Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Odds: Joey Chestnut Heavy Favorite, Wishes Kobayashi Would Come Back [VIDEO]

By Raimundo Ortiz @AroundtheMundo
on Jul 02, 2014 04:11 PM EDT
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The world-famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is just days away, and Joey "Jaws" Chestnut is once again the overwhelming favorite (1/20) to emerge victorious for the eighth consecutive year. His reign of dominance is impressive, but it would be sweeter if Takeru Kobayashi, the former king of Coney Island's annual event, were there to compete against him.

"I miss competing against him," Chestnut said of Kobayashi. "He's a great competitor." Prior to Chestnut's run, Kobayashi had won six contests in a row from 2000 to 2006. In 2010, Kobayashi stopped competing in the Nathan's contest because of a rift with Major League Eating, which had kept barred him from competing in any events that aren't MLE-sponsored.

It doesn't appear as if Kobayashi will be returning to the Nathan's contest anytime soon, so Chestnut is left to fend off the challengers at hand. His stiffest competition in 2014, according to oddsmakers, will be Matt Stonie (6/1), and Tim "Eater X" Janus (10/1). Bettors willing to take the field against Chestnut will be getting 7/1 odds on their money.

Chestnut's dominance hasn't begotten any complacency either-Chestnut set a world record just last year by downing 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. It's not as if Chestnut just walks up on the stage and begins eating either. The 30-year-old told Parade that there is a whole ritual that is in play before the big day.

"I get into a cycle where I'll do a practice contest, then I'll fast for about three days," Chestnut told Parade. "No solid food, just lots of liquids. So I pretty much do a cleanse after every practice and go into my next practice empty, and I push a little bit harder."

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