Visualising fixtures: League 2 2012/13

Introduction

You may remember from last year that I developed a simple algorithm to visualise each team’s fixture list for the coming season. It works like this:

  1. Quantify each club’s relative strength using a simple proxy measure: in this instance I’ve chosen Bet365’s current promotion odds (appended at the foot of this post). Even if I don’t fully agree with them, ‘market forces’ should be less controversial than my own opinion.
  2. Factor in how home advantage affects each team. I do this by taking the ratio of points earned at home vs. away last season.
  3. Combine these two numbers to assess the difficulty of each fixture for each team. The relative strength is obviously more heavily weighted than the home vs. away rating.
  4. Rank each team’s fixtures in order of difficulty and colour code them (red = harder, yellow = average, green = easier) to produce a heat map for the season, allowing fans to pinpoint particularly winnable or tough spells for their team.

The Heat Map

Clicking will open a full-sized version in a separate tab:

While your eyes adjust to the technicolour horror, here are a few examples of how to read this:

  • There are gentle starts for Port Vale and York, who both have 3 very winnable opening games.
  • A much more challenging start is in store for Northampton, but from mid-October they have a relatively easy sequence of matches.
  • Recently-relegated returnees Wycombe and Chesterfield will presumably be targeting promotion, and both have easy run-ins, with 4 of their last 5 games looking relatively easy.
  • Morecambe and Port Vale both have gentle-looking Februaries, which will certainly make it easier for any January signings to find their feet.
  • Fans of Burton shouldn’t be too disheartened if their side spend the first month of the season in the relegation zone: 4 of their first 5 games look horrible, and they open their campaign with their hardest game of all (on paper at least).

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Appendix – Bet365’s current promotion odds (decimal)

Just for the record, I think some of these are way off and will surely move significantly between now and mid-August:

Rotherham 1.72
Fleetwood 2.25
Chesterfield 3.5
Bristol Rovers 4.33
Oxford Utd 4.33
Southend 4.5
Bradford 5
Gillingham 5
Northampton 5
Torquay 5
Wycombe 6
Cheltenham 6.5
Rochdale 6.5
Exeter 7
Plymouth 7
Aldershot 8.5
York 8.5
Port Vale 11
Wimbledon 13
Burton Albion 15
Dag & Red 15
Morecambe 15
Accrington 21
Barnet 21