Obviously, the Giants are not the odds-on favorite - the MLB's favorite moneybagger, the Yankees is - but are tied for 7th best odds, at 10 to 1, are the Giants, for February (with the Angels and Red Sox). In December, the odds were a lot worse, at 50 to 1, so that is quite an increase, mainly due to the Bonds and Zito signings (that are not yet signings). That's not too shabby with an unproven bullpen (ironic that Sabean don't fill the bullpen with a bunch of vets and now he's getting ripped for having no bullpen) and young starters in the rotation.
Here are the teams above the Giants. Detroit was ranked second at 5 to 1 odds. The Mets, Cubs, White Sox, and World Series Champion Cardinals are tied for third at 8 to 1 odds.
The rest of the NL West:
- Dodgers: 13 to 1 (up from 15 to 1 in Dec)
- Padres: 30 to 1 (down from 22 to 1; I guess they don't like getting Kouzmanoff and Giles and Maddux and Wells)
- D-backs: 50 to 1 (up from 60 to 1; I guess the gamblers are not as impressed with their youthful talent and the addition of the Big Unit)
- Rockies: 90 to 1 (down from 70 to 1; I guess trading away their best pitcher for hot prospects didn't warm gamblers money clips, but at least they are not last, the Mariners, Pirates, Nationals, and Devil Rays all have worse odds, with the Devil Rays odds listed as 200 to 1, down from 150 to 1)
Winning the NL
Oddly enough, the odds above are not totally reflected in the odds for winning the National League. One would think it would, since winning the NL is a prerequisite for being in the World Series, but who ever said gambling makes sense? :^)
The Giants are 6th with odds of 15 to 2. Unsurprisingly, the Mets, Cubs, and Cardinals have better odds. However, so do the Phillies and Dodgers too. The implication here is that gamblers think these two teams have a better chance of winning the NL than the Giants, but don't think much of their chances if they make it to the World Series. On the other hand, gamblers implicitly are saying that the Giants, should they win the NL title, should be pretty good and more capable of winning the World Series.
And I guess that makes sense. The big wild cards with the Giants are how Barry and Durham do in the middle of the lineup and how the starters pitch. The team basically need a team effort to win, every cyclinder must hit to win the NL. And if they are going that well, then gamblers are implicitly saying that they then have the guns to go all the way.
Odds are just percentages, so 10 to 1 means that gamblers think the Giants, if we simulated 100 seasons, would win the World Series 9% of the time and win the National League title 11.8% of the time. However, I must note that I doubt gambers actually think this, this is just the results of their gambling, and I wonder how many teams have a better chance (based on the odds) of winning the World Series than of winning their respective League's title.
Winning the NL West
For these odds, I had to go to Bodog's website and pull them up - imagine that, the Marlins fan didn't care to post the NL West's odds ;^) - and it gets even odder. The Dodgers are the odds on favorite to win the NL West at 7 to 5. The Padres are next at 2 to 1 and the Giants are third at 3 to 1. D-backs are next at 6 to 1 and the Rockies, of course, brings the rear at 11 to 1.
OK, I thought it would be interesting to examine the odds given, particularly since the Giants were up so high to win the World Series, but as we went down the line, then things got a little weird. I guess it could be tied together thusly: bettors don't think the Giants have what it takes to win the NL West at great odds, but if there were to win the NL West, then they must be so strong that they would have a good chance of going all the way. 3 to 1 odds means 25% chance of winning the NL West, and then 12% of winning the NL title, and then 9% of winning the World Series.
Well, I've come this far, so I'm posting it, they can't all be gems (mea culpa Allfrank, feel free to ask for a refund :^).