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Marlins expected to win 81 games in 2015 by Las Vegas

Just like many of the projection systems, Las Vegas has the Miami Marlins breaking even in the 2015 season with a .500 campaign.

Half of the time, at least.
Half of the time, at least.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins made a lot of moves in this most recent offseason with the aim to be a competitive franchise next season. After winning 77 games last year, Jeffrey Loria and the front office were emboldened, and you had to believe that they were even more encouraged after signing Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term contract.

If you look at most of the projection systems, however, they see the tale of a team who is only slightly improved over last season's model. Most of the projection systems, from Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA to FanGraphs' depth charts based on the Steamer projection system, are expecting an 81-win season for the Marlins. A perfectly .500 year for what these systems believe is a perfectly average team.

Las Vegas appears to buy into that. The oddsmakers at Bovada have set their preseason over-unders on win totals, and they have the Marlins smack dab in the middle.

MLB Win Totals (From Highest to Lowest)

Los Angeles Dodgers 92½

Washington Nationals 92½

Los Angeles Angels 89½

St. Louis Cardinals 88½

Boston Red Sox 86½

Seattle Mariners 86½

San Diego Padres 85½

Detroit Tigers 84½

San Francisco Giants 84½

Cleveland Indians 83½

Pittsburgh Pirates 83½

Baltimore Orioles 82½

Chicago Cubs 82½

Toronto Blue Jays 82½

Chicago White Sox 81½

Miami Marlins                            81½

New York Mets 81½

New York Yankees 81½

Oakland Athletics 80½

Kansas City Royals 79½

Milwaukee Brewers 78½

Tampa Bay Rays 78½

Cincinnati Reds 77½

Texas Rangers 77½

Houston Astros 74½

Atlanta Braves 73½

Arizona Diamondbacks 71½

Colorado Rockies 71½

Minnesota Twins 70½

Philadelphia Phillies 68½

The Fish are listed as tied for the 15th-best record in the game with the Chicago White Sox and both the New York Mets and Yankees. An 81-win year would leave the Marlins behind seven other National League teams, which is very similar to their standing among the projection systems.

Why so average? The Marlins are not exactly at full strength to begin the year, as they are expected to not have Jose Fernandez until almost the All-Star break, though he may return a little earlier. The prevailing thought around much of baseball is that the Marlins' offseason, aside from the Stanton signing, was high on quantity of transactions and low on impact, as they either shuffled wins around or acquired flawed pieces. The Fish worked on remodeling the infield, but expectations on two of the three players they acquired are not much higher than the players they are replacing.

If that sounds pessimistic, you may be overestimating the capabilities of players like Dee Gordon and Michael Morse. But if you leave the Marlins at a healthy baseline of 81 wins and they get the seasons they expect from those players, then you can see why Loria and the front office believe they are contenders this season. In their minds, they acquired two- to three-win players who should bolster Miami up to closer to 85 or 86 wins. The history of these players say otherwise, but Miami is optimistic about their current roster.

If you had $1000 to bet on this and either side was even money (as one would expect in an over/under), which side would you bet on and why? Let us know in the comments!