Yankees, still!

Dec 18, 2001 9:13 AM

The New York Yankees were at the top of the baseball world for three straight years. Now, George Steinbrenner has traded the Yanks back into the favorites role.

The acquisition of slugging first baseman Jason Giambi from Oakland has made New York a 2-1 favorite according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants to recapture the world title next season.

The Giambi signing cemented what has been a heavy offseason of dealing by King George, who has gone to the wallet to bring over outfielder Rondell White from Montreal and pitcher Steve Karsay from Atlanta.

The American League West champion Seattle Mariners are currently the second choice at 4-1, followed by the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks at 7-1.

Oakland, which picked up Toronto closer Bill Koch to offset the loss of Jason Isringhausen to St. Louis, shares the third slot with Arizona at 7-1. The Athletics opened at 5-1.

The Atlanta Braves rank second in the NL behind Arizona at 8-1, followed by the fast-closing New York Mets at 10-1. The Mets have also been busy in the offseason, acquiring All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar from the Cleveland Indians and left-handed pitcher Shawn Estes from San Francisco.

In the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers have moved into the second slot at 7-2 to capture the 2002 Super Bowl. St. Louis continues to reign the favorite at  3-2, according to LVSC. In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers are still even money to win a third straight world title. Sacramento is second at 6-1, while San Antonio moved into the third spot at 7-1.

Defending NHL champion Colorado has climbed back as second favorite to repeat as Stanley Cup titlist at 6-1. The Detroit Red Wings remain the Cup favorite at 7-2.

Duke  continue as the 3-1 top choice to repeat as the NCAA college basketball champion. Maryland, Kentucky and the  University of Illinois are next at 5-1. Duke and Kentucky meet this week in the Jimmy V Classic at the Meadowlands.