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. Ellie

    It only takes ONE ticket .....

    March 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jean

      Ellie...........someone in the little old state of RI bought 3 tickets and won $356 million.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NoTags

    I purchased a couple of tickets. If one was a winning ticket, it wouldn't do me any good since I would have a heart attack and die and never get to spend a nickle of the winnings.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jean

      lol..........hey you stold that line from me

      March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wolf

    However, if you don't buy a ticket your odds are a big fat zero.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jean

    Well if you don't play you won't win so I will take the chance

    March 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bob

    ii'm going to buy a ticket for each possible number combination. $175 million spent but i plan to make a profit. hopefully i won't have to split the winnings too many times.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. x1

    NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS

    March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. You won the sperm race!

    You got to the egg first out of hundreds of millions of swimmers that failed and never got to exist. If you can win that, you can win this!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TimL

    The odds against winning do not go up just because the jackpot grows. The odds of winning this lottery are always the same. The only time it makes (mathematical) sense to buy a ticket is when the payoff is larger than the odds against winning. So, anytime the jackpot in this lottery grows to over $175 million, buy a ticket!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rick

    540 million dollars is 5 times more the the best paid football player. This is the best chance for anyone to make this kind of money. Even someone who is extremely talented and hardworking has little chance of working towards a million dollars.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. TRouble

    So you're sayin I got a chance??? YES!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • pol_pot_69

      Wanna here the most annoying sound in the world???

      March 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      +++++++11111 BEST POST! HAHAHAHA

      March 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stats

    My department at work decided to pool together and we got 45 tickets. ($5 a piece)

    The Mega Millions lotto doesn't just pay out a jackpot and they say that the chances of winning anything is 1 in 40. According to Binomial Distribution that means our 45 tickets have roughly a 70% chance of winning something. So even if we win $2 and split it 9 ways it's a fun office event.

    Quit being a negative Nancy and just enjoy it... unless you have a gambling problem.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jim

    Odds of winning if you DON'T buy a ticket are zero. Odds of you winning if you buy a ticket are 1 in 176,000,000. I fiy ou have the money to throw away, it isn't any big deal. No diferent than eating out at a fancy restaurant versus McDonald's. The food ends up at the same place anyways.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JDCarnevale

      Right in the Crap_er!

      March 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JDCarnevale

    That is why I use completely disposable and very small amount of my income.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Don

    What's the point of this article? Don't dream? If you can afford to buy a ticket, buy a ticket. It is for certain that you won't win if you don't play. Think of it as donating to a worthy cause (?) if that helps. What's one vote mean during an election year? Is it really worth voting? Of course. Life is a gamble... some gambles are worth it.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DC

    So you are telling me there's a chance? Yeah!
    -Lloyd Christmas

    March 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lloyd

      lol you literally beat me by seconds

      March 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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