E Ratings update: League 2, 19 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.

Blackpool and Barnet were the biggest risers this week, with the Tangerines securing a convincing win at Orient while the Bees put in a good performance in their draw at Crewe.

The biggest fallers were Carlisle, whose home win at Exeter looked slightly fortunate, the Grecians themselves (who were overtaken by Barnet) and Notts County after their heavy home defeat to Newport.

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:


Despite a defeat and a draw respectively, Plymouth and Portsmouth remain the model’s favourites to achieve automatic promotion. The Pilgrims’ lead at the top of the division is still enviable while Pompey’s ratings – which drive predictions of the rest of the season’s matches – remain impressive.

There is currently a three-way battle to secure the third automatic spot and another three teams beneath that tussling to form the final top seven. One of these six is guaranteed to miss out at the end of the season.

At the bottom Morecambe are now considered the likeliest to drop into the National League after their winless run was extended further. Unlike the other two EFL divisions however there is no heavy relegation favourite at this stage.

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.

The two favourites each saw their prospects dim slightly after failing to win this weekend, with victories for Doncaster, Carlisle and Luton allowing each to whittle away the gap slightly.

Blackpool and Grimsby also saw their – admittedly slim – chances of barging into the final top three increase, although for now the play-offs remain a more realistic target. Both are now likelier than Accrington to force their way into the reckoning after another disappointing result for Stanley.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


Newport went from narrow relegation favourites to being only the fourth most likely to go down after an impressive away win, while a home defeat for Morecambe saw their survival prospects take a big hit.

With the other five teams on the graph all tasting defeat, all saw their own relegation probabilities increase, particularly Crawley – who were soundly beaten – and Notts County, who performed poorly in a home defeat to Newport.