Major League Baseball and eating hot dogs have been intertwined as an American tradition on July 4 for several decades. It used to be that just one of those two things was an actual sport – and something you could also wager on.
Nowadays, though, July 4 is the home to the Super Bowl of competitive eating: The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. What started as a self-marketing campaign in 1916 has exploded into popularity in recent years largely because ESPN has been televising it. Apparently, people like watching other people stuff their faces.
This year’s event as usual is staged out front of the best-known Nathan’s restaurant in the world on Coney Island in New York. The LeBron James, so to speak, of competitive eating is Joey Chestnut, and he’s the -550 betting favorite against the field to win the Hot Dog Contest yet again at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Chestnut is a 10-time champion of the event and last year set a record of 72 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes – competitors eat hog dogs and buns, dipping them in water to make them easier to swallow. No ketchup and mustard on these dogs. And, yes, most competitors go vomit afterward.
While the 72 hot dogs were a record for the Nathan’s contest, it wasn’t even Chestnut’s personal best as he gulped down a world-record 73.5 in a 2016 qualifier. “Jaws” usually fasts 2-3 days before the Nathan’s contest. The second-place finisher last year was Carmen Cincotti with 60 hot dogs, and he’s part of the field at +325 vs. Chestnut.
Cincotti has never won the event. Major League Eating has a rankings system, and Chestnut is No. 1 with Cincotti at No. 2.
The winning hot dog total this year is set at 72.5, with the under a -220 favorite. Eating 72 hot dogs and buns equates to around 20,000 calories – the recommended average caloric intake for humans is 2,000.
Women have been competing in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest since 2011, and the No. 1 ranked female eater and four-time defending champion is Mika Sudo. Last year, she won by eating 41 hot dogs, nine more than second-place Michelle Lesco.
Sudo is -550 against the field (+400) on the hot dog contest odds with the total set at 41.5. The other big name on the women’s side is 98-pound Sonya Thomas, who won the first three Nathan’s Hot Dog contests. Thomas, who finished third last year with 30, holds the event and women’s world record with 45 dogs eaten in 2012. Sudo hadn’t become a competitive eater yet back then. Thomas is +300 head-to-head vs. Sudo (-500).
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Source: Heavy Sports