won’t take place in front of the original Nathan’s restaurant near the boardwalk in Coney Island, New York. Instead, it will be held indoors at a private location without fans due to the coronavirus.
Over the past few years, betting on the Hot Dog Eating Contest has become an underground favorite among wiseguys. However, because licensed sportsbooks weren’t approved to post odds, bettors had to go offshore to place bets. Not anymore. Earlier this week the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and Colorado Division of Gaming authorized betting on the event, becoming the first two states ever to do so. If you live in New Jersey or Colorado and you’d like to place a bet on this year’s contest, congratulations. You can officially get down this Independence Day.
Joey “Jaws” Chestnut has dominated the event for over a decade. Chestnut, 36, is considered the G.O.A.T. of competitive eating, ranked No. 1 in the world by Major League Eating (yes, it’s a real thing). Since 2007, Chestnut has won the Hot Dog Eating Contest 12 times, including the last four consecutively. His only loss came in 2015 when he was edged out by Matt Stonie.
At BetMGM, Chestnut is a massive -1250 favorite to win this year’s event. This means you would need to risk $1,250 in order to win $100. If you convert the betting odds to implied probability, the sportsbooks are giving Chestnut a 92.6% shot of winning. The field is listed at +700. This means a $100 bet would profit $700 if anyone other than Chestnut wins.
Bettors can also wager on the total amount of hot dogs (and buns) Chestnut will eat. The over/under is set at 72.5 (over -125, under +100).
Chestnut, appearing with Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard on VSiN’s “Follow The Money,” was asked about his competition, in particular Darron Breeden and Geoffrey Esper.
“I know my A-day is better than their A-day,” Chestnut said. “They have to hope I have a bad day for them to win.
“Darron is a beast. He has an amazing capacity. He says he has done 60 (hot dogs) in practice.”
As for Esper, “He is also a great eater … he has never done well in hot dogs.”
Here is the full breakdown of hot dogs eaten by Chestnut since winning his first competition in 2007:
Chestnut has averaged 65.7 hot dogs eaten over the past 13 contests. He has only eclipsed 72.5 hot dogs once when he ate 74 in 2018, setting the world record. Chestnut is +125 to set a new world record this year by eating 75 or more hot dogs.
On the women’s side, Miki Sudo has won six straight Hot Dog Eating Contests. She is nearly as big a shoo-in as Chestnut. Sudo, 35, is listed as a -1112 favorite (91.7% chance), with the field +650.
Sudo’s over/under hot dogs is 40.5 (over -164, under +130).
Here is Sudos’s breakdown each year:
Sudo has averaged 36.6 hot dogs since 2014. She has only eclipsed 40.5 once (2017).
If either of the men’s or women’s contests finish in a tie after 10 minutes, the event goes to a 5-hot dog “eat off.” The odds of a men’s eat-off are “yes” +1100 and “no” -3334. The odds of a women’s eat-off are “yes” +900 and “no” -2000.
In 2008, Chestnut and the famous Takeru Kobayashi were tied with 59-hot dogs eaten in regulation. Chestnut won the eat-off. It was the first eat-off since 1980.
The winner of the men’s and women’s contest each take home $10,000.
Josh Appelbaum writes about the betting markets for VSiN.com