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Mega Millions: A Look At The Odds

December 17, 2013, 5:55 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Mega Millions: A Look At The Odds

Would you bet a dollar that you can golf three holes in one in a row?  It turns out, an amateur golfer has better odds at doing that than you have of winning Tuesday's gigantic Mega Millions lottery. 

When lottery jackpots reach these kinds of number, people focus on the prize. But you might want to remember that the odds of matching all of the Mega Millions numbers are just one in 259-million.

So, before you spend your dollar, consider this, you are far more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime. The National Weather Service lists those odds as one in 6,250.

Many high school football players have a dream of going professional, but they know those chances are against them, but still far greater than matching tonight's numbers.  One in every 465 high school football players make it to an NFL roster. 

Having a child is considered by many to be a major life milestone.  More than 100,000 twins are born each year.  However, there's a small chance that you'd have natural quads, or four children, at once without fertility treatment. But at one in 729,000, those odds seem likely compared to winning the lottery. 

Have you ever been sick and thought you might have the plague? According to the Centers for Disease Control, there's a chance that you could have it, but those odds are slim at one in 105-million, which is more than double the likelihood of winning the Mega Millions.

You probably don't know anybody who has been killed by a random part falling from an airplane and striking them, but you guessed it, the chance of that happening is greater than winning the Mega Millions.  Those odds are one in 10-million.

Those are reasons why number crunchers say playing the lottery is as good as throwing away your money, but of course, you can't win if you don't play.

In October, the Mega Millions lottery changed. The number of Mega Balls, which is like the Power Ball, decreased from 46 to 15.  However, the number of white balls increased from 56 to 75.  That change greatly decreased the odds of winning but also creates the type of jackpot that lives up to the Mega Millions name.

For each $1 Mega Millions ticket, 56 cents goes towards prizes, commissions to lottery retailers and ticket printing costs and 22 cents goes to the state. The rest of the money goes to pay for Lottery expenses.

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