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. FREE MP4/3GP VIDEOS FOR FREE, 4 ADULT ONLY

    have gat to fast, dis mega jack pot wil be mine.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jo B Queen

    But, I could be that 1 so......

    March 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. GT99

    the only way you CAN"T win is if you don't play. the odds are much better in Vegas, but as a whole most people come away losing money. but they still pack the casinos every year!

    March 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Den

      b/c some very lucky ppl beat the odds and do win big prizes

      March 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Den

      it'll surpass a billion if it rolls again, can u imagine?

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

    the true ods of winning the pot is 1 in 20,627,006,400
    factorial 56-51*45 for the mega ball.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stats

      You mean 56-52 * 45?

      It's 5 white balls not 6.

      March 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Ethan, you calculated it wrong. It's 56 factorial divided by 51 factorial (like you said) but also divided by 5 factorial. Then multiplied by 46 (there are 46 mega balls, not 45). This is because order does not matter. If order did matter, you would be right (except for the 45 for the mega ball). So it's:

      56 choose 51 * 46 = 56!/51!/5! *46 = 56 * 55 * 54 *53 *52 /5 /4 /3 /2 /1 * 46 = 175711536

      March 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scottish Mama

    I am meditating that I will win. If I don't win, I won't be stressed.lol

    March 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Steluna

    It's wonderful to dream.....of taking care of everyone in your family, friends, strangers.....of ways to set up charitable foundations and who they would benefit, of getting(finally) plastic surgery, a cleaning person, a groomer for all your cats, a companion to care for the lonely lady down the street, Hawaii,....whatever......:))))))

    March 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Alex

    Dear author– how many tickets did YOU buy? Yeah, you know you did.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      lmao....

      March 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lotto thinker

    Suggestion .you don't have to fill up 175M ticket if you want to buy all numbers, simply give the $175M to the Lotto office making you a sure winner, then wait if you need to split it with another winner. is that make sense.

    March 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ASHISH

    state of ca has a huge debt but they do have cash to spend $175mn, they can buy it and bail themself out. although they would had to split with me as well with my ticket being the winning one as well

    March 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Den

    almost 50 ppl won the 250K prize last drawing, who couldnt use that prize too? The amount of winners is gonna jump obviously too.

    Whats the payout of the game itself? 50% ? This is very good for the mega millions bank

    March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Charlie

    Well, if you do not buy a ticket, your chance is ZERO. I hope the winner of the jackpot read this article so they can come back and say to the author "IN YOUR FACE!" Hey, its good for the economy. I usually get snacks on impulse from the store when I buy tickets..... unless I went in to buy a ticket, those impulse buys would never happen. Go buy yours today :) PEACE!

    March 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JEN

    WHAT HAPPEN TO THOSE PEOPLE THAT PRAY FOR YEARS AND NEVER WIN THE LOTTERY? ARE THEY BLAMING ON THE POPE OR PRESIDENT OF U.S.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Den

    I'm curious when we'll know what the final jackpot got bumped to....750M ?

    March 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mrthrasher

    He forgot that the odds of being stuck and killed by a falling aircraft are 1 in 25 million, or 600% more likely than winning the Mega-million today. So stay in the basement.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jason S

    HA HA you suckers. I'm gonna win because I raided my saving account and bought $40,000 of tickets and played the same number.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mrthrasher

      Never thought of that. So if you hit it they'll pay out $540M x 40,000! Dude, you'll be able to retire.

      March 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
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