Sunderland and Mansfield promoted, Bristol Rovers relegated; How PPG would have affected last season

We seem to be moving towards a ‘points per game’ conclusion to the current season, with placing worked out on the average number of points achieved by each team, per game, thus far.

One model, one which seems preferred, is to work out the average points at home and away to get the current total. We have already looked at those possibilities here, but wondered how a PPG model might have affected last season’s outcomes?

No model is perfect, no decision will suit everyone, but I wonder if prior to making a decision the EFL will run last season’s tables as an indicator of whether points per game is a fair route to go down. If they want to but haven’t yet done the maths, then they can rest easy knowing I’ve done it for them. I will stress that I am in favour of using this model to end the season and have been since late March. You can’t recreate the exact matches without playing them, so this is the fairest way. However, would things be very different in the current divisions if we’d had the pandemic last year?

Let us start in League Two.

League Two 2018/19

Lincoln City were the champions of League Two last season, followed up automatically by MK Dons and Bury. Newport, Mansfield, Forest Green and Tranmere contested the play-offs, with the latter going through. At the bottom, Notts County and Yeovil were relegated, with Sol Campbell saving Macclesfield in a great escape.

Under a PPG model, assuming action stopped on March 7th and the home and away totals were worked out, then Lincoln and Bury would have still been promoted, The Imps as champions. They finished the season with 5.72 points fewer than the model would give them, but it would still have been around four ahead of Bury. Mansfield would be the big winners under the model, they’d have cleared MK Dons by three points to also be a League One club.

Newport and Forest Green would have missed out, neither making the top seven. Instead, Colchester would sneak in, along with Exeter City, both sides that missed out on the final day. If (as proposed) the team in fourth also got promoted, then MK Dons would go up, meaning three of the four promotion places would have been correct.

At the bottom, not even a pandemic could have saved Notts County, although they ended up with three more points than PPG believed they would. Macclesfield would have been relegated, but it is interesting to see four of the bottom five finish with more points than the model suggests they should. Yeovil, who clearly had a complete collapse, would have stayed up if the season had been ended on March 7th and finished via PPG.

In League Two, of the six promotion/relegation places on offer, a PPG model would have got four of them correct.

Home Away Expected
P Pts PPG P Pts PPG Home Away Total Act Diff
Lincoln City 17 34 2.00 18 35 1.94 12.00 9.72 90.72 85 -5.72
Bury 18 41 2.28 17 25 1.47 11.39 8.82 86.21 79 -7.21
Mansfield Town 18 40 2.22 17 24 1.41 11.11 8.47 83.58 76 -7.58
Milton Keynes Dons 18 39 2.17 17 23 1.35 10.83 8.12 80.95 79 -1.95
Tranmere Rovers 17 34 2.00 18 21 1.17 12.00 5.83 72.83 73 0.17
Exeter City 18 30 1.67 17 25 1.47 8.33 8.82 72.16 70 -2.16
Colchester United 17 31 1.82 18 23 1.28 10.94 6.39 71.33 70 -1.33
Forest Green Rovers 18 25 1.39 17 29 1.71 6.94 10.24 71.18 74 2.82
Carlisle United 17 26 1.53 18 27 1.50 9.18 7.50 69.68 68 -1.68
Swindon Town 18 25 1.39 16 25 1.56 6.94 10.94 67.88 64 -3.88
Newport County 17 34 2.00 17 15 0.88 12.00 5.29 66.29 71 4.71
Stevenage 17 29 1.71 18 20 1.11 10.24 5.56 64.79 70 5.21
Oldham Athletic 18 26 1.44 17 21 1.24 7.22 7.41 61.63 62 0.37
Grimsby Town 18 29 1.61 17 18 1.06 8.06 6.35 61.41 56 -5.41
Crewe Alexandra 18 35 1.94 17 11 0.65 9.72 3.88 59.60 65 5.40
Northampton Town 17 22 1.29 18 23 1.28 7.76 6.39 59.15 61 1.85
Cheltenham Town 17 25 1.47 18 16 0.89 8.82 4.44 54.27 57 2.73
Crawley Town 17 27 1.59 18 12 0.67 9.53 3.33 51.86 53 1.14
Cambridge United 17 25 1.47 18 14 0.78 8.82 3.89 51.71 47 -4.71
Yeovil Town 18 19 1.06 17 17 1.00 5.28 6.00 47.28 40 -7.28
Morecambe 17 15 0.88 18 20 1.11 5.29 5.56 45.85 54 8.15
Port Vale 17 15 0.88 18 19 1.06 5.29 5.28 44.57 49 4.43
Macclesfield Town 17 19 1.12 18 11 0.61 6.71 3.06 39.76 44 4.24
Notts County 18 19 1.06 17 10 0.59 5.28 3.53 37.81 41 3.19

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