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. ted

    Im glad i read this before i spent my 1 DOLLAR!!!! You saved me from the possible humiliation and anguish of not winning. This washington is going back in my pocket for...........idk.............a can of soda. Please CNN, keep your stupid articles to yourself.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MathGeek

    Geez I'm an Actuary and I bought the tickets anyway just for fun. Better than having zero chance if I don't buy. Don't be so full of negativity, sometimes luck is what makes miracle happen :)

    Good luck to all the positive, fun-loving winners!

    March 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    Well this is a real party pooper article! How lame to try and take away from the hope that everyone has. Yea, the odds are not in our favor, but that doesn't mean to not at least TRY. The odds are not impossible, they are 1 in 175 million...that means there is a chance. :) A little hope is good for the soul.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Someone

    As has been stated I am sure – your odds of not winning are MUCH higher if you DON'T PLAY. It's no worse than if I had dropped some money on a horse, in a slot machine, or whatever – I play once every 5 or 6 years, when the Jackpot gets big enough. the money I will probably loose is no worse than what I have lost in office pools, and the pay out is MUCH bigger.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lisa

    So your saying there is a chance . . .

    March 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      thank you Lloyd

      March 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tomacci

    To the author of this article: chances of winning the Italian Superenalotto: 1 in 622,614,630; chances of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million. So there IS a better chance!

    March 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kraze

    what a stupid article... someone will win.. why not me? lol

    March 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. missDee

    Whether it's us or some random person, right now most of us are all day dreaming about what we would do with our millions. That in itself is beautiful (nvm having to get back to reality the morning after). In a time where everything is so depressing, it's comforting that something where odds are stacked against us can make even the most skeptical of us test our "luck". Good luck to everyone who is playing.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MegaMillie

    The author here is wrong. I am going to win. I am going to win the jackpot. The universe and I are in agreement.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ryan

    If I win I'm going to buy a prius

    March 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tony in St. Louis

    Some people really like to take the fun out of everything. OK, I quit. You win! I think I'll take my ticket back to the store now, ...see if I can get a refund!

    March 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dobbins

    If I win, I am going to buy CNN and fire the person who wrote this article.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josh

    Odds of winning the Hunger Games: 1 in 24

    March 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eric C

    I can dream, so the writer of this article can go be a pessimist somewhere else, what a complete downer. YOUR NEGATIVITY IS AFFECTING MY POSITIVITY

    March 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bobbaloo

    The odds of your parents producing the chromosomal combination to make you:

    1 in 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. (that's 27 zeros)

    We've all won the biggest lottery of them all at very long odds. Mega millions at 1 in 175,000,000 is but child's play.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
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