E Ratings update: League 1, 21 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.

At the top, Sheffield United‘s ratings have stabilised but nobody is currently looking like deposing them at the top of the ratings table.

At the bottom, a decent showing by Port Vale on Friday night – albeit against fellow strugglers Bury – continued their own stabilisation, but with Shrewsbury also improving it looks like Vale will remain rooted to the foot of the ratings table for a while yet.

There wasn’t much movement this weekend, with Rochdale‘s poor showing in their heavy home defeat to Oxford sufficient to drop them 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:


With neither Bolton nor Scunthorpe in action due to postponements, the impact of Sheffield United‘s dropped points was relatively minimal – the Blades remain title favourites with the Iron likeliest to join them in the final top two.

Besides the Trotters and Bradford, nobody has a better than 50:50 chance of making the play-offs, with three clubs having an almost exactly 50% likelihood of a top six finish, so this race should provide plenty of drama.

At the bottom, defeat for Oldham at Shrewsbury saw the Latics’ chances of survival drop to almost as low as one in four. Although Bury slipped into the relegation zone this weekend, they’re still fancied by the model to finish ahead of the Shrews as it stands. This seems to be down to the number of home games the Shakers have remaining against bottom half teams: six to Shrewsbury’s four.