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. Bob

    What a STUPID "article." How many stories do we read all the time of people dying from bee stings, getting bitten by sharks, and getting hit by lightning?? Another similarly STUPID thing I have heard in the same vein is, that you are almost equally likely to win with and without a ticket, because the chances are so small. What a load of crap – no one without a ticket will win, while everyone with one has a chance. Good luck everyone!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alina1

    Its my birthday today and (of course the mega number on my ticket is 30).

    March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • alfranken

      Happy birthday Alina!!!

      When you hit it remember me okay?

      March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • don

      I NOTICED SOME FAMUNGA CHEESE ON MY GIRL FRIENDS NECK. COULD THAT BE GOOD LUCK??

      March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. heraldofwhoa

    You are correct that the odds are highly unlikely. You have no argument that it won't be me, because:

    1. Someone is going to win it, eventually.
    2. That person is no less likely to be me than someone else.

    I bet the author still bought a ticket, hah. Don't try your Jedi mind tricks on me!

    "Jedi mind tricks don't work on me, only money..."

    March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BioHzrd

    Wow what a debbie downer.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGBNAR

      I agree!!! Just let people hope and have fun. You can't win if you don't play.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. drinker75

    Yep, we probably won't win but one sure way not to win is to not play. I haven't bought a ticket....need to go do that...

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa

    Han Solo: so sorry you dislike your job so much. You dislike it so much you feel the urge to pass your negativity onto everyone else. Dream a little Bud! Dream a little...... it's fun. Better hurry though, only have 6 or 7 hours left to live in la la land. Won't be sharing MY winnings with Mr.Negativity. Not a reason in the world why you couldn't have had a little fun with this and fed into the frenzy of winning big. Be creative!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nikki

    Nice try, but it's not working. Sounds like the author is trying to fix the odds just a little bit by influencing others to NOT buy tickets. It's only a dollar or two, helps support education, and it's my money. People have been having fun just dreaming with what they might do if they won. Leave 'em alone!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. us1776

    Man, who invited this cold bucket of water to the party.

    Go away.

    .

    March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Polemos

    I don't understand the point of this article.

    The probability of my finding employment in the next 30 days is likely less reassuring than the probability of my having indigestion in the next 30 days. So what?

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

    I don't care if I don't win– the damn thing only cost a dollar and it's fun to dream about

    March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chad

    this author is nothing but a negative nancy

    March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pander Bear

    Caitlyn, Jason, Lindsey and Lizzie – When I win you guys are soooooo not invited to my party.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Keksi

    Chance you will encounter terrorist: 1 in 200 million.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jzaks

    Who cares about the odds. Everyone knows that more than likely it is money thrown away. But I will spend my dollar on it just for kicks. You just never know.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bradm

    Chance of winning: same as everything else in life-50/50 either you do or you don't.

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