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. brasa

    dippin dots went out of busines you bammas

    March 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. profart

    Chances are even worse f you don't buy a ticket. And for my $1, I get a lot of fun dreaming of the school I'd start with the money.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jettero

    So you're saying there is a chance.........

    March 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. see through the illusion

    So the point of this article was what?! Don't dream big or try for something that has tough odds because it won't ever happen?! Someone will win. Most likely more than one person. So my question is; Why not you who wins?!!!

    If you are into the lottery thing, I say go for it! Just don't go broke doing it. Use some common sense! And don't let someone else tell you that you can't do it, be it, or win it! Only you can determine that for yourself!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Den

    what about the 1: 3.9M chance at 250K, or the 1:689K chance at 10k ? There may be one person who wins the jackpot, but there will be many that beat the odds of the lower tier prizes tonite.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. evulich

    Just get a job, you idiots! You couldn't manage that kind of money anyway.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul Flannery

      eat a dick, I have a job!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ron Guy

    Cances are: How about a snowball's chance in h..l :)

    March 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. T-Bone

    Nothing like being a media outlet of negativity to rain on everyones parade.
    Do we really need CNN to tell us we wont win?
    Networks would garner a bit more respect from positive uplifting articles.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Andrew

    Can't win if you don't play way to go cnn. It is no different then the odds in Vegas so a long shot is fine. Oh yeah people can dream can't they!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. i_will_win_tonight

    The fact is.. someone always wins.. no matter if there is 10 million or 500 million on the jackpot. the odds remain the same always. and the fact is that people win. so the odds are always at someone's favor. And if you dont spend that dollar.. it will never be you.. thats for sure. It might not be me..(alhtough im pretty optimistic it will be me.. :-D ).. but the odds increases for the numbers to come the more people play.. so someone WILL win this drawing.. statistically more than 175 million tickets will be sold... and statistically.. whoever is buying a ticket is within the odds... and the more tickets are sold the more combinations for probable winning numbers will be sold... but statistically it is still the same for each ticket sold.. even if you are the only person buying a ticket... so.. someone will win this drawing.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Justin

    Learn estimated value people. It's actually gotten to the point where you gain money long term by buying the ticket... even if you never see a cent back, it's a good bet. This is including figuring the math on taxes. Don't take the lump sump unless you're an extremely shrewd investor. There are some possible negating factors... like people hitting the same number, but I don't feel like doing that much math right now. My guess though, is that the ticket you buy for $1 will have a value greater than $1 and almost certainly less than $2 (again, this applies even if you lose). Go earn your cents people.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. alateos

    From alateos:
    The chances that this article is useless are 200,000 to 1

    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Stupid Article

    So pretty much anyone who looks at CNN to get any news info will not win. I'm going to start watching FOX news

    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JPT

    Chances of my friend kimmy marrying Tim Tebow 1 in 1,000,000,000
    Chance of her winning the lottery 1 in 175.7 million

    Yea, she should probably grab a few tickets tonight in lieu of a wedding dress.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Paul Flannery

    What a dumb article, they say your not going to win, after they say We also know that for the people who win it the odds matter not one bit. We all know the odds, and have to be lucky as hell to win idiot but someone is going to win so this article makes no sense, after I win I will come over and take a dump on your head! Write something that makes sense idiot!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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