E Ratings update: League 2, 25 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.


You can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Carlisle‘s ratings dropped further after their heavy defeat to top-rated Portsmouth, with their attack seemingly not the force it was earlier in the season.

Leyton Orient looked unlucky in defeat today and their attack has looked a lot sharper lately, so there’s still hope for them to fire their way out of danger.

Another poor Hartlepool performance cements their place as the division’s lowest-rated side.

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:


We have three clear favourites for the automatic promotion places in the current top two of Doncaster and Plymouth, plus top-rated Portsmouth. Pompey’s big win over Carlisle has generated plenty of optimism.

The play-off race looks set to remain wide open with Exeter‘s draw keeping their chances at around 60% and a whole host of teams vying with them to claim 6th or 7th place.

Newport were cast further adrift and now have a less than one-in-three chance of escaping the bottom two, with three clubs battling to avoid joining them.