Michigan data scientist breaks down your odds of winning the $900M Mega Millions jackpot

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 06:25:16-04

Lior Shamir is a data scientist that lives for numbers. Today, he's breaking down what it would take to win the Mega Millions lottery, now up 900 million dollars. 

It’s the second largest lottery in U.S. history, which Shamir says means our odds of winning are getting smaller, not bigger. 

He says if you want to guarantee yourself a win, you’d have to submit 302 million guesses to cover every possible 5- number combination that exists. 

The problem? At two dollars a ticket, that would cost you more than 600 million dollars. 

But what about the average player throwing in their hat?

As you'd imagine, he says the odds are terribly small. He says if you buy one ticket, you’re 450 times more likely to get hit by lightning this year alone. 

If you buy ten tickets, you’re still 45 times more likely to get hit by lightning. 

That said, the more you buy, the better your odds. So what’s a good number of tickets to grab? He says to buy as many as you can without noticing. 

In other words, if it's going to eat into your grocery budget, don't do it. 

And it's okay if you can't buy hundreds of tickets. Even though the odds are against you, luck may be with you.  Friday's drawing is at 11 pm. Ticket sales will stop at 10:45 pm.