E Ratings update: League 1, 9 Oct 2016

Here is the latest update of the season to the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. 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.


The ratings are definitely settling down now – they’ve pretty much caught up with the changes in strength since last season.

Scunthorpe were the only side to move more than one place, dropping two positions after a fortunate-looking draw at home to Northampton. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Iron’s hot streak had been powered by some unsustainably clinical finishing and was unlikely to continue, although they still look capable of sustaining a promotion challenge.

The top-rated side Bradford strolled to a convincing win over lowest-rated and newly-managerless Shrewsbury to extend their impressive lead at the top of the rankings.

Another win for Rochdale – albeit also over low-ranked opposition – nudged them up to seventh place in both the E Ratings and the actual league table, although they never sat anywhere near as low in the former as the latter. Dale never looked that bad – they just had some horrible luck in defence to begin with.

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‘s commanding lead in the E Ratings translates into just over a 75% chance of finishing in the top two as things stand. While Scunthorpe still lead the division, their one-point advantage is only sufficient to render them second favourites for now.

Oldham‘s precious win at Gillingham has reduced their relegation chances from almost 70% to a shade under 55%, while defeats for Southend and Shrewsbury raised their own worryingly high probabilities further still.