It seems you can bet on everything. If you hurry, you can bet on Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, broadcast on the Fourth of July at noon Eastern by ESPN. After all, what's more American than a hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July on Coney Island? A contest that's been held on the nation's birthday since 1916? Why gambling, of course.
Takeru Kobayashi has won Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest five years in a row. He's the favorite to win again.
It may seem odd that a 140-pound Japanese man is winning the All-American event. It's not so surprising though when you learn that the hot dog contest is one of several "competitive eating" events. There's an International Federation of Competitive Eating and Kobayashi is one of its biggest stars — if not the biggest star — holding records for not only hot dog eating (53 1/2 in 12 minutes) but also for eating hamburgers (69 in 8 minutes), rice balls (20 lbs in 30 minutes) and, believe it or not, cow brains (don't ask).
His dominance at the Hot Dog Eating Contest has been overwhelming:
In the past four years he has won the Nathan's Contest by an average margin of 18.3 hot dogs, breaking the world record on three of those occasions. And nobody has ever come close to breaking his record of 53 and 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
Providing enough competition to turn this into a betting event is Joey Chestnut, who ate 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes in the qualifying round. Kobayashi is 1-4 and Chestnut is 4-1. Let the game begin!
UPDATE: Kobayashi won, setting a new record of 53 3/4. Chestnut, who led for long stretches, came in second with 52.