Every Independence Day, special competitors travel to Coney Island in New York to participate in an annual hot dog eating competition sponsored by Nathan’s Famous Corporation. Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming event so you can get ready to make your bets against their Hot Dog Eating Contest odds.
Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest History and Betting Analysis
The origin of the contest is unclear, although it is rumored to have been right outside Nathan’s original stand on July 4, 1914, when four men held an impromptu eating competition to determine which of them was the most patriotic. The tradition has survived the test of time and has been held most years since 1972 in conjunction with the famous American holiday.
The annual hot dog eating fest gained popularity during the reign of Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi, who was the first supremely dominant champion of the sport. Kobayashi captured six titles in the early 2000s until he was pitted against challenge Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who went on to win eight consecutive titles until being defeated by Matt Stonie in 2015; Chestnut has since reclaimed his throne and won every year, setting a world record by eating 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
As of 2011, the competition has been split into male and female divisions; the inaugural winner on the women’s side was Sonya Thomas, who scarfed down 40 hot dogs in the allotted time.
The annual competition is governed by Major League Eating and allows roughly 20 entrants per year. Competitors can gain access through winning regional qualifying events, getting in as a wildcard (determined by average scores at other competitions), and special invitations by the MLE. The resigning champion also receives an automatic qualification.
Participants are allowed to use condiments, although they rarely do— instead, eaters usually dunk their dogs in cups of water or other beverages to soften the food and help it go down easier.
Yellow penalty cards are given to those charged with “messy eating,” and red penalty cards are used to signal disqualification for those whose stomachs cannot hold the food down.
Ties are settled through a five-dog speed-eating round, and competitors will advance to sudden death if a winner has still not been determined.
MyBookie has set the over/under for the overwhelming favorite, Joey Chestnut, at 73.5 hot dogs, 1.5 off of his world record. There are -130 odds on the over and -110 on the under, meaning that the oddsmakers think he has a chance to set another all-time mark this year.
Chestnut has been given ridiculous -5000 odds to win the event compared to +1000 for the field. Notably, the man who defeated him in 2015, Matt Stonie, will be competing; his over/under has been set at 44.5 following a drop in performance since he beat Chestnut with 62 dogs.
Nathan’s annual hot dog eating competition has become one of the best parts of Independence Day and is a fan-favorite for the jaw-dropping, logic-defying moments that it has brought.
Whether Chestnut continues to grow his legacy as the greatest competitive eater of all time, or a new challenger arises, you do not want to miss out when the competitors take the stage this Sunday.