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# The Astronomical Odds Against Winning Powerball or Mega Millions Jackpots

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• The nationwide Powerball Lottery Jackpot now stands at \$410 million. The odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.
• The Mega Millions Jackpot has reached \$432 million. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302 million.
• The next Powerball drawing will take place on Wednesday night. The next Mega Millions drawing is set for Tuesday night.

With no winning tickets sold last Saturday night the current Powerball lottery jackpot has grown to an estimated \$410 million USD. It will be the 17th largest Powerball jackpot in history. Not to be outdone, the Mega Millions jackpot is also above \$400 million–at approximately \$432 million.

While the jackpot amount may change the odds of hitting them do not. The ‘true odds’ of hitting the Powerball jackpot are easy to figure with the five white balls combining to form 11,238,513 possible combinations. Add the 26 â€˜Powerballâ€™ numbers and youâ€™ve got 292,201,338 possible combinations. That means you’ve got a 1 in 292 million shot at winning the jackpot. The aforementioned \$1 million ‘consolation prize’ offers odds that look reasonable by comparison at 1 in 11,688,053.

Here’s the basics of the Mega Millions lottery and what you’ll need to do in order to win the jackpot:

Mega Millions tickets cost \$2.00 per play.

Players may pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers – five different numbers from 1 to 70 and one number from 1 to 25 – or select Easy Pick/Quick Pick. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.

The jackpots start at \$40 million and grow by a minimum of \$5 million per draw each time the jackpot rolls.

#### THE ODDS AGAINST WINNING A POWERBALL OR MEGA MILLIONS LOTTERY JACKPOT ARE MIND BOGGLING

Awhile back I did an article discussing just how incredibly safe it is to fly on a commercial airline in light of the hysterical response of politicians and the media about the Boeing 737-MAX. The probability of dying in a crash considers a number of variables–route, airline, aircraft, weather and crew experience among others. At best, you’ve got a 1 in 20 million chance of dying in a crash. At worst, you’re talking 1 in 5 million. Most aviation experts throw around an ‘average’ probability of 1 in 11 million. Your odds of a fatal crash while a driver or passenger in a car is roughly 1 in 110. Even so, you don’t hear the masses freaking out over the danger of car travel. That’s because the genetic wiring of humans makes it more difficult for them to conceptualize the difference between an extremely unlikely occurrence and one that is far more realistic. The term for this is ‘risk perception’ and humans aren’t very good at it.

The public excitement over a big lottery jackpot is a by-product of this phenomenon. Most people have certainly heard the 1 in 292 million odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot yet they wait in line–sometimes traveling to a neighboring state if necessary–just to buy tickets. Whenever there’s a big lottery jackpot I like to put the astronomical odds against winning in context against other highly unlikely eventualities like dying of a flesh eating virus (1 in 1 million) or being mauled to death by bears (1 in 2.1 million) Since I just compiled a chart to put the safety of commercial air travel into context I can enlist it here:

## Odds of being killed

 by the flu 1 in 70 in a car accident 1 in 111 by accidental gunshot 1 in 8,359 by sun/heat exposure 1 in 13,729 by a tornado 1 in 60,000 by a bee sting 1 in 79,842 by an earthquake 1 in 110,000 by drowning in your bathtub 1 in 840,000 by a flesh eating bacteria 1 in 1 million by an asteroid 1 in 1.9 million by a shark attack 1 in 3.7 million by a foreign born terrorist in the US illegally 1 in 46.1 million

Another way of looking at it–you’re nearly 300 times more likely to get mauled to death by bears than you are to win the lottery. For a previous lottery jackpot I chained together a series of unlikely events: you’re statistically much more likely to be stuck by lightning in the morning, bitten by a shark at lunch and hit by a meteor before dinner while hitting a golf hole in one in the afternoon than you are to winning the Powerball jackpot.

Here’s some betting odds on the Wednesday night Powerball drawing and Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing. Based on my numbers, there’s likely a 50/50 chance that there will not be a winner and the big jackpot will roll over to Saturday night. Should that happen look for updated odds and more discussion of the lottery and the math that underpins it later this week:

#### WILL A JACKPOT WINNING POWERBALL TICKET BE DRAWN ON WEDNESDAY?

`Yes                                     +130No                                      -150`

#### HOW MANY JACKPOT WINNING POWERBALL TICKETS WILL BE DRAWN ON WEDNESDAY?

`0                                       -3001                                       +3502                                       +5003                                       +5004 or more                               +1500`

#### TOTAL NUMBER OF TICKETS SOLD FOR WEDNESDAYâ€™S POWERBALL DRAWING?

```Over 40 million                          -150
Under 40 million                         +130```

Per Lotto Report website

### MEGA MILLIONS LOTTERY JACKPOT BETTING ODDS

WILL A JACKPOT WINNING MEGA MILLIONS TICKET BE DRAWN ON TUESDAY?

`Yes                                     +130No                                      -150`

HOW MANY JACKPOT WINNING MEGA MILLIONS TICKETS WILL BE DRAWN ON TUESDAY?

`0                                       -3001                                       +3502                                       +5003                                       +5004 or more                               +1500`

TOTAL NUMBER OF TICKETS SOLD FOR TUESDAY’S MEGA MILLIONS DRAWING?

```Over 38 million                          -150
Under 38 million                         +130```

Per Lotto Report website