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On conservative win projections, over/under totals and the Dodgers

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With players already unofficially reporting to spring training camps in Arizona and Florida, and official arrivals cycled through later this week, it is that time of year to begin thinking of the 2016 season. And with thinking about the season comes predictions, including a pair of win-total projections in the last week.

First up came over/under totals for win totals for all 30 MLB teams from Atlantis sports book.

The Dodgers' over/under is 87 wins, but what stands out is that there is only one team in baseball projected to win 90 games — the Giants.

It's one thing to be conservative in projections, but only one team winning 90 games is ridiculous. The last time there were fewer than six 90-win teams in a non-strike season was 1991, when there were five such teams. The average number of 90-win teams since then is 7.6 per year.

It's even weirder when taking into account that Atlantis is a sports book, not so much concerned with nailing the projections but rather to get more and more people to bet money. The over/under totals add up to 9½ more wins than is possible if every team plays 162 games.

That brings us to USA Today, which on Monday revealed their projections. These predictions do add up, such that the league finishes .500 as a whole. There is also a larger upper limit, with the Cubs winning 101 games and the Cardinals 97.

But even these projections are conservative, with just three more teams winning 90 games, and exactly 90 at that. Again, the last time only five MLB teams won 90 or more games in a non-strike year was 1991.

There are three projected 100-loss teams, all in the National League, which makes the lack of upper-limit teams even more odd. In case you were wondering, the last year with three 100-loss teams was 2002. There were 11 teams with 90 wins that year, including three with 100 wins.

The Dodgers come in at 88 wins in the USA Today projections, again behind the 90-win Giants.

At the very least, both projections have the Dodgers tying for the second wild card, which would cause at least one playoff game to get to the play-in game (the Dodgers, Pirates and Nationals have over/unders of 87 wins from Atlantis, which would quench just about anyone's thirst for chaos).

Perhaps the prognosticators don't believe the Dodgers can make history in 2016. The club hasn't won 90 or more games in four straight seasons since a six-year run from 1951-56, when the team was in Brooklyn.