On Independence Day weekend last year, there were NBA Playoffs and MLB, MLS, WNBA and NWSL regular-season events for New Jerseyians to bet on.

This year, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest may get some of that action.

While the NWSL will have matches on July 4, there is little other North American action to wager upon. Thanks to DraftKings Sportsbook, however, the unique nature of 2020 has somewhat of an amusing side.

Hot dog eating contest odds to fill the void

On Wednesday, DraftKings announced it had reached a deal with Major League Eating to become an official sponsor.

As a result, there are two ways DraftKings app users can get in on the fun in New Jersey.

Both ways center on Saturday’s annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. This year, ESPN will broadcast the contest from a closed location, and MLE has installed other safety precautions for participants.

DraftKings is offering a free-to-play pool contest for all users. That game comes with $25,000 in prizes.

New Jerseyians are fortunate to be in one of only three states in which DraftKings will offer betting markets on the contest as well. Currently, DraftKings is the only NJ sports betting app with such lines.

The app has two markets set on both the men’s and women’s events.

There is a prop that pits last year’s champions against the field and a totals market on the number of hot dogs those favorites will eat.

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The lines on Nathan’s at DraftKings

In the men’s contest, Joey Chestnut is seeking his 13th Nathan’s title. DraftKings has him as a -1250 favorite, with the odds on the field resting at +650.

Over on the women’s side, Miki Sudo will try to make it seven Nathan’s wins in a row. She is -835 against the field, which has +500 odds.

DraftKings sets the over/under on hot dogs eaten for Chestnut at 72.5, which is just shy of his Nathan’s record of 74. The odds reflect that record, as the over sits at -137 and the under at +105.

The sportsbook is less optimistic about Sudo’s consumption on Saturday. The line on hot dogs eaten for Sudo is 40.5.

In 2018, she hit a career-high of 41, so hitting the over would at least tie her personal best. DraftKings, accordingly, has her -143 to do that while pegging the under at +110.

Gathering information is just as key to handicapping these markets as any other. MLE has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, too.

What to know before you wager

Under normal circumstances, competitive eaters on the MLE circuit would be hitting their midseason strides.

The spread of coronavirus has resulted in the cancellation of many MLE events this year, however.

Additionally, there’s a lack of fans to consider. Normally, Chestnut, Sudo and others would be performing to a raucous crowd on Coney Island in New York.

Just like in any other contest, the roar of the crowd can provide motivation. It remains to be seen how the competitors will handle any rust and the comparative silence on Saturday.

Regardless of the outcomes, the fact that the contest is happening and that New Jerseyians can wager on the event this year offers some sense of normalcy.

If Chestnut and Sudo retain their titles, it will be business as usual indeed.

Derek Helling

About

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. In addition to gaming news, he covers esports, sports business and sports law. When he isn’t working, he spends his time collecting basketball cards and helping his wife Audrey serve their two Munchkin cat overlords.