Whenever a team wins a championship, that team is usually one of the top favorites to repeat the following year. It makes sense, and it's applicable with the 2011 San Francisco Giants.
The Giants are 12:1 to win the World Series in 2011, according to BoDog.com. At Sportsbook.com, the San Fran's 15:1 to take home the trophy for the second straight year. (Yes, folks, this is also a reason why the team didn't struggle to sell all of its season tickets before Opening Day.)
On both sites, though, the Giants aren't even the prohibitive favorite to win the World Series, or even the NL Pennant. That "honor" goes to the Philadelphia Phillies, who are 3.25:1 and 2.25:1, respectively to win the World Series. The Red Sox and Yankees are also ahead of the Bay Area boys, at 4.5:1 (Boston) and 7:1 (New York) on Bodog.
There's actually some decent value for the NL West division title -- the Giants (1.25:1) aren't that far ahead of the Rockies (2:1) and Dodgers (3:1) in terms of odds, and are the rare case where a defending champ actually gets positive odds to win the division. The Phillies, by contrast, are 1:3 to win the NL East.
Clearly Vegas thinks the Giants will be dangerous, though: BoDog has San Francisco's over/under for wins in the regular season at 88.5, and Sportsbook's set it at 88. It's definitely worth noting that in 2009, the Giants won 88 games and finished third in the division. In 2010, 92 wins equated to a title. In other words, every game really does matter.
In terms of individual honors, it's pretty interesting to see that Tim Lincecum is all-square with Roy Halladay for the NL Cy Young award, as both are 4:1 to pick up the honor for the National League's best pitcher.
Part of that could be that Cliff Lee's in Philly now, and there's always the chance that Philadelphia's collective success could result in some split votes.
Or, alternately, Tim Lincecum is really freaking talented and has won the award two out of the last three times.
Speaking of really freaking talented, Buster Posey's got some odds, too -- 35:1 to win the National League MVP.
Considering that Joe Mauer needed to roll out a .365/.444/.587, 28 HR, 96 RBI, 76 BB season in order to take down the 2009 MVP (that vastly exceeds even the most optimistic of projections for Posey at this point), and considering that Albert Pujols is actually in a contract year, that's probably not a fantastic bet.
To sum up: there's not a pile of money to be made in Vegas on the Giants this year, because everyone's adjusted to expectations for a team that should contend for the title again.
But having everyone -- from the fans to Forbes and on down to the bookies -- respect this team isn't a bad consolation prize either.