Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest best bet, odds, preview and predictions: Joey Chestnut absence leaves door open for Geoffrey Esper

Joey Chestnut
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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Is there anything more American than the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4? The answer is no, and we have our expert best bets, predictions and all the odds for the day’s big event. More than a few Americans will likely be boycotting this year’s event because national hero Joey Chestnut has been banned from participating. That’s right; the living legend himself is out. Chestnut is currently under contract with Impossible Foods, which is a rival company of Nathan’s. As such, Nathan’s will not let the greatest eater in human history be a part of Thursday’s festivities on the hallowed grounds of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, New York.

Under normal circumstances, this is perhaps the greatest competition in the entire world of sports. If it’s not at the absolute top, then the only events it trails are the Super Bowl and the World Cup final. But, let’s be honest, it’s probably #1. That is why it is annually televised live on ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports. It won’t be the same this year without Chestnut, of course. Nonetheless, it will still be worth watching as the rest of the world’s best hot-dog eaters get back on the national stage to celebrate Independence Day in the only way they know how: by scarfing down as many ‘dogs as fast as humanly possible!

You can bet on pretty much anything these days, and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is no exception. Let’s take a look at the odds and best bets to make.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest odds

With Chestnut not participating, the title is up for grabs. There is no guarantee that the prestigious Mustard Yellow International Belt will stay at home thanks to Chestnut, so fans of American competitive eating may have to sweat it out on Thursday in Coney Island. Connecticut native Geoffrey Esper is a slight favorite, but Australia’s James Webb is a close second choice. Americans Nick Wehry and Patrick Bertoletti are also in the mix.

Who will be the first winner outside of Chestnut since 2015? Here are the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest odds, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook:

  • Geoffrey Esper -110
  • James Webb +150
  • Nick Wehry +750
  • Patrick Bertoletti +1000
  • Gideon Oji +4000
  • Derek Hendrickson +7500
  • Darrien Thomas +7500
  • Max Stanford +7500
  • George Chiger +7500

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest best bets 

Geoffrey Esper to win (-115)

In Chestnut’s absence, there is no doubt that Esper is next in line to take the throne. That is based on both current ranking and past results. Esper is the #2 eater in the world and he has finished runner-up to Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in each of the past 3 seasons. Although he wasn’t competitive with Jaws (the final scores were 76-50 in 2021, 63-47.5 in 2022 and 62-49 last summer), Esper has been too good for everyone else – and in this case that’s all that matters. The 49-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down, so let’s back him to wear the belt.

Nick Wehry Over 47.5 hot dogs (-112)

In just his fourth year of competitive eating, Wehry finished in fourth place behind Chesnut, Esper and Webb at the 2022 event. Wehry did the same in 2023 while improving from 40.5 hot dogs to 45. That is a significant leap and it shows the way in which he is improving. It’s also worth noting that the 35-year-old beat none other than Chestnut in a pistachio eating contest last February, consuming 109 in 8 minutes. I appreciate that pistachios are nothing like hotdogs, but the bottom line is that this guy can eat. I’m hammering the over on Wehry. 

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