Sports Betting

Sportsbooks Lay Odds on Odd Las Vegas Strip Event: Halloween Candy Corn-Eating Competition

The man who ate a record 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 will attempt an even more audacious feat on Halloween night in Las Vegas.

Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo, shown after winning the 2019 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, will compete in the Halloween Candy Bowl on Saturday in Las Vegas. (Image: Steven Ferdman/UPI)

Eating a pound of candy corn.

Actually, the candy corn is only the leadoff leg of the Halloween Candy Bowl, which will be staged at Beer Park in front of the Bellagio’s fountains and streamed on DraftKings’ YouTube and Twitter pages. The six-eater field will be tasked with eating six one-pound bags of, in order, candy corn, Kit Kats, M&Ms, Milky Ways, Snickers, and Reese’s Minis over a span of six minutes.

“Candy corn was a baptism-by-fire kind of thing for all of us, to start with one pound of that. I can’t imagine it’s anyone’s favorite kind of candy,” said Miki Sudo, the only female in the field, to Casino.org.

Sweet But Unsavory

The sweet contest is juxtaposed with a surge of gunfire and assaults on or near the Strip. Recently, Las Vegas police began seizing guns and beefed up its late-night presence to stem the tide of crime.

Having arrived in Las Vegas early for the event, Shea didn’t believe any extra steps would be required to make the contestants safe.

The casino has significant security throughout the facility,” said George Shea, who, with his brother Richard Shea, founded Major League Eating, to Casino.org. “It seems to me that it’s exactly regular Vegas, except at 27 percent occupancy. We’re not bringing in additional security because, from our perspective, there’s no threat.”

With his entertaining, over-the-top commentary as master of ceremonies for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Shea is almost as legendary as Chestnut in the competitive-eating world. DraftKings became an official partner of the Nathan’s event this year. From that sprung a three-event eating extravaganza centered on America’s festivals of food: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Super Bowl.

The dialogue just naturally came out of that relationship,” Shea said. “The concept developed to hold these three events. The eating contests have a good following and a good vibe, and people like the energy and the great heroes like Joey Chestnut. There’s something about it that’s a lot of fun.”

Chestnut, who has won 13 of the last 14 hot-dog contests, is the favorite. Here are the odds at DraftKings for Saturday’s event.

  • Joey Chestnut -110
  • Geoffrey Esper +160
  • Darron Breeden +600
  • Nick Wehry: +700
  • Matt Stonie +1400
  • Miki Sudo +1,500

The odds of one of the competitors eating all 6 pounds of candy is 10/11.

“Six pounds is a significant amount of candy to eat in six minutes,” Shea said, matter-of-factly.

About the Candy Corn

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said it’s “hard to say” how much betting action the Halloween Candy Bowl will generate.

Here’s what he did know:

The candy corn’s brutal. The M&Ms on a good day, I might be able to eat a pound of those – especially the peanut,” he said.

This year, the Web site Candystore.com surveyed more than 20,000 people about their taste in candy. Candy corn came in last place. Naturally, Shea put it front and center for Saturday’s event.

“When this first started getting knocked around, my first, 100 percent ‘must’ was we have to have candy corn. It’s so terrific and absurd in its own way,” Shea said.

There are eating contests for everything under the sun, from milk and cookies and strawberry shortcake on the sweet side, to tamales and baked beans on the savory side.

This will be unlike anything that we’ve done before,” Sudo said. “It’s all different kinds of textures. Candy corn’s going to require a different technique than Snickers. I’ve practiced a little bit at home to find out what works best for me.”

The event features a $5,000 cash purse. The winner will get $2,500 and a five-foot trophy that looks like a toothbrush.

Bill Huber

Sports, sportsbetting----Football, from games to the draft, is Bill Huber’s passion. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Division III powerhouse where Bill watched games from the bench for a few seasons, he's reported on the NFL’s Green Bay Packers since 2008, first for Packer Report and now for Sports Illustrated’s Packer Central. He's covered two Super Bowls, writing features so insightful that they made some players’ moms cry. When not writing about football, he loves camping with his family, coaching his kids, playing with his two golden retrievers. But his real joy is in going toe-to-toe in cribbage with his wife. Email: bill.huber@casino.org.

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Bill Huber