In case you’ve somehow missed the news, the Mega Millions multi-state lottery has an estimated jackpot of more than $1.1-billion, making it one of the largest lottery prizes ever in the U.S. Of course, that enormous prize comes with incredibly tiny odds.
Buying just one ticket for tonight’s Mega Millions drawing gives you a one in 302,575,350 (302-million 575-thousand 350) chance of winning. That means you’re way more likely to get struck by lightning than win. Still, if you were the only winner and took the cash option, it’s worth an estimated $568.7-million, so it’s tempting.
If you’re feeling lucky and still want to take a chance on winning, there are some things that can improve your chances.
- The Mega Millions winner is chosen by randomly selecting five white balls with numbers from one to 70 and a “Mega Ball” with numbers from one to 25.
- When it comes to numbers, a lot of people use their lucky numbers or a date they like when playing, but you may want to be more strategic. According to U.S.A Mega, the five numbers that have come up most in Mega Millions drawings over the last seven years are 14 (drawn 52 times), 17 (51 times), 10 and 31 and 38 (all drawn 38 times).
- The most common Mega Ball was 22 (drawn 32 times), followed by 11 (28 times), 9 (26 times), and 10 and 18 and 24 (all drawn 36 times).
- The least commonly drawn numbers are 49 and 57 (both drawn 25 times) and the least common Mega Ball is 8 (drawn 16 times).
- Just remember that if other people pick the same numbers as you, you’ll have to share that jackpot. People are more likely to pick a “lucky” number like seven, or a number between one and 31 to represent a birthday. Avoiding those numbers does give you a very slightly improved chance of scoring the prize alone, so statistically speaking, it’s better to go with uncommon numbers.
- The best way to increase your odds of winning is to buy more tickets. If you have a one in 300-million chance of winning, buying a second ticket doubles those odds to two in 300-million.
- Just keep in mind that even if you spend a million dollars buying Mega Millions tickets, the odds would still be strongly against you.