E Ratings update: League 2, 10 Mar 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.

Bury continue to set the standard with some strong performances of late, while Mansfield‘s have stalled. MK Dons‘ attack has been quietly improving in recent months but they still allow opponents plenty of chances in return. Grimsby continue to confuse the model, sitting bottom of the performance rankings despite a comfortable mid-table position in the league table, but at the rate Yeovil, Notts County and Macclesfield are declining they won’t be the worst-rated for much longer.

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:

The automatic promotion race remains tense, with one of MK Dons and Mansfield likely to miss out on a top three finish, and the play-off battle is also far from predictable. Both Exeter and Forest Green still have a decent shot at breaking into the top seven, although for Swindon and the rest of the chasing pack the window of opportunity is narrowing fast. Despite both clubs having shown signs of recovery in recent months, it’s once again looking fairly bleak for both Macclesfield and Notts County. Neither are sunk yet but they’re running out of time to close the gap between themselves and safety.

Averaging across all simulations, the title winner looks set to finish with 89 points compared to 85 for the runners-up. 71 points will probably be necessary for a play-off place and 46 should be enough to secure survival.