E Ratings update: League 2, 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.

l2-sparklines-2016-10-29

There wasn’t much movement in the ratings this weekend. Blackpool‘s strong performance in their draw at Cheltenham moved them above the Robins while a similarly impressive away showing from Wycombe nudged them two places higher.

Portsmouth still reign supreme at the top while, at the bottom, both Morecambe and Crawley have been gradually improving in recent weeks.

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:

l2-probabilities-2016-10-29

Plymouth and Portsmouth remain in the driving seat to claim two of the three automatic promotion places, with Carlisle looking just shy of 50:50 to make up the numbers above the play-off zone. While Doncaster, Accrington and Luton remain more likely than not to make the play-offs, the final spot looks up for grabs.

At the bottom, Newport‘s win has kept the relegation battle open for now, with no clear favourite at the moment. Despite dropping into the bottom two this weekend, Leyton Orient‘s performances haven’t yet dipped to the extent that relegation is considered particularly likely.

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.

l2-promotion-change-2016-10-30

A draw for Doncaster and defeat for Accrington – both in a winnable-looking home matches – have put a fair-sized dent in both clubs’ prospects of a top three finish, with Carlisle‘s win seeing the Cumbrians extend their advantage in the top three race.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:

l2-relegation-change-2016-10-30

Newport‘s win has slashed their relegation chances from above 50% to a shade above 40%, due to it arriving in a tough away match that the model gave them only a slim chance of winning. Hartlepool‘s red card looks to have been costly, turning a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 defeat and nudging their probability of relegation up to around one in three.