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. 2bits

    Some people are so negative they shouldn't even be born.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sheila

    It probably won't be me... but it is still fun to try

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phatmama

    Oh, so that's how that works-I have to play to have a 1 in 175.7 million chance to win...I'm going to get my ticket. Good luck all who plays!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charles_Boston

    Odds of winning if you don't even buy one ticket: 0
    Odds of winning if you play at least one ticket: 175,711,536 to 1.

    It's a very slim chance, but it greater than zero.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tiki51

    i am gone to win lotery and not be on welfair now and not work for until abama take way all lotery money for to go to school

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brandon

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

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    Wait a minute, wait a minute... I bought two tickets. So I've already doubled my odds!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Al

    Never tell me the odds.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason Viper

    Correct me if I'm wrong please, but for the people saying if you buy two tickets your odds are cut in half, or if you buy 176 then your odds are 1 in a million, but I think that is incorrect. I remember reading somewhere that if your original odds are say 1 in 176 million and you buy two tickets, your odds are 2 in 176 million, which is not equal to 1 in 88 million. Any math whizzes want to verify this...?

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mishuga

      2 in 176,000,000 is the same as 1 in 88,000,000.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WDinDallas

    I am giving $100 million to the Wisconsin Governor for his re-election if I win.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stardust

      Good thing you're unlikely to win.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MotoJB

    Who needs the lotto? I already feel like I won the Jackpot by looking at my wife, family and the material things I'm blessed to own.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • MotoJB

      Ok, so not working another day in my life does sound appealing though... ;)

      March 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ben

    SOMEONE IS GOING TO WIN THE LOTTERY TONIGHT. All it takes is a dollar or two to play. While the chance of winning the lottery are incredible, Somebody is going to win. About a year ago, there were a group of workers who played the lottery won a few hundred million dollars. The people who could have joing the lottery pool choose not to, and lost out on their probably their only chance to become millionaires. They saved a dollar or two, by not playing, but, that is small comfort.
    I think all these all comparrisons in the article are "apples and oranges". There Will be a lottery drawing tonigh and Somebody will win the prize. It's one of the few prediction that you know will come true. You don't know where or where someone will be struck by lightening, someone will have a "hole in one", someone will be bitten by a shark".
    Just remember the number one rule when playing the lottery or gambling:
    NEVER BET MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. net

    Stosh. No, it's not only money. It's healthcare, college tuition for your kids, a roof over your head, food, legal protection, debt payoff, and financial freedom.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kyle

    It amazes me how stupid people are.

    I'm happy though - anyone that acts on faith (optimism) is a cash cow.

    A fool and his money are soon departed.

    moooooo

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew

    Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
    Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
    Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
    Mary: Not good.
    Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
    Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
    [pause]
    Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
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