Published on September 9, 2020 by Emily Barnett and Darin White  
magic number


Leeds United, one of the most storied clubs in European football, is back in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years. Historically teams that win promotion from the EFL Championship become embroiled in a nail-biting relegation battle the first year in the EPL.

How many points does Leeds United need to earn over the course of 38 games in order to assure survival and avoid relegation?

I asked one of my top analytics students, Emily Barnett, to develop a model to predict the likelihood of survival for various point totals. Bottomline – Leeds magic number is somewhere between 37 to 40 points. As a Leeds United fan, I’ll start to relax once the team hits the 37-point threshold which will give them an 81% chance of survival. The likelihood is over 90% once they hit 39 points and is over 99% once the magic number of 40 is reached.

graph of percentage chance of survival

Below you will find the methodology Emily used in developing her model.


In the EPL, a win gets you 3 points, a tie gets you 1 and a loss gets you 0. The range of points for relegation survival over the past 16 seasons has been between 31 to 40 points. If a team scores 31 – 33 points they have less than a 10% chance of survival. There is a significant jump when a team reaches 34 points – almost 1 in 3 chance of survival. After the 34-point mark, we can see another large jump at 35 which gives a team a survival chance of 62.50%. Once we reach 36, we can see a steady climb until 40 where we get to a 99.99% chance of survival.


About the Author

Emily Barnett is a senior marketing major with a data analytics concentration from Atlanta, Georgia. She is on the softball team at Samford University and enjoys digging into sports data.