E Ratings update: League 1, 11 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.

2017-02-11-l1-sparklinesYou can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Sheffield United cemented their place at the top of the ratings table with another convincing win, in which they limited Peterborough’s declining attack effectively at London Road.

Shrewsbury‘s narrow win over Scunthorpe would have been less surprising to anyone who’s seen their ratings improve steadily under Paul Hurst and remembers how some unsustainably clinical finishing had been boosting the Iron’s results earlier this season.

Bury recorded a precious win over Swindon but the narrow nature of the victory – settled by a penalty – means that they actually sink to the bottom of the ratings table as Port Vale performed well in their draw at Gillingham.

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 moved a step closer to automatic promotion thanks to their win and Scunthorpe’s defeat, with Bolton keeping up the pressure with a victory of their own.

The final play-off place (at least) looks to be there for the taking, with Millwall, Rochdale and Oxford set to tussle over it for some time to come.

At the bottom it’s looking increasingly bleak for Coventry, with Chesterfield also looking somewhat doomed. With four relegation spots to fill, few teams in the bottom half will be feeling safe just yet.