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. Arno

    Be optimistic... It only takes a single ticket with the right numbers... Just the thrill of having a chance to win that amount of money is a tremendous feeling...

    March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Brian

    Ok, but somebody WILL win....and it's going to be me.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mish510

      Aww sorry bud......IM the Winner! :) ANd when I win I will come BACK to this site to give it a big HA! :) lol
      Have fun all and good luck!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Exactly, someone always wins eventually so why does anyone bother to stupid articles such as this one! Hello, if you don't play how are you going to WIN it?

      March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    I don't need CNN putting this in my face! This is suppose to be fun! I know I am not going to win, I play only for the "CHANCE" like everyone else... What if. What a bunch of party poopers CNN is!

    I like to play, dream for those few hours I have before the drawing. THat is fun to me, what will I do... Each time I play I get let down, sure to some and to me it sucks but I knew I wouldn't win in the first place but I sure had fun all day dreaming like I did win, and then CNN comes along and posts this garbage!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Tom Jr.

    Not only will you not win, you won't personally know anyone who does win. And no one in your community, county, or state will win either. You should have bought a Big Mac.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mish510

      I <3 BigMacs :)

      March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      A Big Mac would make me feel worse.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steve

    Odds of this article being good: 1 in 231489238461234.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Winner

    I bought a ticket for all 175,711,536 combinations. That sure put a dent in my savings account, but I am sure to win!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Gary Berger

    So I have a question: let's say someone has had cojoined twins, been bitten by a shark, hit by lighting, made a hole-in-one on a par-3 hole and run over a deer in Hawaii. Should that person buy a lottery ticket? I'd say yes.In fact, I'd say everyone should just for the entertainment of dreaming about wining as others have pointed out.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • HaveFun

      Odds to get all of that may be one in a trillion, but still his chance to win a lottery is the above 1 in 175 million. So what the heck. Enjoy the couple of days he is holding that ticket, till the result.

      March 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jstanley

    Why are you always thinking about the odds of winning the biggest prize. Even if I can win $100 it will be fun. Why do I care if some team wins Superbowl?How does it impact me? Why am I watching it? It is for the thrill and the experience. I know full well that I won't win the big money but I'm doing it because it is fun.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jeff

    I think a billionaire should buy all the possible combinations, win, then laugh at as all

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Han Solo

    Never tell me the odds!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. chaseki

    wonder what the odds are to open a combo lock in one try

    March 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Metron

    Stories like this (you won't win) are complete bogus. Has a lotto EVER not been won by SOMEBODY? Of course not. Somebody ALWAYS wins, sooner or later. You can't win if you don't play.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Math Teacher

    The odds are 1:175,711,536. You have a 99.9999994% chance of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 2 tickets, then your odds are 2:175,711,536. You have a 99.9999989% chance of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 10 tickets, then your odds are 10:175,711,536. You have a 99.9999943% of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 100 tickets, then your odds are 100:175,711,536. You have a 99.999938% of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 1000 tickets, then you have a 99.9994309% chance of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 10,000 tickets, you have a 99.9943089% chance of NOT winning the jackpot.

    If you buy 1,000,000 tickets, you have a 99.4308854% chance of NOT winning the jackpot.

    I hate to break it to you people, but I'd say you anything that is 99% likely is a sure thing. I'd advise you not to waste money buying more than one ticket.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mish510

      1 ticket can hold 10 lines so you do suggest no more than 10 bucks? :) hehehe

      March 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jaime

    This is so annoying! CNN what do you care if we win or lose? We don't need your newsflash to tell us the odds of winning, anyone who plays the lotto on a regular basis is aware of this. Play responsibly have fun that's what you should be saying instead of poopooing it, you mean to tell me you guys haven't got in on the action too?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kay

    Actually, promoters are saying that with so many tickets being sold, every possible combination will be played so somebody WILL win. And if you bought a ticket, it COULD be you. I don't know what makes this guy so sure, while the odds are very long they're not impossible. Sooner or later, someone WILL win.

    Unless this guy knows for a fact that the lottery is a hoax and there actually is no winner.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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