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. mightysmith

    What matters most to me is that moment between the time I buy a ticket and the time someone else wins.

    That is a time where I get to imagine what I would do if I won. Allow us to dream!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yombute

      AMEN! A dollar for a DREAM!

      March 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nick

    The chances that the winner of the Mega Millions will be reading this article before they win... *smiles*

    March 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Drumcode

    I can't even imagine the amount of politicians I could buy with this money. Weed would be legal within 6 months, guaranteed! So, you better wish I win this!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      If I don't win, I certainly hope you do now Drumcode! I promise you if I do win, I'll follow through on your will and have marijuana legal too :)

      March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. zephyr99

    If you don't have a ticket, it DEFINITELY won't be you. However, it IS going to be someone (eventually).

    March 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. JK

    Gotta be in it to win it.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      When I worked at a convenience store years ago, I would tell people who played the 3-digit and 4-digit number to, instead of playing the lottery, put the money they would normally spend, into a jar. At the end of the year, take the cash out of the jar and there are your lotto winnings! Only idiots play those 3 and 4 digit lotto games. Sometimes the only winning move is not to play.

      However, at least with the big jackpots if you do hit it lucky it is life changing money.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe T.

    All you suckers need to quit throwing money in. I already have the winning numbers... 01-02-03-04-05-06.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • joe D.

      " that's a combination an idiot would put on his luggage" – Lord Helmet

      March 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe T.

      Well played sir.

      Maybe we could break the fourth wall and figure out what the numbers are ahead of time.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elak

      Your numbers have the exact same chance of being drawn as my 4-8-15-16-23-42, which I understand are the guaranteed winners. Saw it on some show...

      March 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marjee123

    If somebody's gotta win the somebody is ME has just as much chance as the next guy.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I just got to thinking? You couldn't even win IF YOURS WAS THE ONLY TICKET SOLD... Hoorah! ;)

    March 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. clubschadenfreude

    someone always wins.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      That is very untrue. How do you think the jackpot got this high? Nobody won.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • clubschadenfreude

      Yet, dear. The operative word is "yet". Someone will.

      March 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BiteMe

    LOL, what a sad a depressing article. How does it feel to never dream or aspire to something? Do you get pleasure out of knowing the odds are stacked against so you never even attempt it? Of course people know the chances of them winning are extremely slim and they most likely will end up with nothing, but all it takes is one winning ticket to make it all come true. Believe it or not, people do win the jackpot regularly, average people like you and me. It's not like one person wins every 50 years.

    Enjoy your life of doom and gloom. Might as well start building yourself a coffin because we all know nothing we do will ever amount to anything since we're all going to die one day. What a sad and pathetic life you must lead.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sherry Durk

    As Kenny Rogers put it. "You never count your money when your sitting at the table." "There will be time enough for counting, when the dealings done." Yes, I bought a ticket, 5 to be exact. Good Luck Everyone!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sherry Durk

      Yes, I used my real name because it's going to be all over national news tomorrow morning. :-)

      March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Neversaydye

    I nominate "Drumcode" for americas next Megamillions winner and future President of the U.S....lol

    March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jacknyd

    You're not going to win Mega Millions jackpot
    --------–
    That has got be the dumbest statement anyone ever made. Because the odds are 100% that someone will win. And one of them people will be the ( YOU"RE ) The money WILL be one, now, does anyone want to bet against that???

    March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. PeterP

    LUCK DISREGARDS ODDS. PEOPLE ARE TRYING THEIR LUCK. THAT'S ALL.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. boB

    Actually, you have a much better chance of winning this lottery than you do "navigating an asteriod field" (whatever).
    1/3720! is such a small number, calculators cannot even display a number. The smallest most can show is somewhere in the range of 1/69! or 5.8×10^-99 whereas 1/176000000 is only 5.6×10^-8 Simple math. Any 9th grader SHOULD be able to do it... but what do I know, Gov. Christie thinks I'm just a useless drain on society (i.e. math teacher)?

    March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • xab

      He thinks anyone except those in the food industry is a drain on society.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I see what you did there

      March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Math

      The exclamation mark is not a factorial symbol by the way. But yes, the authors should have actually considered the mathematical implications of their punctuation.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      1/3720 is greater than 1/179,000,000

      March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nice

      Hah – I didn't catch that. Good stuff. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend my paycheck on lotto! Wooooooo-hooooo!

      March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed

      Wow, somebody missed their childhood. I guess now you will tell me that Yoda is just a puppet?

      March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
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