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. yosemite sam

    I was on a 18 yr losing streak (few bought didnt amount to much) anyhow I did win 100k then within the next7 months hit 1,000 2x and 500 9 times. I always used to say Ill never win ..you just never know you really dont.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda

    Well your odds are ZERO if you don't play.. can't hurt to try!

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

      Exactly. You'll never navigate safely through an asteroid field if you don't fly your ship into the asteroid field in the first place.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Deez

    And I'm still buying a ticket

    March 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    I think 64 winners of 10 mil would be a better deal for everyone.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ala-kat

    I had a friend in WI call and say I needed to go get some tickets. Yep, that will work. Pump $80 – $100 into the tank for a round trip doesn't sound such a good idea to me. I know the odds, and they aren't in my favor. I'll just wait till my mom wins as she does have a ticket. She won't forget me, her favorite daughter :)

    March 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kaserius

    Hmmm... what are the odds of knowing the winner (6 degrees or less)... and that they would be nice enough to give me some of the winnings??

    March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    Yet SOMEONE WILL WIN!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ReutersIsBetter

    Chances CNN.com will have a "Breaking News" story regarding Lindsay Lohan within the next week: 1 in 1

    March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. megaguru

    3 – 18 – 21 – 25 – 42 Mega 8

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

      I'm going to play the exact same numbers just so if you win we'll have to split the pot

      March 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Wait just a flippin moment. Who the heck are you to tell me I'm not going to win this. That is just your opinion. And you know what they say about opinions.
    So that being said, If I had actually bought a ticket, I would have just as much of a chance of not winning this as anyone else.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary

    It's a game. Chances of winning are very unlikely but in order to win in life, you have to jump in the game. Just don't go overboard.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Destroying the economy

    Think of all the money being taken out of the neighborhood in a fools quest! There's folks spending 20, 50, 100 dollars on tickets. That's money that could be used to buy a meal at a local eatery.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. erzhik

    Only a weak person never takes any chances. With $640mil at stake and price of a ticket is only $1, why don't you stop being so cheap and buy a ticket. You would be a moron not to buy at least one. Hell, I'm buying $20. So what, I'll starve for a couple of days but at least I took a chance.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Question

    To the author of this article.
    Answer me this – Are my chances/odds of winning this lottery or any lottery better or worse than the 1 in 175.7 million you refer to so often if I do not buy a ticket at all???

    March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dale

    @ the OP: Thanks for the reminder. Since you’re oh so interested in being all about bringing everyone else down, let me remind YOU of something. Statistically speaking, you are likely to die a horrible death from Cancer. Yeah, you enjoy that though while we finish mulling over your post. Doesn’t it feel good when someone goes out of their way to throw the harshness of reality in your face does it? Why can't you just let people have their dreams without going out of your way to pee all over it? Have a nice day sunshine.

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