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. Mike Weston

    The reality of the situation is someone WILL win it. Why not me?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nukel Head

    Wrong. I buy one ticket. My chances of winning are 50/50. One I win; two I lose. Any knucklehead knows this.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stats

      @Nukel Head

      I like the way you think :-)

      March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ME

    It's a dollar or two that I was gonna waste somewhere. It's called "Discretionary Spending". Your argument is better levied against those who have effectively no discretionary spending. Most people who should never spend a dime on anything more than basic survival needs and means to get out of that position, won't be hanging around CNN to get that message.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I simply get a kick out of those in this thread, running their mouths, about you got to buy a ticket to win. Then the same ones run thier mouths in this public place about how thier going to spend thier (somebody elses) winnings. ;)

    March 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lura

      learn how to spell, you moron

      March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Must suck when your life is so rotten, you have lost the ability to dream.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Adam Shegrud

    Chances someone not playing the lotto will win
    0 in 175.7 million

    My chances of winning on one of my 26 tickets
    1 in 45.75 Million

    I like my odds better

    March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JohnBoy

      Your odds are still 1 in 175.7 million, you just have 26 tickets with the same odds, each at 1 in 175.7 million

      March 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Barbara

    "so your saying theres a chance"

    March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. dondondon

    I figure if the powers that be want me to be rich, I have to give them the opportunity. So I buy one lottery ticket a month. I can afford that.! in 25 years of doing this, I won $40 once and $2 once.
    as for the yahoo that thinks Paris Hilton (why did he mention her ?) can just but all the tickets and win, I have a math problem for him..How do you buy 175 million tickets ? If you could get one a second, it would take you more than 5 1/2 years to get them all. And then you would have to check them all to find the winner..

    March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Peter

    At this rate, the prize will be at $100 Billion by Christmas.

    Then, it may make sense to buy all combinations for about $176 million. Unless of course, more than 568 people strike the number, then you still lose.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ALPHONSO

    odds are great. but someone has got to win it! why not me? why not you?

    March 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    TYPO:
    Then the same ones run thier mouths in this public place about how they're going to spend thier (somebody elses) winnings.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Not good, when you show you can't spell correctly the first time, but when you blow it again, give up bud, you simply proved the obvious....

      March 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Den

    the odds of winning a prize is 1:40. After the person (or persons) wins the jackpot tonite, go interview them and ask if they thought it was worth buying some tix. Everyone knows the odds are high, but many real ppl have beaten them before

    March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Rae

    You know, even with the odds stacked against me it's still fun to dream. And until those numbers actually come out declaring me a loser, there's still that little beacon of hope that maybe- just maybe I might finally be able to afford a worldwide vacation...... and one of those golden toilets I saw online :P

    March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Deborah

    ...and so that's why my dollar stays in my pocket. May you all be luckier than me! :)

    March 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. GE

    Its funny all the idiots fantasizing about winning the lotto face it birdbrains YOU NOT WINNING THE LOTTO so get up and go get a damn job and work ya lazy bums!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Den

      gonna tell the winner (or winners) tonite to get a job and that they werent gonna win to? lol

      March 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Stupid comment.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      With your diction and spelling, I'd bet that you need to follow your own advice.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kathic

    Never tell me the odds.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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