E Ratings update: League 2, 26 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. It’s worth noting that the changes shown here will include the impact of the midweek matches too.

Portsmouth remain the standout performers but their regular inability to convert their dominance into results will soon start to harm their promotion chances.

Another impressive win for Wycombe makes them the weekend’s biggest upward mover, with Crawley the only other club to climb more than one place with a convincing victory of their own.

Leyton Orient‘s decline continued with a flat performance at Doncaster; both they and Crewe – themselves soundly beaten – dropped two places.

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‘s recent collapse has given Portsmouth the edge in the title race and opened up the battle for automatic promotion, with Doncaster and Carlisle very much in the mix as it stands.

Luton are the only other club assessed as being more likely than not to secure a play-off place, with Blackpool falling just shy of a 50:50 chance and a few others lurking on the periphery as it stands.

The relegation battle looks wide open after Morecambe‘s win and Newport‘s recent improvements; nobody has a greater than one in three chance of dropping into the National League at the moment.

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.


Despite losing this weekend, Portsmouth’s promotion chances actually ticked up slightly since last week due to their midweek win over Luton and the scale of Plymouth’s recent collapse. The Pilgrims have gone from narrow title favourites to a three-way tussle behind Pompey in the space of seven days.

Doncaster and Carlisle have also seen their prospects improve more heavily than their results would suggest as a consequence of Plymouth’s decline, while the chasing pack have all lost ground recently.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


Morecambe’s victory over Plymouth has allowed them to take a big step towards safety. While not bottom of the league table their poor rating is causing the model to predict poor results in their remaining matches, but their five-point cushion is certainly helping matters.

Crawley also look to be in a far healthier position after their win yesterday, while Newport, Notts County and Leyton Orient have slipped further into danger after a disappointing week.