League 2 previews, 14-15 Mar 2017

Below are the individual preview graphics for each game in the forthcoming round of fixtures. These smash together minimalist versions of two visualisations: each club’s E Ratings and their relative positions on the attack and defence scatter graphics.

I’ve explained them fully here, but in summary they’re intended as a simple pre-match comparison of two teams using high-level performance data. The graphic has three sections:

  1. The current ratings (with ranks) of the two teams and how these have changed over the past 30 league matches;
  2. A probability forecast for the match based on the ratings;
  3. Scatter graphics showing the teams’ attacking and defensive performance this season.

Before we launch into them, here’s each match is listed in descending order of how likely a home win is. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but this is NOT betting advice – there’s loads of relevant stuff that the model doesn’t factor in (e.g. injuries and suspensions) that will surely have an impact.

There are likely to be plenty of home wins in this round of games, with the hosts’ chance of victory higher than 50% in fully half of the fixtures. Cambridge lead the way with their rating having risen significantly this season and visitors Hartlepool among the division’s worst-rated teams. The best chance of an away win is at stuttering Carlisle, who host promotion-chasing Luton.

Most pivotal match

I’m trialling the reintroduction of a graphic I used last season to pinpoint matches that have a lot riding on them according to the model. This week the most pivotal game looks to be Stevenage’s trip to Blackpool:

If Blackpool win then they’d boost their chances of a top seven finish significantly and slash Stevenage’s to roughly the same level (their superior rating cancels out the points advantage that Boro would still possess). However an away win would push the visitors’ chances of defending their recently-won play-off place above two in three while leaving their hosts looking unlikely to trouble the top seven any further.

Individual matches

Here are the graphics for each game in a gallery format.