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. KEVIN

    If I win, I would be glad that finally I can afford my medical insurance!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. jaintn

    Someone is going to win. I'm going to buy a ticket. Can't hurt.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bobby

    Odds you destroy the hope of an entire population: priceless.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoAnn

      To: Bobby – your response is priceless! Ha – love it!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    Han solo got through that astorid belt.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. John-117

    Face it, we won't win? No crap, but an extremely low chance is still a chance. The chances of winning are 0 if you don't play.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dave

    Chance of this writer writing something intelligent or reporting on something newsworthy. Zero.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John-117

      The writer probably dropped a $1000 on mega million tickets.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mel

    You have better odds of being killed by a shark? If there was only one shark in the sea and 176million people jumped in, then you've got exactly the same odds as winning the lottery. The whole comparing odds thing can never be accurate when you are not comparing the same amount of people.
    Oh, and I just love to dream anyway, it's fun. New house, go to the mall, tell the boss where to go, fill up my gas tank, dream, dream dream.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. David

    Do not know why I decided to even bother reading the rest of this article after the author decided not to proof read the "640 Millon Jackpot" I believe it is 540 Million. Also, "Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning" haha come on, if you can't write properly, then you definitely did not put more thought into this article as your writing shows. Seriously, everyone has a chance, such a useless article.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. X-Man!

    Well, I figure like this, someone is gonna win. Might as well be me! :-)

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Dave

    This is a really stupid article. Clearly, there is a chance. I cannot believe CNN would have this on the front page.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Joe

    The writer clearly has no idea how some of those 'chances' are calculated.
    The chances of events happening to you are caculated in reference to populations, not pure mathematics.
    for example, your chances of being attacked by a shark is 0 (not 1 in 11.5mil) if you don't go into the sea. Just because a few people were attacked by a shark, that doesn't mean you will have any chance of being attacked either.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sean Adams

    I play the lotto so I could build an AI Concrete dome home with a pool so I can rehab. I was a trucker when a tornado broke my back. I have a credit score of 810 I own the land 100% have zero debt (I hate debt) and banks will not lend for a dome home they say they could not resell should I default. If I default I would be dead. I save to build with cash and one day I will have enough but should I win the Lottery I would build concrete dome homes all over the country so people could sleep through tornado watches with confidence they were safe. I would build homes that had wheelchair access security systems water storage and rehab pools. These homes are WILDFIRE TORNADO HURRICANE EARTHQUAKE LIGHTENING TERMITE BUG RAT resistant use less concrete to build use 1/3 the energy of a well built stick built home.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Earl

    Yeah, but if you buy 176 tickets, those odds drop to better then 1 in a million.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. one in a billion

    This article is a complete buzz-kill. Shame on you, CNN. Anybody with half a brain knows their chances are poor, but why take the fun out of it for everyone? I'm changing my homepage to something besides CNN.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Don

    I got my one ticket – but I almost hope I don't win anything, as I want to keep it as a souvenir of the occasion (similar to how, when a horse wins the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, people bet $2 to win on the horse in the Belmont Stakes just to have a ticket in case the horse does win the Triple Crown).

    March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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