E Ratings update: League 2, 2 Jan 2017

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.

Despite their performances ebbing recently, Portsmouth remain the best-rated side by some distance thanks to the lack of convincing performances from elsewhere. Accrington continue as the second-strongest side, which seems absurd given their league position but they appear to be in the grip of some horrendous bad luck.

Notts County have replaced Morecambe as the worst-rated side in the division as their decline continued while the Shrimps’ modest resurgence gathers pace.

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:


A win for Portsmouth and defeats for two of the three clubs above them increases their prospects of automatic promotion: their superior ratings mean that the model still expects them to barge into the top three before the season ends.

With four clubs fighting for three automatic promotion spots, the top of the division looks set to entertain for some time yet. The play-off race is also open, with seventh spot in particular being contested fiercely.

At the foot of the table we now have two standout favourites for the drop, with both Newport and Notts County having a greater than 50% chance of finishing in the bottom two.