Hot Dog contest was a good bet

The Fourth of July weekend brought hot and humid weather to the East Coast, but last Saturday two champions dominated their sport in the cozy confines of an air-conditioned, social distancing setup.

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest moved from the crazy corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, New York to an indoor facility for the first time ever. But the results were the same for the fifth consecutive year as Americans Joey Chestnut captured the men’s title and Miki Sudo took home the women’s crown.

Chestnut consumed 75 hot dogs, a new world record, for his 13th title overall and Sudo ate 48 ½ hot dogs, also a new world record, for her seventh straight and overall trophy.

The annual summer tradition has also kick-started a new betting phenomenon within the sports gambling world and it showed this year with the lack of major sporting events on the calendar.

Two days prior to the event, FanDuel listed Chestnut (-1000) and Sudo (-800) as heavy favorites to defend their titles.

The over/under on the amount of hot dogs eaten were 72.5 (-115) on the men’s side and 40.5 (-130) on the women’s side and both easily went over for their sides.

“The Nathan’s contest was the top single event in Colorado and in terms of bets, the majority was on the over,” said Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s director of publicity. “Joey Chestnut versus the field was the largest bet at $600 on vs. the field at -1000. The largest bet on total hotdogs eaten was $287.50 on the over 72.5. The majority of the bets taken on this market have been on the overs.”

FanDuel had offered bets in Colorado only, not New Jersey. Draft­Kings, an official partner of the contest, had offered wagering option in the Garden State.

Less betting options

According to various reports, The National Football League and its Players Association last week reduced the number of preseason games played this year from four to two due to the coronavirus crisis.

If approved, sports bettors will see an elimination of two weeks off its football betting calendar prior to the start of the NFL regular season.

“Preseason football is comparable to a love/hate relationship for sportsbooks,” said Patrick Eichner, director of communications for PointsBet USA. “The best part about it is the fact that the NFL is back and the regular season is right around the corner, while the negatives largely surround the management of preseason games.

“For example, the preseason is always packed with steady news of injuries, roster changes, etc., constantly shifting the landscape for all teams from game to game. For that reason, operators often see some of their sharpest bettors feast during NFL preseason given the constant value left hanging on the board.”

The reported details: Weeks 1 and 4 of its original preseason schedule have been canceled. Most players will still report to training camps on Tuesday, July 28, but the first preseason games won’t be played until August 20-24. The second week of preseason games is scheduled for Aug. 27-31. Each team will play one home game and one on the road.

“Preseason football also doesn’t attract anywhere near the numbers that a regular season NFL game does,” said Eichner. “ For example, all five weeks of last year’s preseason accounted for less than half the handle we saw in Week 1. Considering that, plus the fact that the NBA, NHL and MLB should overlap, operators aren’t too concerned over missing two preseason NFL games.

“If regular season games start coming off the board, that’ll be a different story.” 

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