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. Trae

    I think we all go into this knowing it's a true long shot. But geez I hope the person who does win read this article and gives this writer the middle finger! :-)

    March 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Eloe

    Some lucky person who buys a ticket will win eventually.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ron WPAFB

    One of the CNN Commenters this AM said, Oh well, education wins, they get money! What an idiot, when lotteries in states began giving to Education, the states cut their education budgets and spent it on pork! Virginia is a prime example! Education never won, it got used as advertising! So don't even use that excuse, with all that lotto money and we're still loosing schools??? And you'll have a hell of a time getting your state legislature to confess, look at the yearly budgets since Lotto in your state!

    March 30, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. PK

    What are the odds of winning if you don't play? Hmmmmm

    March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      If you don't play, you can't lose.

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

    One person or even more than one will win either the Jackpot or some of the other prizes. Why is she saying it so surely that none of us will win... This article is a waste of time, it wasted my time reading it

    March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ljwitch

    Did your parents tell you, "You want to be a CNN journalist? GET REAL! It's not going to be you?" What reason did you have to post this drivel? Are you soul dead enough to want to drag everyone else down with you??? I'm sure there are people all over the place running up CC bills in anticipation of their new $640 million win........RIGHT????

    March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Cathy

    Well....obviously someone has to win so why not give it a shot. I mean, I wouldn't mortgage my house to buy tickets but who is to say it won't be one of us??

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. trumod

    There's a difference between playing with a couple of bucks because the anticipation and "what if" factor are fun and spending all your rent/food/gas money on tickets.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Person

    I'd buy Chelsea Charms. Do a Google Images search to see what I'm talking about ;)

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. mahdeealoo

    Never say never.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sure

    Naw, the author just wants to make sure that no one buys tickets to increase his odds! Oh, and teh asteroids in our asteroid belt are on the average of a few hundred thousand km's apart from each other. You could easily navigate it all day long.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LB Colorado

    $1.00 buys you a prayers chance, No $1.00 buys you NO CHANCE. Can't hurt to try and dream if you win. Someone will eventually win. It is fun to DREAM and it only cost you $1.00 to go on the ride.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Voice of Reason

    The lottery is a tax on the mathematically impaired. 90% of the people who commented on this article are morons.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Troy

    your chances of winning is better if you played than if you did not.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      No, because if you don't play, you can't lose.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AJ

    Believe and you would see the wonders....

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

      Sure thing.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
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