E Ratings update: League 1, 30 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 – has 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 have been slipping of late and it wouldn’t be surprising to see either Sheffield United or Scunthorpe overtake them at the top of the ratings soon.

Peterborough snatched a fortunate-looking victory this weekend, which is why they fell two places despite picking up three points.

The three lowest-ranked sides – Chesterfield, Port Vale and Shrewsbury – all saw their ratings fall further this weekend.

You can see how each match played out here.

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:


It still looks likely to be a four-way tussle for the two automatic promotion spots, with Scunthorpe remaining narrowly ahead for now. Millwall and Bristol Rovers look most capable of filling out the top six as things stand, but the field still looks relatively wide open.

At the bottom things remain bleak for Shrewsbury, who look over 90% likely to drop into League 2. Chesterfield and Oldham both look more likely than not to join them, with Swindon also not far off having a 50% chance of ending up in the bottom four.

What’s changed?

As the graph above only gives the latest snapshot, I wanted to show what effect the latest round of matches has had on the bigger picture. Below I’ve added a few simple graphics to show how the promotion and relegation contests have changed since the previous round of games.

First of all, let’s look at the automatic promotion race. The filled green bars are the current probabilities (and should match the greenest bars above), with the hollow bars showing how each team’s chances looked after the last previous of games.

l1-promotion-change-2016-10-30While Bradford won this weekend, they didn’t do so convincingly and as a result their chances of a top two finish actually went down slightly. With Bolton and Scunthorpe winning in style to boost their own promotion prospects, the Bantams will have their work cut out keeping pace at the top.

Bristol Rovers’ unlucky defeat, coupled with the aforementioned wins for the clubs above them, has dampened their prospects of securing a third straight promotion via a top two finish.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


l1-relegation-change-2016-10-30There wasn’t a great deal of change among the three main favourites, but the battle to avoid being relegated team number four is hotting up. Swindon and Bury both saw their survival chances take a knock with comprehensive defeats this weekend – the Robins didn’t even manage a shot in the first half while the Shakers were far more overrun than the 3-2 scoreline suggested.