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. Chris

    Well, my grandfather has been struck by lightning 3 times, so I don't care about the odds. I'lm still going to buy a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • AH

      I know a guy who has been struck by lightening 3 times as well....guess I'm spending a 1.00 today.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    *Author knowingly twiddles her thumbs as she watches her odds of winning skyrocket*

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • zp

      Your odds of winning are the same regardless of how many other people do or do not buy a ticket.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AJ

    Last week, a few minutes after being struck by lightning, I was stung by a bee and bitten by a shark at the same time. This jackpot is mine!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Yeah, I'd say you pretty much have a lock on winning :)

      March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    Peoples like you are so "STUPID" for the "ROOT OF EVIL" and no one is going to win but one will, and Remember Government "ALWAYS GET THE JACKPOT FROM WHOEVER WIN" this is making me sick about money, why can you peoples just read bible and love your GOD and be a normal life to live and taking care familys and by the way i never Gamble because money are not SPECIAL to me i hate money and cause of problem and whoever win out there can kiss your own ass and showing off and i would like to say "FUC- YOU the LOTTERY and the GOVERNMENT and the IRS and bunch other CRAP and this is why i never gamble and work hard for my own money to takecare family and pay my bill and as long i live healthy life FUC- YOU MONEY it all about a paint GREEN color and a PAPER of ROOT EVIL and today peoples have no idea why the lottery love you throw all your money to make the lottery riches and famous and tomorrow you all will not have a bread to eat but lottery do you all peoples are just addiction STUPID to throw your money aways dran to the toilet!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You, sir, truly are an idiot.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cleveland Dude

      so we should buy a ticket?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      Spelling, syntax, punctuation, run-ons. This has all the requirements for a non-sensical rant. Love it!

      March 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • cheann

      Says Nick as he is waiting in line to buy his $20 worth of Megamillion tickets! LOL

      March 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • 23 from texas

      This makes me laugh... and scratch my head and wonder how anyone could be so stupid.

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

      Good point i think , but can you translate to English?

      March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anonymous

    Here's the golden rule for buying tickets. Buy one. Your odds increase 100% if you buy one (..from zero to something). Buy any more tickets than that, your odds hardly increase at all. So just buy one.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob Warner

    I've said for years the lottery is a tax for people who are bad at math. I spend a dollar on occasion but refer to it as my voluntary tax that gives me the chance to dream of winning big.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. a nerd

    The asteroid field comment was stupid because C3P0 would have had nothing to base the calculation on. I doubt he would have based in on past statistics of failure vs success, because there wouldn't have been thousnds of people attempting to navigate through, with a handful of confirmed successes. I'll grant you that he could have done a calculation based on that particular asteroid field, spacing between objects, trajectories, the manouverability of the ship, but he didn't specfy THAT one, it was a more generic statement based on asteroid fields in general.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JeffinIL

    Here's to sledding down to the right side of the far end of the bell curve.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zach

    Lloyd Christmas only had a one in a million chance to be with Mary Swanson, and he wasnt discouraged...

    March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. grownup124

    The adrenaline rush of the dream itself is worth more than a few bucks you spend. some people just don't get it.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Glennsmooth

    I rarely go to the beach (death by drowning) or stand out in fields during thunderstorms (death by lightning) or have any conjoined twins or live in Hawaii or even play golf! I think my odds are better at winning the Lottery.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aloisae

    Most people standing in line talking about yachts or cars or whatever don't THINK they are going to win... they are paying that dollar for the chance to do just what they are doing: fantasize about what they would do if they did win. Having that ticket with gives them that opportunity to dream about that highly improbable, but still remotely possible, chance to win.

    Given the cost of many things these days, a $1 lottery ticket when the lottery prize reaches several hundred million isn't that expensive of an entertainment option (sure is cheaper than going to the movies every couple months, for example). Plus, states that participate in the lottery depend on those voluntary tax contributions (rightly or wrongly), so you get to feel like you are making a contribution to your state.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Leslie

    Why write such a stupid, inane article? People know the odds are great...we can't we dream and have fun for a little while?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jane

    The author of this article is a kill joy...plain and simple. If I want to dream, who's it hurting?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tony

    What they never publish is the way they assign "quick-pick" numbers. Suppose the authorities left out 3/4 of the possibilities – Who'd know??? Maybe that's why the Jackpots get so high????

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