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. kittyfishy

    kill joy. What a B. Of course we realize we probably won't win. What's WRONG with having a few hours of dreaming? Pull your head out of your butt and quit trying to bring everyone down.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Phillip in Atlanta

    SO YOU'RE SAYIN' THERE'S A CHANCE!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • KlintzCNN

      Ha ha ha ha!

      I LOVE that movie!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackie, Canada

      Sorry Phillip, I wanted to leave a comment, and clicked on reply to you instead. My reply is to the writer of the article.

      The odds are the same for the winners as they are for me. I have just as much chance of winning as the winner does. So, why should it not be me? If my luck is in, I will win. If I don't buy a ticket, I, positively, won't win. And, I have the fun of imagining and anticipating right up until the numbers are called. So, leave me to my fun, and don't be such a downer.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AnythingIsMoreProbableThanAMiracle

    I have been indoctrinated to believe that the possible and the probable are nearly equal. Therefore, I will buy tickets.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rendarth

    So another good question would be "What are the odds that the person who wins will have read this article, thereby proving CNN wrong?"

    March 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stefano

    I am from CANADA and our "jackpot" for our LOTTO MAX is $20 million....HOWEVER

    our odds are better, 1 in 29 million

    March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam9999

      Nothing wrong with $20 Mil, I'd take it and sing 'Oh Canada' all the way to the bank.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      And tickets are 5 bucks a pop.... major rip off!!!

      March 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe Blow

    As Jim Carrey said in Dumb and dumber..." So you're telling me I've got a chance".

    March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Den

    I love the ridiculous things haters compare the odds to. I'll play along... I wonder what the odds are for ppl who'll poop once today vs. those that'll go twice or even three times

    March 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wil

    I see it as a Tax on Dreamers, not so much stupidity. Stupid is expecting to win. Dreaming is hoping to win. You can't even hope to win if you don't buy the ticket. A dollar or two to better fuel a couple days worth of daydreams might be worth it for some people. If you work with a bunch of people with a lottery pool, that buck is certainly worth reducing the odds to zero that you will be the one left behind. Okay so the odds are 175000000 to twenty or so that you could be left behind, but honestly once we get past odds like 1 in a hundred, most people don't even try to fathom the difference. One in a hundred, one in a billion, they are the same thing to most people. With one in a hundred we understand we won't win, but we get to dream there's a chance we will. It's only a buck we're throwing away. Frugality is far less fun. Spending even $20 to increase your odds is stupid, but spending a dollar or two makes those daydreams of owning your own island far easier to conjure up.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WYLD STYLZ

    Tell that to the winner on Saturday morning!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KROD

    Its not about winning, its about buying a ticket and dreaming to win. That drive home from the 7 eleven with that moment of thought on what you may buy is only possible if you play. to keep it in persepective my 7 year old son said dad if you win do you still have to work? good luck everyone!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. A dad

    Party Pooper is all I can say of this article.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Considering odds of 175,700,000:1, if you play 1 ticket twice a week, how long could it take you to win?
    1,689,423 years! Think I'm joking? Oh go on...it's only a dollar. ;)

    March 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Dumb article, true you might not win but you can't win if you don't play, 5 bucks isn't a lot of money!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Emily Katz

    Wow, who got Debbie Downer to write this article today? Way to spoil the fun...womp womp.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Den

    it is about winning, there is a 1:3.9M chance at 250K and other lower level prizes, many ppl will win those tonite

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