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. Nick

    What a pessimist!! Where is the possibility thinking!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Illusion of "Odds"

    There actually is no such thing as "Odds". It's a illusion created to explain why stuff doesn't happen the way we want it to.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • onepercenter

      No such thing as odds? Return that diploma to your high school. You clearly don't deserve it.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rod Knows

    The first things to come to mind are questions, Is the president going to win re election? 1 in how many? Is the healthcare package going to remain intact? Angin, 1 in how many?
    It doesn't mean anyone is going to stop trying, it's 1 in 1 in that's makes me drive.
    I have my ticket, I would suppose that you don't (1 in how many???)

    March 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. watergirl

    Odds if you don't play... 0.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mann

    This article should not even exist! It is non-sense! These writers just want publicity taking advantage of the lotto hype.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FoolKiller

    Chance of my being attacked by a shark: 0, If I stay out of the water.
    (Attacked? I thought sharks bit... or are they armed these days?)
    Chance of me winning the Mega Millions jackpot:
    More than that of the author of this article...
    because I bought a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rigs

    Sure the numbers are astronomical but here's how I see it:

    Chance of winning 1:175M
    Chance of winning if you don't play 0:175M

    I'll take my chances.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Bud Fox

    I just got a $1 billion loan from Bank of America on the chance that I hit the lottery tonight. No credit check required. I'll be repaying the loan over the next 5,000 years. The loan was bundled with a few solid mortgages and sold as AAA rated. Now that's American!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Cuso

    Yeah I know I probably won't win. But I have wasted $5.00 on much dumber things.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kc

    So, the odd is 1 to 175.7 millions. If I buy all , it will cost me $175.7 millions. One of my tickets will win. The cash option for the winning ticket is $359 millions. So, it still leaves me with $183.3 millions. Not bad.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Godless

      1. You don't have the time to do this.
      2. What if someone else also wins? Or two other tickets win? Enjoy bankruptcy.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam Smith

      And you can deduct the expenses of paying for those tickets from the taxes taken out...

      March 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Unless others win too, then you might end up sharing the prize, with the priviledge of paying taxes.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Godless

    Hey, why hasn't anyone made the "So you're telling me there's a chance!" joke from Dumb and Dumber yet? Oh, you mean that joke has been made 1,247 times already in this thread? Never mind.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ddblah

    Have you forgotten that you actually can buy multiple tickets??

    March 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Drew

    I have the winning numbers. I can sell them to you for 5 dollars each.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Bill

    SOMEONE has to win....so why not me?

    The writer must be a "glass is half empty" type of person.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Stuff It

    Never say Never! No one, not any of the agencies mentioned in the article OR CNN, can predict the future.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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