Bad Beat for Hot Dog Contest Bettors? You Be the Judge.



  • Joey Chestnut won his 11th Hot Dog Eating Contest on Wednesday. The live counter had him at 64 hot dogs and buns (HDBs).
  • Chestnut claimed to eat 74 in his postgame interview.  Major League Eating confirmed 74 to be the correct figure, a new world record.

I’ll admit it: I bet on Wednesday’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

And I certainly wasn’t alone. ESPN’s David Purdum reported on Tuesday that offshore sportsbooks would take more than $1 million in action on the hallowed July 4 event.

So this isn’t all fun and wieners. It’s serious business, which makes the following sequence of events all the more interesting:

-When time expired in the 10-minute gorge-fest, the live counter had Joey Chestnut’s HDBs at 64. ESPN’s scoreboard reflected the same (see the picture up top).

-Minutes later, in Chestnut’s postgame chat with ESPN, he claimed the counter had his total wrong and that he really ate 74 dogs, which would be a new world record and 10 more than the judges recorded live.

Important detail: Chestnut’s HBD over/under closed at 72.5.

Let’s continue …

– Major League Eating (MLE) confirmed 74 to be Chestnut’s “true” total.

Just like that, Chestnut doubters (aka under bettors) went from thinking they had a winner (wiener?) to questioning everything in life. (Can you tell which side I was on?)

And it wasn’t just Chestnut’s total that was off. Carmen Cincotti’s HDB went from 45 as time expired to 63, according to MLE.

A reminder: More than $1 million was wagered on this event.

So that swing from 45 to 63 is a wee bit important for bettors and oddsmakers alike.

All of which brings us back to the live (human) counters. How could they be off by so much? Are the official results actually correct? We’ll never know.

As ESPN’s Darren Rovell suggested, it’s probably time to figure out a new scoring system.


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