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. be Wildered

    Maybe YOU won't, but 3 did and many 2nd placers for 250K

    March 31, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. jim in texas

    A tax on the mathematically challenged. I saw a breakout of ticket purchasers once, and it's also a tax on the poor. low income people hardly able to pay rent, buy lottery tickets.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • evalah

      Nah, it's really a way for wannabe wealthy people to pretend they are smart.

      March 31, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. evalah

    And yet, 3 people won. Moronic article.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. ChrisJC

    OK, OK! WE GET THE POINT!

    March 31, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin D.

    To quote Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber: "So there is a chance!?". Hey, the odds may be astronomical but in any of those odds mentioned above does it say 0 in 176 million?

    March 31, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hasai

    Stupidity Tax.

    ....And look at how many people paid it.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Spidey-Man

    wow... So I guess the winners really didn't win after all.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. idiots

    .....CNN is full of idiots reporting crap. Odds of being a moronic CNN contributor currently working for CNN : 1 in 1.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tony

    What if I've been struck by lightning, hit a deer in college, and almost died from a bee sting? Hmmm... I'm headed to the gas station to get a ticket.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Montana

    What the people that write these articles don't get is, eventually, SOMEBODY wins. It doesn't matter what the odds are, SOMEBODY wins. I'll pay a dollar or two a week to have a chance at winning an amount of money that I could never earn in my lifetime.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dumber

    So you're saying' there's a chance!

    March 31, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. qqqqqjim

    As a former statistician all I can say is that fate laughs at probabilities!! I can afford to spend a few bucks a week, but I can't afford to miss out on $$$$$$$$. And as Montana says, somebody does actually win. I suspect if the airlines posted at their ticket counters the odds of your flight crashing, be they ever so astronomical, some people wouldn't take that flight!!

    March 31, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. taffd

    what about the three people that read this very article, but won?? You were totally wrong.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. RocketJL

    Good Grief. 'And', your point is?????

    You are not Obama or Joe Biden, are you?

    March 31, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Britt

    Last post was supposed to post on the 1st post I did. I'd finally seen your post. Not sure why it posted it to this thread. Maybe It's my almost dead smart phone. Upgrading next week :) .. why am I talking about my phone on a lotto discussion ?????

    March 31, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
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