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How to increase your chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot

With a $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs Tuesday night, lottery players across the country are no doubt looking for any edge they can get.

Disclaimer: Your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, no matter which numbers you pick or where you buy your tickets.

Mathematicians say the simplest way to increase your odds is to buy more tickets.

Think about it: Two tickets give you twice the chance (though your odds are still minimal), and buying 100 million tickets would give you a 100 million chances (but you could still lose, and lose $200 million in the process).

Whatever you do, don’t overspend.

Mega Millions reminds players that gambling can be addictive and very damaging.

The information below is presented solely for entertainment purposes only, and the E.W. Scripps Co. is not responsible for any losses incurred by using the following tips.

Most Frequently Drawn Numbers

The website LottoNumbers.com has analyzed all 2,235 Mega Millions draws since the first draw on September 6, 1996, and determined which Mega Millions numbers have been drawn most frequently. Mega Millions picks numbers from two pools: the first five are drawn from numbers 1 through 70, and the last ball is drawn from 1 through 25. To win the jackpot, you must pick all six winning numbers.

The most-frequently drawn Mega Millions numbers are:

  • 2 – drawn 219 times
  • 17 – drawn 218 times
  • 31 – drawn 218 times
  • 39 – drawn 214 times
  • 4 – drawn 212 times
  • 46 – drawn 212 times

The website also has a list on the most “overdue” numbers – the numbers which have gone the longest without being drawn:

  • 36 – last picked 153 days ago
  • 55 – last picked 146 days ago
  • 58 – last picked 146 days ago
  • 5 – last picked 132 days ago
  • 37- last picked 129 days ago
  • 50 – last picked 108 days ago

As any roulette player knows –a number being picked more or less frequently has no bearing on the likelihood it will be picked next. Statistically, every number has the same chance of being drawn next.

‘Luckiest’ Lottery Vendors

Ohio has had 19 Mega Millions jackpot winners since 2003, according to lottery officials. Officials provided the following list of the Cleveland-area stores that have sold a jackpot-winning ticket, who won and how that ticket was sold:

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2013: $41 million winning ticket sold at Deli 4 Less, Westlake. Manual pick ticket. This prize was claimed in trust by John P. Thomas, trustee of The March Madness Trust. The ticket holder chose the cash option.
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 2011: $99 million jackpot prize sold at Speedway in Jefferson, OH. The win was claimed by a work pool from KraftMaid in Middlefield. Auto pick ticket. The group chose the cash option.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010: $25-million jackpot prize sold at Marc’s #67 in Broadview Heights, OH. The win was claimed by the Gravina Island Trust, Matthew F. Kadish, trustee. Auto pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.
  • Friday, Jan. 6, 2006. $15 million jackpot sold at Chuck’s Carryout, Norwalk. Winning ticket claimed by Providence Blind Trust, John E. Rosino, trustee. Manual pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.
  • Friday, June 3, 2005. Emery Food Mart, Warrenville Heights. $106 million jackpot prize claimed by The Kevin G. Robertson Declaration of Trust, Kevin G. Robertson, trustee. Auto pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003. Rebecca Jones-Jemison of South Euclid wins $162 million. Ticket purchased at Quick Shop Food Mart, South Euclid. Manual pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.

Tips from a Lottery Winner

One of the biggest lottery authorities is Richard Lustig, the Florida man who claims he won seven lottery jackpots. He is now getting rich — not from lotteries — but from his book, “Learn to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery.”

If you don’t want to spend the money for his book, he has some basic suggestions:

  • Play the same numbers every drawing (but read why some experts say this is bad advice).
  • Never buy fewer than 10 tickets.
  • If they are random numbers, buy them in a row and from the same machine.
  • Set a budget, and do not exceed it, no matter how big the drawing.
  • Never spend your rent or grocery money on tickets.

However, it is now easier than ever to go over budget, due to more and more states accepting credit cards.

Until recently you had to line up in a convenience store and bring plenty of cash with you to buy a ticket. But states are now making it easier than ever to buy tickets, by allowing you to buy them with a credit card, minus the line.

WCPO’s John Matarese contributed to this report.

With a $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs Tuesday night, lottery players across the country are no doubt looking for any edge they can get.

Mega Millions Lottery Tips

Mega Millions Stats

  • Odds: 1 in 302,575,350
  • Mega Millions Jackpot:
    Minimum $40 million
  • Pick Size: Pick-5 + Pick-1 Powerball type
  • How to Play Mega Millions:
    Choose 5 numbers 1-70 and 1 number 1-25
  • Where to Play Mega Millions:
    45 States, DC, and U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Drawings: Tuesdays and Fridays
  • Price: $2
  • How to Win Mega Millions: Match all 5 winning numbers and the Mega ball number
  • Official Website:Mega Millions Lottery
  • Advantage Gold History File:MM0570.slh

About Mega Millions

Mega Millions is a popular multi-state lottery which currently has a 5/70+1/25 number format, since October 31, 2017. Like Powerball, this is a big jackpot game that must have bad odds of winning in order to create lotto prizes in the hundreds of millions to close to a billion dollars range.

History of Mega Millions

When it started in May 2002, Mega Millions replaced the Big Game lottery. First Mega Millions copies Powerball’s game format, then tries to replace it as America’s Favorite Lottery Game. In an effort to top the Powerball jackpots, the new Mega Millions lottery has increased the jackpot odds by 40 percent—and added more states to the mix.

Game Start Date Number Format Mega Ball Jackpot odds
Big Game 09/06/1996 5/50 1/25 1:52,969,000
Big Game 01/13/1999 5/50 1/36 1:76,275,360
Mega Millions 05/15/2002 5/52 1/52 1:135,145,920
Mega Millions 06/22/2005 5/56 1/46 1:175,711,536
Mega Millions 10/19/2013 5/75 1/15 1:258,890,850
Mega Millions 10/28/2017 (current) 5/70 1/25 1:302,575,350

Learn More About the Mega Millions Game

Odds of Winning Mega Millions

What are your chances of winning the Mega Millions? The odds of winning all those hundreds of millions are one in 302,575,350 (most recently up from 1:258,890,850). When you realize that the entire population of the United States is over 323 million and the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 303 million, it is a mystery why anyone would buy a lottery ticket for this game and have any expectation of winning the jackpot. (If the jackpot IS hit too often for the Mega Millions lottery officials, the next name change will probably be MEGA BILLIONS! The highest jackpot on record for this game was already more than half a billion!)

The odds of winning second prize for $1,000,000 are one in 12.6 million — which is about the same as the first prize jackpot odds of a 6/48 game. So, the ROB (Return On Bet) is very poor for the other prize categories as well. Your overall chances of winning any prize are 1 in 24. But, this is still a very popular game due to the draw of very high jackpots.

How to Play Mega Millions

To play Mega Millions, a lotto player chooses five numbers (White Balls) from 70 numbers, and then selects one Gold MEGA Ball number from 1 to 25. Each game play on a ticket now costs $2, just like its biggest competition, Powerball. Drawings are held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

In Texas and most other locations, you can also choose to pay an addition $1 per game to multiply any non-jackpot prizes by 2x, 3x, or 4x with the Megaplier to increase your smaller winnings. The Kicker is another extra $1 option, but it is available only to players in Ohio.

Mega Millions players in some states have an extra ticket option called “Just the Jackpot.” For $3 players will get two chances instead of one to win the top prize. The catch is that the player is ineligible to win any of the many smaller prizes.

You can buy a Mega Millions ticket from an official ticket dealer in any of the states participating in MEGA Millions:
Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Winning the Mega Millions Jackpot

The Mega Millions jackpot now starts at $40 million, but most often grows from that into a very large jackpot since the game is played in so many states and is so difficult to win. Jackpots increase by a minimum of $5 million each time there is no winner. Jackpots in the hundreds of millions of dollars range are not uncommon for Mega Millions and will likely become larger more frequently with these new game changes.

Mega Millions currently holds the world record for both the largest jackpot ($1.6 BILLION on 10/23/18) and the largest lottery prize won by a single ticket. Powerball had the previous record with its $1.5 Billion jackpot.

In addition to the lotto jackpot, there are eight other ways to win Mega Millions in prize categories from $2 (Mega Ball only) to $1,000,000 (for 5 numbers matched without the Mega Ball). You can win a Mega Millions prize just for matching the Mega Ball alone, and prizes increase the more regular number winners you match with the Mega Ball. Or, match three or more 5/70 numbers to win prizes without the Mega Ball.

Mega Millions Lottery Tips Mega Millions Stats Odds: 1 in 302,575,350 Mega Millions Jackpot: Minimum $40 million Pick Size: Pick-5 + Pick-1 Powerball type How to