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. toobad5050

    Who cares it's a buck and then a valid reason to day dream for a day or two. Well worth 100 pennies.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. banasy©

    The comments here are worth getting through the article...

    March 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Paul

    TJ Sam, think again!. For every ticket you buy, the odds of winning are reduced by the number of tickets as each ticket is still 1 in 175.7 million. So if you bought 100 tickets your odds will be 1 in 175,711,436 instead of 1 in 175,711,536. Just give me the money and I'll put it on Red...or maybe Black. 50/50 I win.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ken

      I doubt tha you can count the money if you win. if you spend $100, the odds is 100 * (1/175.7mil). Much better.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sowhat

    So what, don't you realize how dismal this country is right now that the thought of potentially the some 250mln people in the country who dont live like the top 10,000 might enjoy a little departure from reality...go somewhere else with your negativity and realism.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. markishere

    Geez someone is negative.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. writergal

    Every possible number combination has been sold.

    Therefore, SOMEONE has the winning ticket.

    Everyone who has a ticket has an equal chance of winning, and at least one person WILL win.

    For a buck, I'll take a chance to not have to work another minute of my entire life...

    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Abid Rahman

    The odds of winning if you DON'T play O.

    The odds of winning if you DO play 175,711,536 to 1.

    You do the math......if you are the kind of person you wouldn't frett wasting a buck- then chance it- but if wasting a buck is going to set you further back on your debt- the money is better used in paying down your debt- even if it is $1...word!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rose Lewis

      The most sensible comment I've read in any comment section of any article in months. Congrats!

      March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JROB

    So you're saying there's a chance.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lloyd Christmas

      I love it JROB! From Dumb & Dumber, right?

      March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Styles

      Lol Dumb & Duber :P

      March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Merrill The Moustache

    So you're tellin' me there's a chance! Yeah!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Odds

    Chance of winning if you do not buy a lottery ticket: 0 in 175 million
    Chance of winning if you buy a lottery ticket: 1 in 175 million

    Paradox: Your chances of winning the lottery are infinitely times greater(1/0) if you buy a ticket than if you don't buy a ticket. If they are infinitely greater, then that means you will most certainly win!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Can't divide by zero.

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

    To the Author: Thank you for taking the time to tell me that I am not going to win the lottery. I still like my odds of winning the lottery more than I like your odds of ever being happy, you super serious d*****bag.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Steve

    So if the odds are 1 in 175 million, and the jackpot is $640 million, shouldn't someone buy 175 million tickets for $175 million dollars and essentially get a 100% chance at a great return on their investment? (assuming lottery tickets are $1... I don't even know for sure).

    March 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • WMoonFox

      Because the odds don't work that way. There are approximately one trillion possible number combinations.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lorelei

    This was an incredibly unnecessary thing to write about.

    Love the Solo quote in the beginning though.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Rich

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

    March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. NLB

    The devil is a lie!!!! Keep you negative thoughts to yourselves who ever spoke these words. How about that? Odds are you won't win

    March 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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