Odds of winning Friday's Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 259 million
Tulane University says you have a better shot of being killed by an asteroid
$425 million is second-highest Mega Millions pot after $656 million prize in 2012
It used to be a long shot, but now … is there a word for insanely more unlikely than a long shot?
The Mega Millions jumped to $425 million Friday, according to Charles Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. It rolled over for the 20th time after no winner was picked in Tuesday’s drawing.
The beefy payout likely has a Pavlovian effect on regular lottery players, but anyone with a modicum of math proficiency knows he might as well set fire to that $1 bill as spend it on a ticket.
Your odds of getting all six numbers correct for the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 259 million, according to the lottery company. You have more than 1,000 times better chance of an asteroid or comet killing you – and that’s using the long odds, according to Tulane University.
Which is to say, astronomical.
The latest probability is up from the old odds, which were about 1 in 175 million.
Of course, you’d probably have a hard time telling this to the trio from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland who split the record $656 million kitty last year.
It’s worth mentioning that you have a one-in-15 chance of winning something, even if it’s just getting your dollar back, while the odds of winning the second-place $1 million prize (that is, matching five balls but not the megaball) are about 1 in 18.5 million.
Those numbers are hard for the average person to fathom, so maybe it’s easier if we provide you a list of things that are way more likely than collecting a Mega Millions jackpot.
From the Harvard School of Public Health:
• Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million.
• Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million.
From the University of Maryland Medical Center:
• Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000.
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.
• The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 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.
From the National Weather Service:
• The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000.
From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:
• Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalities: 1 in 2 million.
• Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million.
The Mega Millions jackpot numbers will be drawn at 11 p.m. ET Friday.
Good, ahem, luck.