Yes, it’s that time again. Time to celebrate America with some fireworks, apple pie, and copious amounts of hot dogs.
With the Fourth of July approaching, it’s time to check out the betting board for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. It’s no surprise who the favorite is, but don’t let that scare you away. There’s money to be made here.
If you’re new to the competitive eating game, you should understand the rules and some history.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest supposedly got its start back in 1916 though no evidence of it exists. There was a legend that a contest was held at Coney Island that year to see who was more patriotic. The winner was decided by who ate the most hot dogs. Hmmm.
Joey Chestnut eats 71 hot dogs to win Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for 12th time | ESPN | 2019
Anyway, the contest as we know it today dates back to the early 1970s. It’s held every year on July 4 on Coney Island. Contestants have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs - bun included - as they can. They must keep them down too. There are separate men’s and women’s competitions.
There is no question who will win this year’s men’s competition. Joey Chestnut, all 6-foot-1-inch and 230 pounds of him, has won 12 of the last 13 events. Chestnut is a -900 favorite to win in 2020.
He has won the last four straight and his only loss in the past 13 years came in 2015 to Matt Stonie. Consider it a fluke.
Since the loss, Chestnut has recorded the four highest hot dog eating totals in Nathan’s history. In the past four years, Chestnut has eaten 70, 72, 74, and 71 delicious wieners.
On the women’s side, Miko Sudo has dominated the competition over the latter part of the last decade. Sudo has won the last six contests in a row, winning last year with her lowest total of dogs ever, 31.
Sudo is a -650 favorite to capture a seventh straight Mustard Belt (yes, the winner gets the very stylish Mustard Belt).
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Best Bets
With Chestnut and Sudo virtual locks to win their respective competitions, the better question is how many hot dogs will each consume?
As stated, Chestnut has hit at least 70 in each of the past four years. He set the world record of 74 in 2018.
Sudo hit 41 in 2017, but just 31 last year. With these numbers in mind, betting the Totals is where you can find some betting value.
Here’s what makes the 2020 contest interesting. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s competition will be held without spectators in an indoor arena. Said indoor arena is air-conditioned, which is a huge advantage for the contestants.
AC = OVERS
In a normal year, the event is held outside in the sweltering summer heat on Coney Island. Instead, competitors will be a bit more comfortable as they attack the hot dogs this year.
Keeping the venue in mind, it is entirely possible that Chestnut and Sudo get extremely close to or even surpass their world records. Chestnut has been hot since last year’s event too. He has won eight straight Major League Eating contests.
The Total is 72.5 for the men and the Over is priced at -150. Chestnut has only gone over 72.5 once. That was his world record of 74 in 2018. Minus the heat this year, Coach Rick likes the Over the Men’s total, even at minus money at online sportsbooks.
Sudo has totaled 37 and 31 the past two years. Sudo beat Michelle Lesco by just 4.5 dogs last year. With Lesco, with whom Sudo trains, hot on her heels and the ideal indoor conditions, Sudo has a great chance to eclipse her career high of 41.
Regardless of whether she hits that or not, Coach loves the Woman’s Over of 37.5 priced at +110 in the women’s competition.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.