$1 Million to be Bet on Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
There was a time when the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was dominated by Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi. During his debut performance in 2001, Kobayashi ate 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, which shattered the then-world record of 25. Kobayashi went on to win 6 consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests.
In 2007, though, Kobayashi finally met his match when American Joey Chestnut claimed the title. Since then, Chestnut has gone on to win 10 of the last 11 contests, with Matt “Megatoad” Stonie earning the lone other victory in 2015.
Chestnut will be looking to claim his third straight title and 11th overall on Wednesday in New York. If you didn’t think you could actually wager on who will win the hot dog eating contest, you must not know America all that well. Chestnut will enter the contest as a massive favorite, with experts suggesting that as much as $1 million may be on the line in favor of the 34-year-old.
Chestnut is listed as a -700 favorite to win the 10-minute contest that has existed since 1972. The contest has gained major traction from a betting perspective in the United States and in the Caribbean over the years. There is interest in the Caribbean because that is where most offshore betting operations take place.
You aren’t even allowed to bet on the contest in Nevada or in any of the other states that recently legalized and began regulating sports wagering. Betting on the contest requires approval from gaming control, and no sportsbooks in Nevada or anywhere else have ever made the request in the first place. As such, lines aren’t offered in American land-based casinos.
This is no small operation, either. According to ESPN, a manager at BetOnline said that the amount wagered on the hot dog eating contest in recent years is comparable to the amount people wager on how long the pregame national anthem will last at the Super Bowl.
Scott Kaminsky, a bookmaker at the Jamaican book TheGreek.com, told ESPN that he has been taking wagers on the contest for about a decade now. He said, “The handle is fair. The problem lately has been Chestnut being such a big favorite, it kills some of the action.”
Chestnut set a new record for most hot dogs eaten at the contest with 70 back in 2016. He broke that record by gobbling down 71 last summer. As of now, the line for most hot dogs expected to be eaten by the 2018 winner is set at 70.5. Chestnut also holds the overall world record for most hot dogs (and buns) eaten in a span of 10 minutes, with 73.5. He set that mark during a qualifying event in 2016. Imagine going through something that physically strenuous just to qualify for an event.
Other contenders for Chestnut’s title are Carmen Cincotti (+450) and Matt Stonie (+750). The field is priced at +700. The 2018 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place at 12pm on Wednesday, July 4. You can catch all the action on ESPN 2.
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