Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest: Joey Chestnut Is Back, and He’s Hungry

Jason Lake

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 12:39 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017 12:39 PM UTC

Joey Chestnut shocked the world when he regained his title at last year’s 4th Of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Now Chestnut is the heavy betting favorite to hang onto his meaty crown.

I’ve seen some crazy things in my life, but here’s something I thought I’d never see: Joey Chestnut coming back to win the 4th of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. There aren’t supposed to be any comebacks in competitive eating. But after getting chewed up by Matt “Megatoad” Stonie (+500) at the 2015 event, Chestnut went on a mission, and he set the contest record last year by consuming 70 hot dogs – bun included – in just 10 minutes.

If only I had done some more research. Chestnut was even money to win last year’s contest when we checked in, so I thought Stonie was an easy value pick. Little did I know that Chestnut had set the overall record of 73 franks days earlier at the Giant National Capital BBQ Battle in Washington, D.C. By the time July 4 rolled around, Chestnut was the -155 favorite on the sports odds board at Bovada. Whoops.

Matter-Eater Lad

At least Miki Sudo (-350 at the close) managed to defend her women’s title after scarfing down 38.5 hot dogs, a half-dog better than her 2015 total. But as we go to press, I’m only seeing odds for the men in this year’s contest. Does Chestnut belong in our sports picks at -400 over at BetOnline? Or is there someone in the field (+300) who’s got the intestinal fortitude to dethrone the champ?

Let’s do some of that research. They’ve been running qualifiers for this contest since mid-March, and Stonie is still out there on the Major League Eating circuit; he set a world record in late May by downing 87 Æbleskivers (Danish pancake puffs) in eight minutes. Yum! Not to be outdone, Chestnut ate a record 55 doughnuts in eight minutes the following week, then set another record with 25-1/4 ice cream sandwiches in the same time frame.

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Congratulations to @joeyjaws on winning The Baked Bear World Ice Cream Sandwich Eating Contest! 🏅

— Petco Park (@PetcoPark) June 4, 2017

There’s at least one more eater to watch out for: Geoffrey Esper, who set a record of his own back in May by devouring 36 pepperoni rolls in 10 minutes. The field seems like a decent value pick in this situation, but I’m not finding much in the way of head-to-head hot dog results, so we’re inclined to punt here at the home office and recommend 'under' 70.5 dogs (–225) for Chestnut this July 4. Why? Regression to the meat, of course.

Free Engorging Pick: 'Under' 70.5 (-225)Best Line Offered: BetOnline
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