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Competitive Eating — A look at the “menu” for the 2022 Nathan’s Hot Dog contest

2022 Nathan'S Hot Dog Eating Contest

Can Chestnut Keep Breaking Records in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

By Charles Jay

It has become a pop culture ritual. They gather at Coney Island every Fourth of July for the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. It gets bigger and bigger each year. The big question is, When is Joey Chestnut going to get upset?

The problem is that it hasn’t been all that much of a “contest” in recent years. Other than a hiccup suffered in 2015, Joey Chestnut has won the event every year for the last fifteen. And BetOnline customers who follow the event are well aware of his dominance.

Is there anyone to challenge him? And what else is on tap for this spectacle that takes place at high noon? We’ll take a look.

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Here are the numbers…..

As you can see, Chestnut is the prohibitive favorite as listed at BetOnline:

Joey Chestnut -3500
Geoffrey Esper  +1000
Nick Wehry  +1600
Gideon Oji  +2800

No, that doesn’t look very competitive. Last year, Chestnut downed 76 hot dogs in ten minutes, which beat his all-time record of 75 set in 2020.

The “Barry Bonds” of hot dogs?

We’re not sure how to label Chestnut. The “Babe Ruth” of this competition was Takeru Kobayashi, who won six straight titles from 2001-06. Since then, Chestnut has only lost in 2015 to Matt Stonie, who is not in the contest this year.

Kobayashi did not retire, but he refused to sign an exclusive deal with Major League Eating, the promoters of most competitive eating events (we kid you not), so he was more or less banned from this event for life.

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Is anyone else a threat?

Matthew Esper reached the 50 mark last year, but that was so far behind that he can’t really be taken seriously as a challenger. There is an over-under on him today (52.5 dogs), which might be worth investigating. These guys get better and better every year, as they chase Chestnut, who carries an over-under of 74.5 hot dogs (115 either way at BetOnline),which means that if he sets a new record, you win.

Qualifying for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest isn’t easy

They’ve got things set up almost like a golf tournament here as far as qualification is concerned. You can’t just walk in  off the street and compete. This event, which is televised by ESPN and got almost two million live viewers in 2011, invites only the defending champion, those who survive regional qualifiers, some wildcard entries, and certain special invitees, which we suppose are the rough equivalent of sponsor exemptions.

The women are “heavily” involved too in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

The interest surrounding the women’s part of this competition involves whether the “queen” will re-assume her crown.

There was a time when the women competed alongside the men. But now they are in a separate event. The reigning champion is Michelle Lesco, who won the “Pink Belt” with 30-3/4 dogs last year. But Lesco’s place has more often been as a bridesmaid, rather than a bride; she was second three times before, and the reason (in the opinion of many) that she won last year is that Miki Sudo had to sit the event out because she was expecting a child (with fellow competitive eater Nick Wehry).

Sudo holds the world record with 48.5 dogs, which would have been good enough to win this for many years on the MEN’S side. She has won seven titles overall. And she is -3000 to win on Monday (Lesco is +1000). Sudo’s over-under is 44.5 hot dogs.

Watch the technique

What many of these competitors do is to dip the hot dogs in water before eating, and in that process they may eat the bun and dog separately. Joey Chestnut consumed approximately 21,750 calories in his title run last year.

Keep that in mind, and maybe you’ll hope none of them loses their lunch. That is known as a “reversal of fortune,” and it will get them disqualified.

Bet the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and many other strange and interesting events, at BetOnline, where it’s easy to sign up with just about any cryptocurrency in the world!

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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