E Ratings update: League 2, 14 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.
2017-01-14-l2-sparklinesYou can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Accrington‘s ongoing misfortunes finally saw them surrender the second place they’ve held for so long in the ratings table, and with performances recently dipping to match their poor results this season they could find themselves as low as sixth before too long.

Exeter‘s win at Grimsby continued the former’s rise and the latter’s decline: the Grecians are now viewed by the model as a top half team while the Mariners are no longer.

Little has changed at the bottom, with Notts County‘s stock still falling after a limp home display against Mansfield. They’re one of three clubs whose ratings are significantly below the rest and – as we’ll see below – are now favourites for the drop.

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:


Between Carlisle‘s unluckily dropped points and their defensive performances lagging some way behind their division-leading attacking output, the model still expects them to yield their top three place to Portsmouth before the season ends.

Apart from the current top four, Luton are the only other club given a significantly better than 50:50 chance of finishing in the top seven, leaving the play-off race wide open as it stands. Wycombe and Colchester are the likeliest to complete the eventual play-off picture, but there are plenty of challengers.

At the bottom we still have two relegation favourites in Newport and Notts County, the current occupants of the bottom two league positions. The Exiles’ predicament is understandable given the six-point gap between them and safety, but the Magpies’ has more to do with their diabolical (and still tanking) ratings.