March 30th, 2012
01:57 PM ET

You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot

“Never tell me the odds.”
Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back"

Look. We know that you're aware the odds of winning Friday night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, or any Mega Millions jackpot, are astronomical.

We also know that for the people who win it, the odds matter not one bit. Someone is going to win at least a share of the prize if not Friday, then in some subsequent drawing. But since we’re covering the historic jackpot and showing people in long lines giddily talking about how many cars or yachts or Dippin' Dots they’d buy if they win, we feel compelled to remind you:

It’s not going to be you.

The odds of a ticket winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,711,536 to 1. As Han Solo’s talkative robotic friend would tell you, you have a much, much better chance (1 in 3,720!) of navigating an asteroid field successfully. We didn’t exactly vet that, but you know you’d smash your ship into the rocks. And who are we to question protocol droids fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication?

To hammer home the point, here are a few other unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are far more likely than you taking home a jackpot.

From the Harvard School of Public Health:

Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:

The chance of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole is about 1 in 12,500. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:

 The chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely, is 1 in 6,267. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the National Weather Service:

The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:

Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalites: 1 in 2 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

What are the odds you will win? Weigh in below, or on Twitter using #whataretheodds.

soundoff (1,701 Responses)
  1. Adrian

    The winner should send this writer a dollar.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • 23 from texas

      The winner should sue this writter for making false statements. Whos is this cnn writter to act the part of God and say I wont win. God told me I will, and I think that carries more weight then stupid cnn.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Billford

    Also, a one in $175 million chance of winning a $640 million annuity (even after you figure the present value buy out, take out taxes, and adjust for multiple winners) is a good bet, much better odds than you will find in many casino games.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • rich

      i've been struck by lightning....why does everyone think its uncommon?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Boomshakalaka

    I bet this dbag bought a ticket too.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Derek from Boston

    How great would it be if the person who wins, took a picture of the winning ticket & this article, while wearing a "trollface" mask with a thought bubble that said, "Problem, odds?"

    For some reason, the thought of that makes me happy!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • HR

      I see what you did there...

      March 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    I'd say the odds are 50-50. You're either going to win, or you're not ;) Seriously though, I just think of it as paying a few cents to help the state fill their budget holes while I dream of what I could do with all the money I'll never win!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DaveK

    Hundreds of years could go by before someone makes two holes-in-one in a row... or it could never happen. Someone WILL win this jackpot. It won't be 99.999% of us, but it will be one of us. Why the negative article?

    March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      Aother person who doesn't understand how odds work. Statistically it is possible that nobody will ever win this jackpot.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RH

    Chances are winning are a lot better if you TRY.....

    March 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JohnnyZ

    I can't win. I didn't waste my money on a ticket. Yes, a great way to tax poor people.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mary

    So...you're saying there's a chance!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      And thanks for making me crave Dippin' Dots.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Winner

    Chances of meeting a politician in your life time that has a Soul 174,984,746 to 1
    Chances of there being an honest election in 2012 175,009,983 to 1

    and so on and so on!!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve427

    Chances of being annoyed by dumb CNN writer stating how bad the odds are that we are already aware of ? 1 in 1.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Terry

    there is always a sure winner to the lottery.....the government. Some lotteries are taxes anyway. Why pay more?

    March 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anonymous

    Geech. What a Killjoy! It has to be someone (...sooner or later). That means it could be you. So that flies in the face of the article..."it won't be you". It could be...and that's enough right now.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sherry Durk

    .

    March 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amanda

    All you need is a dollar and a dream!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • AH

      I probably won't win any jackpot ever, but it only cost a 1.00 to dream. Since I have never bought a lottery ticket before, it will literally cost me 1.00 for this ticket and a chance. My dad has had plans for years of how to spend the lottery millions and he has never bought a ticket, at least I am putting some feet to my dreams for a whole 12 hours.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
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