E Ratings update: League 1, 10 Dec 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.

Sheffield United continue to go from strength to strength and it’s hard not to conclude that this could finally be their year.

Despite recording a precious win, Shrewsbury‘s performance at Millwall was sufficient to see their already poor rating drop further. All of the six worst-rated teams look to be in steady decline, so the relegation battle should remain interesting for some time.

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:


Sheffield United and Scunthorpe look favourites to claim the two automatic promotion places, with Bolton and Bradford very likely to join them in the final top six.

The remaining two play-off places remain up for grabs, with Millwall and Rochdale having the strongest claims currently.

Shrewsbury‘s win at the Den wasn’t sufficient to shake their relegation favourites tag and they are now one of four clubs likelier than not to drop into League 2.

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.


Scunthorpe‘s defeat at Rochdale saw them slip behind Sheffield United in the model’s assessment of the title race.

Defeat for Millwall and a draw for Bradford – both at home – damaged their prospects of overhauling the top two.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


Shrewsbury‘s win needs to be followed by more if they’re to continue chipping away at their relegation probability, but at least it’s back below 90%.

Defeats for Chesterfield, Bury, Swindon, Coventry and Port Vale edged them all closer to the abyss, but with only four relegation spots there’s plenty of time for each to pull away.

With so many teams below them losing, Walsall‘s survival chances actually improved slightly despite their own defeat.