Mega Millions Odds: What Are The Chances Of Winning The Mega Millions?

By Milo Cruz
Last Updated: June 7, 2020

The lottery is mostly a game of luck. However, there are strategies you can use to improve your chances of winning, and one of them is to simply play the games with better odds.

In this article, we'll take a look at what your odds of winning Mega Millions are. We'll show you the numbers behind one of the biggest lotteries out there, complete with all the relevant formulas and statistics.


Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In:

What are the odds of winning the Mega Millions?

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 302,575,350 to 1. That represents a single ticket out of a possible 300+ million possible winning combinations.

That's huge number, no doubt. And unless you have the $600 million it would take for you to buy every possible number combination, then Mega Millions odds aren't really going to work in your favor. (That strategy has its fair share of problems as well.)

Mega Millions Odds Math and Calculations

So where exactly did those numbers come from? Well, in this section we'll go over the math behind the Mega Millions. Don't worry. We've simplified the concepts so it should be easy to follow along. Hopefully by the end of this article, you'll be able to compute for your odds of winning any lottery.

Now whip out those calculators because it's time for some calculations!

To find the number of possible winning draw combinations for Mega Millions, you need to account for the five white balls and the golden Mega Ball.

Since the five white balls are drawn from a pool of 70, there are 70 possible numbers for the first ball. For the second ball, there will be 69 left in the pool. For the third ball, 68, and then so on until the fifth.

To represent that as a math equation, we can write that as:

70*69*68*67*66 = 1,452,361,680 possible white ball combinations

Next, keep in mind that the specific order of numbers isn't important. You can win with {1,2,3,4,5} or {3,2,5,4,1}, so we have to remove the “redundant” combinations from the pool to find the correct odds.

To do that, simply divide the number of possible combinations with the number of possible orders in which 5 numbers can be drawn, which can be computed similarly like this:

5*4*3*2*1 = 120 possible orders for a set of 5 numbers

Or you can express the entire computation as this:Mega Millions odds formula mathPunch those numbers into your calculator and you’ll have 12,103,014.

Next, to find the odds for the golden Mega Ball, we just need the size of the pool. Since only one ball from separate pool of 25 numbers is drawn, the chance of a match is simply 1 in 25.

The final step is then to divide our previous number with this probability. Or you can write it like this:Mega Millions odds formula mathThis will give you 302,575,350. And that's it! Now you have the number of possible winning draw combinations.

So what are my chances of winning the Mega Millions?

1 in 302,575,350 to be exact, but that’s only for the minimum grand prize of $40 million.

The math we showed you in the previous section shows us that there are over 300 million possible draws, and that's what the chances of winning are if you only play one set of numbers.

You can obviously improve your chances of winning if you buy more tickets and play different combinations, but unless you're willing to shell out thousands, it won't have any significant effect.

Additionally, you can also shoot for the lower prize tiers, which are still pretty rewarding. Overall, your winning chances with Mega Millions aren't too bad, though. There's a 1 in 24 probability that you can earn any prize. More on that below.


Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions Odds and Prizes Chart

Similar to most lotteries, Mega Millions also rewards people whose tickets match some, but not all, of the numbers in a draw. Aside from the top prize, there are 8 other prize tiers. Naturally, the odds of winning for the secondary prizes are much better.

Here's a handy table of each Mega Millions prize tier and your odds of winning:

Match Prize Odds
5 main numbers + Mega Ball Jackpot 1 in 302,575,350
5 main numbers $1 Million 1 in 12,607,306
4 main numbers + Mega Ball $10,000 1 in 931,001
4 main numbers $500 1 in 38,792
3 main numbers + Mega Ball $200 1 in 14,547
3 main numbers $10 1 in 606
2 main numbers + Mega Ball $10 1 in 693
1 main number + Mega Ball $4 1 in 89
Mega Ball $2 1 in 37

Figures in this chart are rounded to the nearest one, and are based on a single $2 play.

Mega Millions Megaplier

Mega Millions also features a multiplier feature called the Megaplier. It's an additional mode you can activate for an additional $1. It lets you multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to 5 times!

Basically, every Mega Millions drawing has a separate drawing that determines the Megaplier multiplier. There are 15 numbered balls, and each is marked with a number from 2× to 5×. Here's a prize chart for quick reference:

Odds 1 in 3 (5 out of 15) 1 in 2.5 (6 out of 15) 1 in 5 (3 out of 15) 1 in 15 (1 out of 15)
5 main numbers $2 million $3 million $4 million $5 million
4 main numbers + Mega Ball $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000
4 main numbers $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $2,500
3 main numbers + Mega Ball $400 $600 $800 $1,000
3 main numbers $20 $30 $40 $50
2 main numbers + Mega Ball $20 $30 $40 $50
1 main numbers + Mega Ball $8 $12 $16 $20
Mega Ball $4 $6 $8 $10

If you're just looking to earn any prize, not just the jackpot, then your Mega Millions chances don't seem so slim. Who knows, you could end up like Shane Missler or the mystery $1.53 Billion winner from South Carolina – both of whom are among the biggest winners in Mega Millions history!

Can you calculate for your Mega Millions odds using the formula we discussed above? Try applying the concepts above to compute for the odds of any lottery. You can also use our lottery odds calculator to get started.

Finally, if you were lucky enough to actually win the jackpot and want to compute your tax liability, you can do so with our Mega Millions tax calculator.