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. TJ Sam

    of course, you are not going to buy the same tickets over and over again, you are buying different sets of numbers if you buy more than one ticket. The odds of winning if you don't play is ?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. brako

    ok i might not win 400 mil but odds of winning 4$ are pretty high!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mark

    I’ve already won, every hour since purchasing my ticket I thought of all the possibilities. That alone has brought me smiles and stress free moments… Only if… good luck to us all.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Constant Reader

    Uhhh....Mike's right. Just back from the convenience store. I think I just flushed a big part of 175 mil. Anyone want to come over and match up numbers on my four truckloads of tickets??

    March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ROBERT

    Chance of being attacked by a shark if you never go in the ocean...zero.....chance of winning the lottery if you don't play...zero

    March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Willa45

    The pessimistic Grinches at CNN love to point their bony fingers at all of us, telling us that we can't possibly win....but here's a message for all you 'grouchy pants'. We're all winners here because we get two or three days worth of hoping and dreaming for just one dollar and that kind of entertainment.is not only a bargain, it's just priceless!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. FormerNYer

    I agree with Joshi, CNN has increasingly become negative. I live in a state that is actually one of the few that does not participate in Mega Millions and yet I still think about what it would be like. I'm seriously thinking of cutting CNN out of my news sites. Way to go CNN editors!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. lawyermalloy

    I think i'll just borrow 176Mil. and play every possible combo and hope I don't split with anyone!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Leonard A

    Most of the auguments are falacious since you have to be in the pool to have any odds, example one has to be in the sea to be bit by a shark or have a bee sting to risk dying from it. The odds are against you winning but you must have one ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. cneu

    Actually since the odds quoted by 3PO are 3720 to 1 then the chance of doing it is actually 1 in 3721. Odds are different from probability. So 1 in 10 is actually odds of 9/1.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Justin

    Your odds are zero if you don't buy a ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Joe Wood

    If I win...I will split it with all the positive people on the post! Ha!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. C.R. Darwin

    I see someone didn't take their happy/positive pill today! It's nice to dream! So stop stepping on peoples dreams! Now go back to work ... if you have a job.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dioncamp

    Hater

    March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. raseht

    The odds of cnn getting higher ratings is 1:350.5 million

    March 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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