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. VgsBby

    Lighten up Francis! A few bucks for the for the entertainment of wondering what if? is harmless.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • mish510

      Very true. Although a coworker knows someone that spent 2k on tickets this time around.....I seem to think if you have 2k to spend on lottery tickets....You dont realllllly need to win the lottery now do you :-? .... Good luck all....I spent 10!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Why

    People think winning money somehow brings them happiness. Actually, the person would probably fall into utter despair.

    You'd get a lot of attention from winning. From people all over the world, all over the nation.

    this includes murderers, muggers, thieves, all with you on their list because you just won a bunch of money. Blackmail would be really easy too.

    Honest truth its not worth it. Be satisfied with what you have...

    March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bilbo

    Chance of this country electing a politician who can't be bought....ZERO.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. malcolm

    somebody's gots to win, why not me...? why not you...?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kenny

    Yea the problem with NOT buying a ticket for 640,000,000 when the odds are 175,711,536 to 1 would be that YOU are NOT any of the 175,711,536 people who have the chance of that. Also i look at it as if you have over 3 times the number of dollars to possibly be won than you do odds of people winning then it might be the best few dollars you have ever invested in your life. Who cares if they dont win it anyone who is quitting their job and banking that they are going to hit is a complete idiot anyway but who doesnt dream of a lavish lifestyle. I say to who ever wrote this post should let someone assist them to pull whatever it is out of their ass that has them so high and mighty as if to say they would not be at least some what thrilled about being instantly worth more money than many atheletes in the NFL or NBA.

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

    Math Teacher
    we talking about odds, not percent chance. Odds is 1 in 176million on 1 ticket.
    odds is just 1 in 176 with 1,000,000 tickets, different number combinations

    March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Terry

    What do you mean you people?

    March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sean

    I see my chances at 50/50. Either I win....or I don't.

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

      Exactly!

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

      Exactly what I say, too!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jayjay0

    If I win, I will take everyone out for dinner!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Murphy

    Statistically speaking this is a good bet because each line cost only $1 to buy with winning way beyond $175 mil. Each dollar you put in is actually worth the odd.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ptrue

    For a dollar, I get about that much worth of buzz just to know the possibility exists. Fortunately for my financial health, spending more than a buck turns the buzz into a shock.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stats

    If you buy 10 tickets – 1 in 17.5 million
    if you were to spend $10 / draw for your entire life (lets say 50 years), the odds of winning Mega Millions in your lifetime is roughly 1 in 3,500

    That's the better odds than
    getting injured while mowing your lawn (1:3,623)
    dating a super model (1:88,000)
    becoming a pro athelete (1:22,000)

    Though you still would have spent $54,000 over that time period.

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

      Um no, buying ten tickets would be 10 in 175Mill, not 1 in 17.5 Mill. Big difference!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jay

    if you have 176m then your odds is 100% that will actually make you make a cool profit if you dont share the winning lotto numbers with anyone else.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Math Teacher

    Also, the odds that the asteroid 2012DA14 will hit the earth on 2/16/2012 and wipe out your city are 1 in 36,000, which means it is 4,880.876X more likely that you will be killed by 2012DA14 than you will win megamillions tonight.

    On an unrelated note, I am now selling asteroid insurance. Just send me $1 and I will cover all damage to persons and property caused by asteroid impact.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alex

    EP Sato – NICE STATEMENT!!! And really, good luck to everyone..... someone or some people will win.... so why not just try!! :-) Good Luck To All!!

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