E Ratings update: League 1, 15 Mar 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. It’s worth bearing in mind that the changes are calculated over the last seven days and so will be influenced by last weekend’s games too.

Bolton are peaking at the right time, with a convincing win to add to their victory at promotion rivals Fleetwood taking them above the Cod Army in the ratings table.

Despite their setback against Scunthorpe, which looks to have dealt a significant blow to their play-off hopes, Rochdale‘s improved recent performances should be a source of longer-term encouragement.

Some disappointing recent performances for Gillingham are cause for concern, while Chesterfield – who can sink no lower in the ratings table – are also in decline.

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:

Bolton may still be a point behind Fleetwood but their game in hand looks to be giving them the edge in a tight battle to join runaway leaders Sheffield United in the final top two.

Setbacks for Oxford, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers leaves Southend as the most realistic candidate to break into the top six between now and the end of the season.

At the bottom it looks like three of the four relegation spots are all but decided, with Coventry and Chesterfield having looked doomed for some time and Swindon increasingly precarious after another defeat.