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Bettors favor Joey Chestnut to win 11th Hot Dog Eating Contest

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Joey Chestnut's dominating decade (1:05)

Joey Chestnut has continued to shine year after year in the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Check out some his best moments on the podium. (1:05)

Joey Chestnut is a foot-long favorite to win his 11th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Wednesday in Coney Island, New York.

And a lot of cheddar will be riding on him as bookmakers say upward of $1 million is bet across the offshore sportsbook industry on the annual eating contest.

Chestnut is listed as high as a -700 favorite to best the field and finish off the most dogs and buns during the 10-minute contest, which first took place in 1972. The women's competition will be broadcast at 10:50 a.m. on ESPN3, followed by the men's competition at noon on ESPN2.

The hot dog eating contest has developed a cult following with the American betting public. It has become a Fourth of July tradition celebrated in the United States and the Caribbean, home of the giant offshore sports betting market.

For years, starting in the middle of the morning on July 4, a flurry of small bets -- often $10 or $20 -- starts showing up at bookmakers' computer screens in places like Costa Rica, Jamaica and Panama. When the action subsides around noon, seven figures on competitive eating could be at stake.

One million dollars on tubed meat ingestion. Gambling and gluttony, American individualism in all its glory.

You can't even bet on the contest in Nevada or any of the new states offering legal sports betting this year because of gaming control regulations (it requires approval from gaming control; no Nevada sportsbooks have ever made the request).

Almost all of the money wagered on the contest is outsourced to bookmakers operating online from tropical islands.

A book manager at BetOnline.com told ESPN that the betting interest on the contest -- the hot dog handle, if you will -- has been comparable to how much is wagered on the length of the national anthem before the Super Bowl.

Veteran bookmaker Scott Kaminsky, who works at Jamaican sportsbook TheGreek.com, said he's been booking the hot dog eating contest for over a decade.

"The handle is fair," Kaminsky told ESPN in an email. "The problem lately has been Chestnut being such a big favorite, it kills some of the action."

Chestnut ate 70 hot dogs in 2016 to set a contest record, then bettered it with 72 last summer.

The over/under on the number of dogs and buns eaten by this year's winner is 70.5.