League 2 permutations: 17 Apr 2017

What’s possible

Here are the highest and lowest possible positions that each club can occupy after the forthcoming round of fixtures. I’ve drawn lines under the automatic promotion and play-off spots, mid-table and the last spot above the relegation zone on both “axes” for ease of reference.

These graphics are explained here, but in a nutshell I crunch through every possible combination of results to work out how far it’s mathematically possible for each club to rise and fall.

The top three aren’t going anywhere for now but the play-off battle rages on. Only Carlisle can drop out of the top seven for the moment but there are four clubs able to displace them and three more who can move to the edge of the play-off zone. At the bottom there are three clubs vying to avoid starting next week alongside Orient in the relegation zone.

What’s likely

The above shows what’s mathematically possible but doesn’t make any allowances for what’s likely to happen, so I’ve come up with a second graphic that uses my E Ratings prediction model (used to simulate the forthcoming round of games thousands of times) to assign some probabilities to all these potential changes.

It’s structured very similarly to the one above: the clubs are still listed in the same order as the current league table down the side and the dividing lines are all in the same place, but now across each row is the percentage chance of them moving to other positions in the table. As above, green indicates a rise, red a drop and grey staying put. The darker the red or green, the higher the probability. If there’s no number in a square, it means that the club didn’t fill that position in any of the thousands of simulations I ran and is therefore very unlikely.

With both Exeter and Stevenage on the road, there are opportunities for others to overtake them. Collectively there’s just under a 50% chance that one of the four clubs underneath Carlisle could capitalise on a slip from the teams above (12+19+12+3=46%).

There’s roughly a two-in-three chance that Newport – away at Plymouth – will remain in the drop zone for now, but a huge match between Hartlepool and Orient may end up going their way.