The Fourth of July means cookouts, fireworks (more of a nightly occurrence these days), and cold beer. If your gambling addiction is strong enough, it also means your significant other screaming “Turn this shit off! This is disgusting!” as you feverishly shout at the TV because you have action on the greatest of all American traditions, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
While the contest usually takes place on Coney Island in front of throngs of drunken screaming masses, this year’s contest will take place in an air-conditioned warehouse, closed to the public. There will be fewer competitors than normal, and they’ll be socially distanced from each other. Reigning champion Joey Chestnut, unquestionably the Lebron of tubesteaks, thinks he can set an another world record given the conditions.
That record is 74, set two years ago. Whether a new record is set or not, there are spots to be played in this year’s contest.
Eric Booker Total Dogs Eaten
Over 20.5 -110
One eater likely to benefit from the favorable indoor conditions is Eric “Badlands” Booker, the 400-pound behemoth from Queens. Booker has 2 million YouTube subscribers to his competitive eating channel, and is entering his third decade as a staple of competitive eating. He holds the world records for donuts, matzo balls, and green peas. His personal best in the contest is 26, yet under more favorable eating conditions, books only expect him to eat 20, which is a mere 2 dogs per minute? Nah. Line is too low. Over on Bookie-buster Booker.
Women’s Winner Total Dogs Eaten
Under 40.5 +160
If Joey Chestnut is the Lebron of hot dogs, Miki Sudo is Diana Taurasi. If Sudo wins this year (and she’s a -1500 favorite to do so), she’ll have won for seven consecutive years. While she’s a legendary athlete without question, this line is too high. Miki only ate 31 dogs last year! The prior year she ate 37. Also, competitive eating is a sport that relies heavily on pace. Part of why Sudo only ate 31 last year was the arguably-weak field around her. She built an early lead, and after a couple minutes knew the world record (45) was out of reach, so she coasted the last couple minutes.
Well, the field is even weaker this year. A couple eaters from last year’s women’s field are taking the year off, and Juliet Lee, who came in third, died. Expect Sudo to win in an absolute walk (she’s not a bad bet on spreads if you can find them available anywhere), but she could exceed last year’s total by nine dogs due to favorable conditions and still cash this under. Even if 40.5 is a fair number for the conditions, the chalk is all wrong, and it should be maybe a pick. +160 is a gift.
Will both the men’s and women’s records be broken?
YES +350 (BetOnline)
This parlay disguised as a prop is a pure play on favorable eating conditions. If Miki Sudo screws the under bet listed above, it’s going to be because the conditions inside the air-conditioned and silent warehouse are favorable. At that point, Sudo getting to 46 is definitely in play, and there’s reason to believe the conditions would transfer to the men’s competition as well. Chestnut will be competing against himself, as he set the current record of 74. He’s gone over 70 each of the past four years. 75 is definitely within reach.
Joey Chestnut Exact Number Of Dogs Eaten
64 or fewer +2500
This is a long-shot fade on the Favorable Conditions thesis. Sure, Chestnut is talking a big game about a new world record, but what do you expect him to say? The fact is we have no idea how these new conditions will effect any eater, Chestnut included. Add to this the fact that Chestnut has won before while regressing from the prior year’s total. This happened as recently as last year (Jaws ate 71 after setting the current record of 74 in 2018).
Then there’s the weaker field. Matt Stonie is taking the year off due to New York’s quarantine requirements, and he’s the most recent eater to defeat Chestnut, in 2015. His most fearsome competition this year will likely be Darron Breeden, whose line is set at 50.5. This means Jaws could jump out to an early lead and coast. 64 hot dogs could definitely take the title, it was good enough to do so 4 times in the last decade.
If betting these exact numbers puts in your mind a nightmare scenario where you’re screaming at the TV on Independence Day because Jaws ate exactly 67, BetOnline also has 67-68 at +950, and there’s some value there, but I like the contrarian play and big payouts of 1-66.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, arguably the most American sport ever devised, will air at Noon on ESPN on July 4. May a number of dogs be eaten that results in The Dogs You Bet cashing tickets.