The Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest: Wagering on the Event

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As Americans celebrate Independence Day on Tuesday, there will be fireworks, picnics, and cookouts featuring hotdogs. Perhaps no man on planet Earth has eaten more hotdogs than Joey Chestnut, and on Tuesday at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York he will attempt to once again eat more hotdogs than anyone.

Last year, he won the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest for the seventh consecutive year, his 15th win overall. Chestnut burst on the competitive eating scene in 2007, when he knocked off six-time champion Takeru Kabayashi by shattering the world record with 66 hotdogs (and buns) eaten in 12 minutes.

In his 15 total wins, Chestnut has eaten 1,013 hotdogs.

From Novelty Event to Worldwide Phenomenon

This contest — which spawned the world of competitive eating — has officially been held since 1972, when the winner consumed 12 hotdogs in five minutes. Its alleged origins dating back to 1916 are just a fabrication, created to drum up more interest when the contest began in the early 1970s.

It wasn’t always a July 4th event, first taking place on Memorial Day. It also took place on Labor Day before finding its permanent home in 1979 on Independence Day. In 1997, it became an officially sanctioned event when the International Federation of Competitive Eating and Major League Eating were both founded.

As a “sport,” it certainly has its naysayers. Longtime and respected football writer Peter King once called competitive eating a sin, and the Nathan’s contest a “grotesque event.” In 2022, an animal rights activist rushed the stage in the middle of the competition, protesting against the treatment of pigs at Smithfield Farms, which produces Nathan’s hotdogs. (It’s worth noting that the hotdogs consumed at Coney Island on Independence Day are all-beef hotdogs.)

Whether or not you believe that eating is a sport and Joey Chestnut is an athlete, there is no denying the popularity of the event, and the expanded wagering that sportsbooks are featuring for hotdog eating.

Odds to Win 2023 Men’s Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest

Joey Chestnut (-5000)

Geoffrey Esper (+1000)

Nick Wehry (+1600)

Matthew Stonie (+1600)

Darron Breedon (+1800)

James Webb (+2000)

As you can see, the bookmakers at believe that Chestnut is a cinch to defend his title and remain the “top dog” when it comes to eating hotdogs. He is paying a prohibitive -5000 to win again this year. Geoffrey Esper has some impressive accomplishments on his eating resume, like 281 Hooters wings eaten in 10 minutes, but last year he finished 20 hotdogs behind Chestnut’s 63.

The over/under on hotdogs eaten by Chestnut is 73.5, which is 23 more hotdogs than the line for Esper.

Odds to Win 2023 Women’s Hotdog Eating Contest

Miko Sudo (-5000)

Michelle Lesco (+900)

Sarah Rodriguez (+1600)

Larell Marie Mele (+2500)

On the women’s side of the event, has Miko Sudo as the heavy favorite. Last year she won her eighth Nathan’s Hotdog Eating title, with a slightly less gluttonist 40 hotdogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes.

Michelle Lesco did win the championship in 2021, but with only 30 hotdogs eaten, it is safe to assume that had Sudo not been out of the competition that year because of her pregnancy, she would have won. In her eight titles, she has never eaten less than 31 hotdogs.

The over/under on her 2023 total is 43.5. In 2020, she ate 48.5 hotdogs, which is the women’s world record.

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