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Let’s handicap the 2020 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Can anyone come within a mile of the two GOAT’s of competitive eating? The oddsmakers don’t think so. But can they break some world records? There’s some value to be found possibly

It started as a lark, and now it’s as much a 4th of July tradition as parades, barbecues, and that weird event where the government blows up fireworks in front of the Washington Monument and injure crash test dummies on purpose.

And this year you’ll be able to wager on it in certain places thanks to a change in regulations by some states. Yup, it’s time to get action down on the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

It allegedly started earlier, but the first recorded contest was in 1972 at Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and has been held on Coney Island every year ever since in front of tens of thousands of New Yorkers that love to scream things at the contestants. We’ll venture to say a few dollars have been exchanged in the parking lot on the event in the past between friends, or at least the outcome determined who was buying lunch that day.

But now we’ve got official lines and over/unders. And is there anything more American than betting on this?

Joey Chestnut is the overwhelming favorite yet again, as the Babe Ruth of this event, having won 12 of the last 13 mustard belts available. He holds world records in 43 different foods according to his website, and the San Jose State grad has been the dominant force on the scene since coming in as a 21-year-old and shocking the previous GOAT Takeru Kobayashi.

The women’s event started in 2011, and has only been won by two contestants: The first three by Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, and the last six by Miki Sudo of Las Vegas. Sudo is ready to go yet again.

Normally there’s 15-20 competitors, but due to social distancing requirements we’ll only see five eaters for the men and women this Saturday at an “undisclosed location.” With the usual 10 minutes allotted, and with air conditioning available instead of the usual brutal Brooklyn peak summertime temperatures, some records could fall tomorrow.

Chestnut holds the men’s record with 74 in 2018, equivalent to about 16 pounds and 10,000 calories in 10 minutes. Thomas has the women’s record of 45 which she set in 2012.

2015 champ Matt Stonie, the last man to beat Chestnut, won’t be able to participate it as he resides in California, and travel from there to New York is currently restricted.

But for the first time, you’ll be able to bet on this in the USA as New Jersey, Colorado, and New Hampshire have legalized wagering on the event run by Major League Eating.

Here are the numbers so far at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Competition winner

Joey Chestnut: -1000
Any Other Participant: +550

Miki Sudo: -835
Any Other Participant: +500

Over/unders for Joey Chestnut

Over 72.5: -162
Under 72.5: +125

Over 74.5: +140
Under 74.5: -182
(World Record is 74)

Over/unders for Miki Sudo

Over 40.5 -150
Under 40.5 +115

The last four years Chestnut has gone for 70, 72, 74, and 71 hot dogs, and the huge price difference between 73 eaten and the would-be world record of 75 reflects how hard this might be to complete. But Chestnut thinks he can get to 77 if he’s in rhythm.

Sudo has done 38.5, 41, 37, and only 31 last year, and her boyfriend Nick Wehry will compete in the men’s event as a last-minute replacement. But Sudo might be ahead of where you’d think in a controlled environment: she polished off FIFTY a few days ago in training.

It would be nice to see how the contestants can react when they’re solely focused on just eating instead of the elements, but also not having throngs of New Yorkers cheering them on as well. If the early returns for Sudo translate to the men’s side as well, we could be looking at some records being shattered.

We’re going over on both athletes, and if a line drops where Sudo can break Thomas’s world record, we’ll be on that as well. It’s the difference between running on a brutal summer day with people yelling at you, or on a treadmill at the gym. The controlled environment of the 2020 contest should offer plenty of value here.

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