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. steven

    if i win lottery ill buy myself mercenary army and exterminate every jew and their garbage jew ridden govt in washington dc

    March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mark

    i would totally punch that shark in the nose.... stupid shark

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

      :-)

      March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunny

      what kind of nonsensical article is this..if everyone thought they wouldnt win, you wouldnt have had a job writing this article or piece of nonsense what i call. If everyone gave up dreaming or hoping, we wouldnt be looking at this jackpot...and at the end..there will be a winner would have bought a ticket just like millions of others. If that 1 person thought the same, we wont be having a winner...get it dude!! now go write something better

      March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. juju

    The odds of me getting laid and having multiple orgasms tonight: 1 in 1.
    The odds of me winning the lottery jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

    I think im gonna take my chances of getting laid tonight.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • soulcatcher

      Bet you it costs more than a dollar. That's one cheap wh0re.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Wood

    People.....you cant win if you dont play! So take a chance and dream a little!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sunny

      exactly....what kind of nonsensical article is this..if everyone thought they wouldnt win, you wouldnt have had a job writing this article or piece of nonsense what i call. If everyone gave up dreaming or hoping, we wouldnt be looking at this jackpot...and at the end..there will be a winner would have bought a ticket just like millions of others. If that 1 person thought the same, we wont be having a winner...get it dude!! now go write something better

      March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TJ Sam

    Paul! If you bought:
    one ticket, odds 1 in 176million, you got 1 chance
    100 tickets, odds is 1 in 1.76million, you got 100 chances
    1000 tickets, odds is 1 in 176,000, you got 1000 chances
    10000 tickets, odds is 1 in 17,600, you got 10000 chances
    100000 tickets, odds is in in 1760, you got 100000 chances

    yes it only takes a ticket to win which is 1 in 176million, but one could slash the odds by buying more tickets. proven.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      Exactly. Did someone on here really say that if you buy 100 tickets, your odds are ONE in.....????? If you buy 100 tickets, your odds are 100 in....!!!! And consequently you multiply your odds each time, even though you are adding to the overall number

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • WMoonFox

      Incorrect. The odds for each of those tickets would not change. Assuming you purchase different ticket numbers, your chance of winning would increase slightly, but it is not linear, nor is it in-line with the odds per ticket. For instance, your chance of rolling a six on a six-sided die is 1-in-6, but that does not guarantee that you will roll a six if you roll six times - your chance of rolling a six is always 1-in-6.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • nunyabusiness

      actually its not proven...you can buy as many tickets as you like but your odds stay the same

      March 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I'm going to buy 10000 tickets right now.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      Who is going to spend $100k on tickets? Not to mention that's not real math.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AndaPanda

    If you don't play you can't win. And who are you to say who will or will not win? Are you God or something? No, just a very sad person who wants to rain on everyones parade. Sometimes you just have to jump in and believe. I'm not saying go out and buy a bazillion tickets. Follow your heart but use your wise mind. I believe anything is possible! Probable...well I didn't buy my ticket for probables...I bought it for possible!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RichWW2

    I may not win the lottery...but SOMEONE will. Congrats to whoever that ends up being.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tom

    If you literally have no money and can't justify spending a dollar on it, then don't. If you can and want to, then do. As the saying goes, "Someone has to win it"! As long as you're not playing for investment purposes but instead for a little bit of fun, what's the harm in that? Pointless article. Everyone knows the odds are against you. If the odds were in your favor, it wouldn't be called a lottery.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. CullThePopulace

    I'm going to save a large portion of the world, thus – I will win.
    I know it.
    I dreamed it.
    I've planned for it.
    It will happen, tonight.

    And I'm feeling very positive and good about it right now, this Friday afternoon.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NoWAY

    The odds that you will win is astronomical. While the odds of winning by not having a ticket are infinitely impossible. Infinitely impossible vs. astronomical. Think about it.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Carol

    The odds of the entire country dreaming about winning the lottery and feeling hopeful at the same time?.....are excellent!

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. DrPhanster

    I took a group collection for tickets today at work. I discussed how it would work on the astronomically small chance we would win. I also discussed how we would be making a donation to local public schools regardless. You should be encouraging people to get out and buy those tickets, then pick up the phone and call your local public official and encourage them to overhaul the education system.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Damon

    "You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot"

    well that's good to know I guess ... State officials probably don't mind it going up to 2 billion, 50 billion, 20 trillion .. if no one is ever going to win ... this thing will get really high day after day, year after year.

    "It’s not going to be you"

    see how dumb the article is. some "you" is going to win, that's a given ... at some point maybe not today or next week but one of these days, however large the odds are ... 175,711,536 to 1 .... that the odds will go in favor of that 1 and whoever that "you" is is going to win.

    "You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot" means the odds are 0, which they obviously are not

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JR

    Thanks for reminding me to go buy a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Constant Reader

    Tickets are a buck apiece. So, if I spend 175 million dollars to buy 175 million different numbered tickets, I have a 100% chance of winning 540 million dollars. Sounds like pretty good odds to me. I'm going downstairs right now to my local convenience store....

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

      You have 100% chance to win some money, but not the whole jackpot. It would be split between all winners, so if anyone else had the winning numbers (which I think at this point is guaranteed), you would lose money after taxes.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamal

      ...that's IF you even had 175 million dollars to spend. Which you don't.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ImGoingToWin

      I was thinking this same thing, the only issue would be the logistics of actually buying every single number combination. Plus given the diminished value of the prize after taxes, you had better hope you dont have to split the jackpot with another winner!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • soulcatcher

      Obviously you didn't learn about possible lottery combinations vs expe3cted value. you got your expected value. But you still are missing some possible winning combinations
      49^6 power=13,983,816 possible number combinations you need 13,983,816 tickets. Good luck buying that many..

      March 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
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