E Ratings update: League 2, 18 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.

2017-02-18-l2-sparklinesYou can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here. The changes are over the last seven days so will factor in the midweek matches too.

Exeter may have been held to a draw but their impressive performance keeps their ratings rising, and by the same token Carlisle‘s fortunate-looking win sees their rating fall. Barnet also kept Portsmouth unusually quiet so saw their ratings boosted despite conceding a late equaliser.

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:


Draws for the three automatic promotion favourites and a win for Carlisle nudged the Cumbrians’ chances of holding onto a top three spot closer to 50% and makes them near-certainties to finish the season in the top seven.

Luton and Exeter both drew but remain likelier than not to stay in the play-off zone, while the chaos beneath them in the table makes the final spot in the top seven incredibly difficult to call.

At the foot of the table, defeat for Newport leaves them in deep trouble but it’s a tight three-way battle to avoid joining them in the bottom two. Notts County looked fortunate to defeat Leyton Orient while Hartlepool will be wishing they’d been able to protect their lead at home to Plymouth.