E Ratings update: League 1, 25 Sep 2016

Here is the first update of the season to the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. I wanted to wait until the ratings had settled down a bit, as the start of the season tends to be chaotic while they adjust to changes in team strength over the summer.

The rating system is explained here, but in a nutshell it’s based on the combined quality of chances that clubs create and allow, rather than their results.

The attack rating broadly equates to how many goals’ worth of chances a team would create against an average opponent (so higher is better), with the defence rating equivalent to the chances they’d be expected to allow (so lower is better).

The overall rating is the difference between the two – effectively the average expected goal difference per match – so a positive number is good and a negative one is bad.

The graphic below lists each club in descending order of their overall E Rating and shows how this – along with their individual attack and defence ratings – have changed over the past 30 league matches.

The red and green arrows indicate how the overall rankings have moved in the past month and the numbers in brackets show the ranks for each team’s attack and defence ratings.


Bradford are the strongest-looking side in the third tier at the moment and their defence looks to have gotten even stronger than last season. Despite a disappointing start to the season continuing with defeat yesterday, Millwall remain in second place for now.

Interestingly all four of the newly-promoted clubs are in the top half of the rankings at the moment, suggesting that all should be capable of avoiding an immediate return to League 2.

Walsall‘s ratings have plummeted since their squad was raided over the summer and it looks like they could drop further still. However there’s a long way for the Saddlers to fall until they’re alongside Southend and Shrewsbury at the bottom: both look to be in real trouble as things stand.

Predicting the rest of the season

Below I’ve used each club’s current ratings and those of their remaining opponents to predict how the rest of the season could play out. Each of the remaining fixtures has been simulated thousands of times, using the current E Ratings to generate probabilities for where each club will finish.

This graphic shows the cumulative probability of where each club could end up, in descending order of average points won. You can think of the ordering of the teams down the left hand side as a “best guess” of the final league table, with the coloured bars showing the relative likelihood of each club ending up in a certain section of the table:


Bradford are the favourites for promotion as things stand, with a slightly better than 50% chance of securing a top two spot and a better than four in five probability of at least a play-off spot.

Current league leaders Bury have impressed up front this season but haven’t yet nudged their overall rating high enough to be considered a strong bet for promotion.

At the bottom there are three clubs – Oldham, Southend and Shrewsbury – who currently look to be in the most danger of relegation. However with the bulk of the season still to play there’s plenty of time for things to change.