League 1 previews, 15 Oct 2016

There’s a change of format this week as I’ve finally gotten around to coding a graphic to summarise my weekly batches of match previews. This gives me something to hang a summary on before launching into the match-by-match gallery, which should suit those who don’t fancy wading straight into a big batch of uncaptioned graphics.


Each match is listed in descending order of how likely a home win is, based on my E Ratings model. Underneath the graphic I’ve picked out the most interesting matches from my perspective. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but this is NOT betting advice – there’s loads of relevant stuff that the model doesn’t factor in (e.g. injuries and suspensions) that will surely have an impact.


Biggest mismatch

There are several candidates to choose from here, with Bolton and Sheffield United looking likeliest to record a win this weekend. It’s perhaps surprising to see the Blades near the top given that they’re facing the side in fourth place, but Port Vale look to be overachieving thus far – particularly up front where nobody has taken fewer shots.

Closest contest

Northampton‘s game with Millwall looks the toughest to call this weekend, with the visitors’ terrible luck in defence masking some otherwise pretty decent performances overall. However the Cobblers have adapted well to this level and their ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch means that this may not be the game that turns the Lions’ season around.

Likeliest upset

Coventry‘s trip to Charlton looks like the match where the E Ratings model disagrees with the market most significantly, with a much more favourable view of the Sky Blues’ chances. Both clubs are underachieving and the visitors’ attack in particular looks overdue some luck in front of goal, so this looks likely to be a close game.

Best chance of goals

Peterborough are often the division’s goal magnet, with the best-rated attack but the second-worst defence, and their trip to Fleetwood this weekend is no exception. The Cod Army have converted their chances well while allowing opponents almost as many opportunities as the Posh.

Likeliest to end 0-0

Two teams who should finish the season in the promotion picture, Oxford and Bradford, could well end up cancelling each other out this weekend. The Bantams’ defence has been obscenely good for quite a while and while both attacks look strong they have each struggled to convert their chances this season.

Individual match previews

Below are the individual preview graphics for each of the weekend’s games arranged in a gallery format. These smash together minimalist versions of two visualisations: each club’s E Ratings and their relative positions on the attack and defence scatter graphics.

I’ve explained them fully here, but in summary they’re intended as a simple pre-match comparison of two teams using high-level performance data. The graphic has three sections:

  1. The current ratings (with ranks) of the two teams and how these have changed over the past 30 league matches;
  2. A probability forecast for the match based on the ratings;
  3. Scatter graphics showing the teams’ attacking and defensive performance this season.