The thoughts of flags, fireworks, and HDB must mean that the Fourth of July is coming up fast. HDB, of course, stands for ‘hot dogs and buns,’ which is the staple event celebrating our freedom – Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.
Move over Uncle Sam because the new king of the Fourth of July is Joey Chestnut, who aims for his seventh straight and 15th hot dog eating contest win overall. Chestnut ate 76 hot dogs a year ago, but can anybody in the updated Nathan’s famous odds take down the GOAT of the HDB?
Is Chestnut Invincible?
The 14X winner of the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, as the 38-year-old broke his old record – yet again – by downing 76 hot dogs to win the 2021 event. That broke his 2020 record by one dog.
Oddsmakers are struggling to find Joey Chestnut odds to offer since he has been so good in the past. 2021 runner-up Geoffrey Esper finished the contest eating 50 hot dogs, 26 less than Chestnut.
Instead, what sportsbooks have done is decide that the only person that can beat Joey Chestnut is, in fact, Joey Chestnut. Therefore the bets offered look more like “will Joey Chestnut beat his personal record?” or “Joey Chestnut over or under 11-½ hot dogs eaten in the first minute.”
Chestnut is expected to cruise to a victory, so much so in fact that he’s a -5000 underdog to be the winner with ‘the field’ listed at +1500. A $10 bet on anybody but Chestnut to win would return $150 – but is that still just wasted money?
Chestnut Has Lost This Before
Chestnut cemented his legacy with a 2007 upset of 6X champion Kobayashi, and there has been only one hiccup (pun) since then in a 2015 loss to Matt Stonie. Stonie won that event 62 HDB to 60 in a performance that felt like it needed Al Michaels in the background yelling, “do you believe in miracles.”
Chestnut has varied his consumption over the years, so an upset isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility. He ‘only’ ate 59 in 2008, for example, and had a mere 54 hot dogs to win this contest in 2010.
What makes Chestnut such a dominant favorite lately, though, is that he has taken his eating game to new levels in recent years, eating 70+ hot dogs in this contest every year since 2016.
Who is The Heir Apparent?
Just like Tiger Woods has inspired a generation of talented young golfers, one would think Chestnut growing the popularity of competitive eating would only lead to a new rival ascending at one point.
Stonie is still ranked #4 in the Major League Eating rankings, and the Boy king could just be entering his prime at 30 years old, about the same age Chestnut went on his 70+ HDB run. He is the bacon strips, birthday cake, and Peeps Easter candy record holder, among others, so this guy can chow on a variety of flavors.
Darron Breeden has climbed to #3 in the competitive eating rankings and is a two-time runner-up at Coney Island, losing both times to Chestnut, obviously. Breeden already has a cheese curd as well as milk and cookies world record to his name.
Esper went toe-to-toe with Chestnut for a bit last year before ultimately falling off the pace and losing by 26 hot dogs. The 47-year-old is the #2 competitive eaters in the world and holds 14 food records, including pretzels, tamales, donut holes, and SPAM. Does Esper pull a Matthew Stafford and finally get his title?
Ultimately most of the betting action for the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest will be on Chestnut. Oddsmakers aren’t expecting him to break the elusive 80-dog mark (Yes +850, No -2500) or even to beat his 76 hot dog record (Yes +170, No -250), so maybe that will open up the door to a new champ?
Who are we kidding? Probably not.