E Ratings update: League 2, 12 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.


You can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Portsmouth remain at the summit after Mansfield’s implosion helped them to record a comfortable win, while a disappointing Accrington performance means that Plymouth may soon overtake them.

Blackpool‘s stock continues to rise after another convincing win while the team they defeated – Notts County – continue to drop towards the foot of the ratings.

Exeter fell the most this weekend after defeat at home to Doncaster. The Grecian’s penalty accounted for a large chunk of their attacking output and the model dilutes the value of spot kicks when calculating the ratings (due to the chance leading to a penalty award usually being far less clear-cut than the kick itself).

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:


Plymouth and Portsmouth remain heavy favourites to secure automatic promotion, with a handful of teams seemingly vying for third place at the moment.

Blackpool currently have a narrow edge over Grimsby in the race to complete the final top seven, although it’s still too early to predict whether either will prevail

At the bottom Newport are no longer relegation favourites (as we’ll see in more detail below) and are instead one of four clubs with a 25% or greater chance of finishing in the bottom two as things stand.

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-auto-prom-2016-11-12Defeats for Carlisle and Accrington have dented their prospects to the benefit of Doncaster and Luton, who both won. Rovers are now narrow favourites to join Plymouth and Portsmouth in the final top three instead of the Cumbrians, although the margins remain fine.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


Newport‘s win – combined with another defeat for Morecambe – has boosted their survival chances significantly. They now have just a one-in-three chance of dropping down to the fifth tier this season, along with the Shrimps.

Hartlepool benefited similarly from their victory over Cheltenham, coupled with Crawley‘s defeat to Cambridge, to see their own relegation chances recede. While it still looks likely that at least one of the aforementioned four clubs will suffer demotion at the end of the season, the margins are still sufficiently narrow for the situation to change.