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Joey Chestnut defends title, gobbles down record 72 hot dogs

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NEW YORK– Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gulped, chomped and powered his way to a 10th title on Tuesday, continuing his record-setting reign as the chowing champion at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

Shoving water-soaked buns and wriggling franks into his mouth on a hot, sunny day on the Coney Island boardwalk, he downed 72 dogs and buns in 10 minutes to beat his own record and hoist the Mustard Belt for a 10th time. The San Jose, California, man bested up-and-comer Carmen Cincotti, of Mays Landing, New Jersey, who ate 62 franks and buns on his 24th birthday.

Miki Sudo notched a fourth straight win in the women’s competition. The Las Vegas woman ate 41 hot dogs and buns to beat Michelle Lesco of Tucson, Arizona, who downed 32 franks and buns.

During the men’s competition, five people were taken into custody for trying to disrupt the event, police said. The people appeared to be attempting to unfold a black banner before police stopped them and took them away. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals members had been giving away free vegan hot dogs outside the event, but spokeswoman Tricia Lebkuecher said the people arrested inside weren’t affiliated with PETA.

Chestnut has dominated the chowdown throwdown for years, eating 70 franks and buns last year to top his then-record and take back the title from Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie. The 25-year-old Stonie came in third on Tuesday, with 48 franks and buns.

“There’s no secret, I love to eat, and I love doing it, I love to win, so I had to figure out my body and push it to the limit,” a sweating Chestnut said after his win. The 33-year-old said he’d hoped to down even more dogs but was leaving feeling good.

Cincotti said he’d eaten a thousand hot dogs since May in preparation for his second try at the Mustard Belt. Getting to even second place is “surreal – I grew up watching this contest,” he said.

Meanwhile, the women’s side has featured a yearslong rivalry between Sudo and record-holder Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, of Alexandria, Virginia. Thomas, who’s 50, came in third on Tuesday with 30 dogs and buns, well shy of her record 45.

Sudo told ESPN she “just came back better than ever” this year. She’s 31; Lesco is 33.

One of America’s most outlandish July Fourth traditions, the contest dates to 1972, though the company has for years promoted what a former president acknowledged was a legendary start date of 1916.

Leigh Brown and her husband brought her 11-year-old sons, Carter and Corbyn, all the way from Florida to see it.

“They really wanted to come. They always watched it on TV, so it’s pretty special for them,” Brown said.

Joey Chestnut downs a record 74 franks for 11th title

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Defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut chomped down a record 74 franks and buns to take home his 11th title at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

The renowned competitive eater from San Jose, California, takes home the coveted Mustard Belt and surpassed the previous mark of 72 dogs and buns he downed last year.

The heat wasn’t a factor; the National Weather Service put the temperature at 83 degrees with a heat index of 91 degrees.

Miki Sudo said after eating 37 dogs and buns that the heat may have slowed her down in winning the women’s competition.

That didn’t stop the Las Vegas eater from easily beating out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.

Joey Chestnut heavy betting favorite on 2018 Hot Dog contest odds

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It boils down not to “if,” but “how many?” when it comes to Joey Chestnut and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut, who’s won in 10 of the last 11 years, is an overwhelming -550 favorite against the field to prevail again in the July 4 competitive eating contest that takes place in Coney Island, New York, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The rest of the field is listed at +325 to pull off the upset (stomach), but it seems telling that Matt Stonie, the only competitive eater who has out-gorged Chestnut in the last decade, has had a two-year decline in the total of hot dogs and buns consumed since his triumph in 2015.

The reality that Chestnut might be competing against himself could be a tip on how to handle over/under on his 72.5 total. Chestnut has improved his record in three of his last four wins and has consumed at least 68 hot dogs and buns five times, so getting the over – which pays +160, to the -210 for the under – would seem projectable.

Carmen Cincotti, who will mark his 25th birthday on the day of the contest, has emerged as an up-and-coming challenger. The total on Cincotti’s consumption is 59.5, with the over still holding decent value at -190, to +145 for the under.

The alternate lines for the winner’s total – 68.5 and 66.5 – are very low-risk, but also very low-yield plays.

Four-time women’s champion Miki Sudo is also a -550 favorite on the 2018 hot dog contest odds to win her division, with the field priced at +400. Sudo crushed a record 41 hot dogs and buns in 2017, while runner-up Michelle Lesco finished with 32.5.

The over/under on the total for the women’s winner is a toss-up at 41.5, paying -120 either way, and Sudo is likely the only one in the field with a legitimate shot at it. Sudo has finished at least 38 hot dogs and buns in three consecutive years.

In head-to-head props, Sudo is also offering -500 against +300 challenger Sonya Thomas, who won back in 2014. Thomas finished with 30 hot dogs in 2017.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.