Sports Betting On Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest A Hit In Colorado

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When Joey Chestnut set a world record for hot dogs consumed at last Saturday’s Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the 13-time world champion credited the odd setup of this year’s event for eclipsing his previous record.

For the first time, legal U.S. sportsbooks took wagers for the competitive eating contest held each year on the Fourth of July in Coney Island, New York. With a truncated field due to the effects of COVID-19, Nathan’s chefs prepared far fewer hot dogs than in a typical year, Chestnut said after finishing with an all-time record of 75. As a result, Nathan’s cooked the hot dogs roughly 10 minutes before the start of the contest, he told ESPN. For whatever reason, the freshly cooked dogs were easier to swallow than in most years, Chestnut indicated.

On the nation’s birthday, Colorado was one of three states to allow sports betting lines on the event. At FanDuel Sportsbook, wagering on the contest represented the top single event in Colorado on the Fourth, FanDuel Director of Publicity Kevin Hennessy told COBets.

Chalky results

From the outset, it was apparent that Chestnut would crush the field, providing an easy winner for his backers in Colorado. Chestnut downed 12 hot dogs over the first minute, followed by 11 dogs and buns in the next minute to take a commanding eight-dog lead over Darron Breeden. Chestnut consumed nine more over the third minute, maintaining a blistering 10-dog-a-minute pace.

At least four Colorado books — DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Circa Sports, and FOX Bet — accepted wagers on the contest. One bettor at DraftKings placed an $11,304 wager that Chestnut would defend his title, resulting in a net payout of $904. Although the Colorado Division of Sports Betting listed the contest in its sports betting catalog, operators were not required to inform regulators of whether they actually offered lines on the event, said Meghan Tanis, acting communications director at the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Chestnut finished his 50th dog at the 5:30 mark, maintaining a world record pace in the 10-minute contest. Circa Sports, which listed Chestnut as a minus-1800 favorite against the field, increased his total by 0.5 dogs to 73.5 after taking a good amount action on the over. FOX Bet, meanwhile, listed Chestnut as a prohibitive minus-1000 favorite.

DraftKings, which became an official partner of the contest through a deal with Major League Eating, also offered a $25,000 free-to-play pool to mark the occasion. Here is a sampling of some of the props offered in the free contest:

  • Will Joey Chestnut win?
  • Who will finish second?
  • Total hot dogs eaten by Joey Chestnut in the first minute?
  • How many hot dogs will the men’s division winner eat? Over/Under 72.5?
  • Will anyone eat 80 or more hot dogs?

The 80-hot dog threshold

For awhile, it looked as if Chestnut would shatter the 80-dog barrier. With 2:30 left, Chestnut reached 60 hot dogs, while distancing himself from the field by a large margin. Chestnut previously set the record in 2018 by devouring 74 on a brutally hot afternoon in Coney Island.

“He will need a Shanahan-type effort to lose now,” an ESPN announcer remarked, in reference to the coach’s inability to close out opponents in the Super Bowl.

Chestnut finished his 74th hot dog in the final 10 seconds, then shoveled one final dog down his throat just under the wire to clinch the record. He handily defeated Breeden by 33 hot dogs, as well as third-place finisher Nick Wehry, who consumed 39.5.

Impressive performance on the women’s side

Prior to the men’s competition, Miki Sudo notched her seventh straight victory with a dominating performance in the women’s event. Sudo, a heavy minus-800 favorite at FOX Bet, finished with 48.5 hot dogs to set a new women’s record. Sudo consumed 30.5 more hot dogs than second-place finisher Larell Marie Mele.

With the majority of professional sports still on hiatus, the contest filled a void for the sportsbooks on the holiday.

Sportsbook operators in two other states, New Jersey and New Hampshire, also took wagers on the contest.

Matt is a veteran writer with a specific focus on the emerging sports gambling market. During Matt's two decade career in journalism, he has written for the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Reuters and CBSSports.com among others. In his spare time, Matt is an avid reader, a weekend tennis player and a frequent embarrassment to the sport of running.

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