E Ratings update: League 1, 13 Nov 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.


Sheffield United‘s strong showing today saw them close the gap on Bradford at the top of the ratings table, with league leaders Scunthorpe actually dropping slightly after scraping a narrow win at Coventry.

The pecking order in League 1 is relatively stable at the moment, with nobody moving more than one place this weekend and most clubs staying put.

Even though Peterborough won and Fleetwood lost, the latter overtook the former due to the Posh’s win being rather narrow while the Cod Army looked unlucky in defeat after out-creating Port Vale.

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:


There are three sides challenging for two automatic promotion spots as it stands, with little separating the prospects of Sccunthorpe, Bradford and Sheffield United.

Bolton and Millwall are the only other clubs with a greater than 50% chance of securing a top six place at the moment, leaving Bristol Rovers fending off the chasing pack for the final play-off spot.

At the bottom there are three clubs currently assessed as having a worse than 50:50 chance of survival – Shrewsbury, Chesterfield and Oldham – with the battle to avoid joining them in the bottom four still wide open.

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.


Wins for the three favourites saw each of them increase their chances of automatic elevation, with Scunthorpe’s prospects the first to pass the 50% barrier.

Millwall also gained some modest ground as an outside contender for a top two finish with their win, although they will surely need a few slip-ups from the leading clubs to grow their chances much further.

Unsurprisingly, Bolton’s defeat has put a significant dent in their hopes of finishing north of the play-offs.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:

l1-relegation-2016-11-13Shrewsbury remain the likeliest to go down despite their win – they’ll need a few more like that to drag themselves towards survival in a division with four relegation places. Defeat for Chesterfield increases the Spireites’ relegation chances to a similar level, while Oldham’s draw leaves theirs virtually unchanged.

A convincing win for Swindon moves them back into the pack of teams seeking to dodge the fourth relegation place, while Southend’s victory at Bury saw them leapfrog the Shakers in the struggle for survival.