E Ratings update: League 2, 3 Feb 2019

Here is the latest update of 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.

Mansfield and Bury remain the two standout teams in the division thanks to Lincoln‘s relatively modest attack not being on a par with their excellent defence. Exeter and MK Dons traded places after the former triumphed in the Paul Tisdale derby. While Grimsby looked convincing in victory this weekend, their poor showing in the data over the long term means it’ll be a while before they’re able to overtake anyone in the ratings.

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:

Lincoln‘s position in the table – six points clear of Bury and with a game in hand – means that they’re still narrow title favourites despite a draw at bottom side Notts County, who edged slightly closer to safety but still look likely to drop into the National League. Exeter‘s win over MK Dons keeps the play-off race open but makes it tougher for the teams in upper-mid table to catch up. At the bottom it still looks like one of Morecambe or Macclesfield will be relegated along with Notts County, although there’s plenty of time for the much smaller red bars above them to widen.