2012 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest: Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 7/2/2012
As a Canadian I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July, but a lot of what you all do down there to celebrate — barbecues, parties, fireworks and fun — sounds great to me. In fact, this week I’ll be jealous as you do that while I sit in my office and work like any Wednesday.
There is one tradition that is, frankly, more than a little bit disgusting. It’s likely not a great idea to eat more than a couple of hot dogs in one sitting — never mind eating 68 in 10 minutes like Joey Chestnut did to win the 2009 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Absolutely disgusting.
The event will take place again on July 4 this year, and will be seen by the 40,000 in attendance and the millions who watch on ESPN. I won’t be one of those watching, but you can bet on it so I won’t ignore it entirely — anything you can bet on has at least some redeeming features.
Joey Chestnut is the five-time defending champion, and he will be back to make it six straight this year. That would tie him with arch rival Takeru Kobayashi. The Japanese super eater will miss the contest again this year as he has the past few years because of contract squabbles with the organizers of Major League Eating. Eating disgusting amounts of food is, as it turns out, serious business.
We’ll look at the odds and props that Bovada has to offer in a moment, but before we do we need to understand just how ridiculously freakish these guys are. Before Kobayashi and Chestnut came on the scene the record, set in 2000, was 25 hot dogs eaten. The next year Kobayashi ate 50. He never won with fewer than 44.5 eaten. Chestnut, a 28 year old from California who holds seven world records including 9.8 pounds of pork rib meat in 12 minutes and more than nine pounds of asparagus in one sitting, has never eaten fewer than 54, and has eclipsed 60 with three of his five wins. These guys make me ill, but they have really redefined their sport — or whatever you want to call this human freak show:
Odds to win
With Kobayashi still at odds with the event — he was arrested two years ago while protesting outside the event, and last year he held his own hot dog eating contest next door to the official event — it is clearly a one-man show. Chestnut is installed as the favorite at -800, while the entire rest of the field sits at +500. I’m not going to bet against a guy who has dominated the event, and who can eat as many as 6.8 hot dogs per minute.
Total hot dogs eaten by Chestnut
The total here is set at 62.5, and there is no preference between the “over” and “under” — both are at -120. At first glance he has eaten 62 or more three times in five wins, so the over seems like a good bet. In his first win, though, his 66 hot dogs were consumed in 12 minutes. It was only the next year that they reduced the time limit to 10 minutes. That means that in four tries at 10 minutes he has only gone over this total once, and he has gone under the last two years. On top of that, the incentive to really go crazy isn’t high since he doesn’t face serious competition and he already holds the world record. I’d take the under.
Total hot dogs eaten by Pat ‘Deep Dish’ Bertoletti
The total here is at 53.5. Bertoletti is the biggest threat to Chestnut. He’s also a real winner — according to his bio when he isn’t competing in eating contests he like to collect rubber bands to add to his rubber band ball. You could not make this stuff up. He holds 24 world records — the most disgusting of which is that he ate 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes. He was third in 2010 with 37 hot dogs and second last year with 53. He has been on an upward trajectory for sure. I am not privy to his training regimens, and frankly I wouldn’t want to know, but it seems possible that he could go over. If I took the over here I’d probably take the over on Chestnut as well since the smacking of Deep Dish’ jaws could chase Joey to great heights.
Total hot dogs eaten by Sonya Thomas
Thomas, who is known as the “Black Widow” or the “Leader of the Four Horsemen of the Esophagus,” won the inaugural women’s event last year with 40 hot dogs eaten. She also holds a wide range of records, including eating 44 lobsters in 12 minutes and 11 pounds of cheesecake in nine minutes. Just typing that makes me feel sick. The total here is set at 40.5, and the over is favored at -130. Any woman who has eaten 46 dozen oysters in 10 minutes can obviously eat, so I’m not going to pick against her. The over it is.
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