The league tables explained

Each alt-3 ranking takes proper account of each team’s schedule strength — that is, whether they have played (on average, to date) unusually ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ matches.

This includes the strength of the opponents played so far, and also any imbalance in the numbers of matches played at home and away. (The ‘home advantage’ effect in many major football leagues can be substantial.)

The alt-3 table displays two new columns. We say just briefly here what each of those columns refers to. For (quite a bit!) more detail, see the mathematical method explained.

The two columns are as follows:

  • sched, the assessed ‘schedule strength’ for each team. This measures how difficult a schedule each team has had, since the start of the season. An average schedule strength would be zero. A team that has a strongly negative schedule strength has faced unusually weak opposition and/or has played more matches at home than away from home; and vice-versa for positive schedule strength.
    Teams that have schedule strength far from zero are likely to be ranked differently in the alt-3 table than in the ‘standard’ kind of table based on accumulated league points. So the sched value helps to explain what is happening, whenever we see such changes in league-table position.

  • Pts|m, the ‘adjusted points total after m matches’ for each team. The value of m used in the table is the largest number of matches so far played by any team in the league. For teams that have played m matches, the Pts|m is just the accumulated league points plus the team’s schedule strength to date. If a team has a game in hand, that is properly accounted for by using the team’s projected points-per-match across a fully balanced schedule. (In such instances we deliberately do not predict the outcome of the game in hand! Remember, the alt-3 table aims only to reflect teams’ performances to date — it is not a prediction.)

Every alt-3 league table ranks the teams according to each team’s adjusted points total.

It really must be emphasized that an alt-3 table is not a prediction. The adjusted points totals are designed specifically to reflect the relative performance of teams to date — that is, to represent faithfully what has happened, rather than to predict what will happen in the future.

(A good predictive model would most likely need to take into account much more information than simply the match results seen already within the current season.)