E Ratings update: League 2, 4 Feb 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.
l2-sparklines-2017-02-04You can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Another impressive Exeter performance saw them rise further up the rankings, overtaking Accrington who didn’t look all that convincing in defeating Notts County.

The Magpies’ decent showing – considering their rating – was enough to move them off the bottom of the ratings table, with Morecambe – who somehow scraped a draw at Doncaster – replacing them.

Leyton Orient‘s ratings are still dropping sharply after another disappointing performance at home to Carlisle, but it looks like being a while before they fall further.

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:


Another defeat for Portsmouth has eaten away at their automatic promotion prospects, although their super-high ratings mean that the model still narrowly fancies them to close the seven-point gap on Carlisle.

Exeter‘s impressive form has been reflected in their performances and they’re looking good enough to remain in the top seven. Whether they or Luton can barge both Carlisle and Portsmouth aside to claim a top three spot remains to be seen.

At the moment it still looks as though Newport and Notts County are the likeliest to drop into the National League, but with Leyton Orient in crisis the relegation battle could drag on for a while yet.