How the midweek matches can affect the automatic promotion race: Championship & League 1, 19 Apr 2016
This evening there are pairs of potentially promotion-deciding fixtures in both the Championship and League 1, so I’ve run the possible scenarios through my E Ratings model to see what the impact of each would be.
What I’ve done is to look at all nine different combinations of each of the two matches ending in a home win, a draw and an away win. For each one I’ve simulated the rest of the season 10,000 times to see what effect each scenario has on each club’s chances of securing automatic promotion this season.
I’ve then chucked nine miniature bar charts – one for each scenario – into a single graphic, with the idea being that you can read across and down to see what a specific pair of outcomes does to the probabilities.
Starting in the Championship, second-placed Burnley host leaders Middlesbrough while third-placed Brighton are at home to QPR:
Using the top left of the graphic as an example, if Burnley and Brighton both win then the Clarets will be narrow favourites for the title while the Seagulls’ chances of overtaking one of them will sit at just below one in three.
The bottom left shows that the best outcome for Brighton would be a win combined with an away victory for Middlesbrough, which would leave them narrow favourites to beat Burnley to second place.
The right hand column of charts show that defeat for Brighton would put a serious dent in their automatic promotion bid: combined with a Burnley win their chances would drop to just over 8%, or around one in twelve. The Seagulls’ prospects aren’t helped by having to play Middlesbrough and Derby in two of their final three fixtures.
In League 1 we also have a top two clash hosted by the team in second, with Burton at home to leaders Wigan, while third-placed Walsall are visited by Swindon:
Burton can’t overhaul Wigan as title favourites even with a win this evening, with the Latics’ superior goal difference giving them an edge even if they’re defeated here. Even combined with a Walsall win, defeat for Wigan still leaves them with roughly an 87% chance of finishing in the top two, as the top left chart shows.
If Walsall fail to win then Wigan’s automatic promotion chances will exceed 90% regardless of their own result, with defeat for the Saddlers and a win for Burton making it very difficult for the current top two to be caught, as we see in the top right.
The best case scenario for Walsall’s automatic promotion challenge is for the Brewers to drop points, as Nigel Clough’s side will be far easier to catch at this late stage. Defeat for Burton combined with a Saddlers win would put the latter in a strong position to claim second place, as we can see in the bottom left. Even though Walsall would be level with Burton on points in this scenario they currently have a game in hand, which explains why they can end up with such a large advantage.