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. nuron1231

    What if I buy 175.7 million tickets? Looks like a sound investment to earn $640 million. Could I get a bank loan?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • not enough time

      you wouldnt have enough time to fill out 176 million lotto bubble slips. its estimated to take you 28 years to do that

      March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ander

    Sure, but you can't win if you don't play. :?)

    March 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Vic

    I wander what are the chances of get struck by lightning while on the way of buying lottery ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jo jo

      You should 'wonder' about it, not wander. You might get off track.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Allio

    Shark attacks are becoming more frequent! What a bunch of Pessimistic Pollys. I'm buying a ticket!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Cara

    So your saying there is a chance!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. john marsten

    if you don't buy a ticket, then your chances of winning are 0 in 0.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Whatever :P

    This article was written by a born loser. I don't care if 20 people won and I had to share the wealth. Some millions is better than no millions. This person has more than likely never had an orgasm either. HA!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TruthBTold

    Chance the current jackpot is more than $1: 640 Million to 1
    Chance I might win the jackpot: 175.7 Million to 1
    Chance I might end up being a crackpot: 20 to 1
    Chance I know winning the jackpot is really REALLY LOW, but I will still buy a ticket: 1 to 1

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Derrick

    I just hope it's me.

    Type DerrickDuffie into your web browser to visit my website and learn about my new novel, Unfinished Business.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. under where

    I bet the winning person read this... Then what do you have to say??

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. kulkarnipb

    Chances of me winning this JackPot is still 1 in 5 ....(I purchased 5 tickets) !!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eric

    If you buy 2 tickets rather than 1, you have doubled the chance that you will win. Unfortunately, after that it goes down. With your third ticket you are only 50% more likely to win than if you buy only two, and so on. I usually stop at 5 tickets.

    On the larger issue of the odds, the chances that you would be born you rather than someone else on the planet (assuming you were to be born at all) were one in 7 billion. And you accomplished that, so what is one in 175 million in comparison? So buy a ticket or two, but not many more than that, and dream.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Paul

    Thank you CNN for proving what you are. Most people realize that they're not going to win but it's fun to dream about what you might do if you did win. And then here comes CNN to bash and throw cold water on the people that want to play no matter what the chances. You editors at CNN are a complete disgrace. I know I'm not going to win but I don't need to be mocked and have it shoved in my face by a bunch of news writers who are undoubtedly playing yourselves you hypocrites.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mightaswellbe

    Ticket for ticket I have just a good a chance as anybody else that bought a ticket. No ticket, no chance. And it's not like i'm p!ssing away the rent money either.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lisa Prescott

    So, the jackpot is 640 million , and the odds are 175 million. So I can buy 175 million tickets and still come out ahead by over 5 million!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Arno

      That is if one of those 175 million tickets has the right numbers...

      March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cory

      What if there are 3 winners? 213MM a piece, lump sum, after taxes, you lose.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cory

      @Arno, there are only 175,711,536 number combinations possible. So you would have the board covered. The equation is (56C5×46) = 175,711,536. The problem is that you cannot guarantee someone else won't split the pot with you.

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