Mega Millions vs Powerball Odds

By Milo Cruz
Last Updated: May 6, 2019

We all know that winning the lottery is mostly a game of luck, right? So how do you become a better player? Well, by choosing the games with better odds. You can try other fancy strategies with varying degrees of success, but ultimately, any lottery is a game of statistics.

In this quick comparison between two of our favorite lotteries, we'll look at the odds of winning Mega Millions vs Powerball. Is one better than the other? How do the prizes compare? And what are your chances of winning?

Read on to find out.

Mega Millions vs Powerball Odds

Mega Millions and Powerball feature a similar game structure. For both games, every drawing includes five main balls drawn from one pool of numbers, and an additional ball drawn from another pool of numbers.

For Mega Millions, the first five balls are drawn from a pool of 70 balls, and the extra ball (called the Mega Ball) is drawn from a pool of 25. For Powerball, the first five balls are drawn from a pool of 69, while the extra Powerball is drawn from one of 24.

These slight differences in the pool sizes are what gives the two games different odds of winning.

Below is a quick overview of how the two games compare in terms of prize payouts and their respective odds.

Mega Millions
(overall odds 1 in 24)
(overall odds 1 in 25)
Match Prize Odds Prize Odds
5 + 1 Jackpot 1 in 302,575,350 Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
5 $1 million 1 in 12,607,306 $1 million 1 in 11,688,054
4 + 1 $10,000 1 in 931,001 $50,000 1 in 913,129
4 $500 1 in 38,792 $100 1 in 36,525
3 + 1 $200 1 in 14,547 $100 1 in 14,494
3 $10 1 in 606 $7 1 in 580
2 + 1 $10 1 in 693 $7 1 in 701
1 + 1 $4 1 in 89 $4 1 in 92
0 + 1 $2 1 in 37 $4 1 in 38

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

When you look at the top three prize tiers, playing Powerball's odds appear far more attractive. Powerball's third level (4+1) prize is 5 times that of Mega Millions', and even has better odds of winning.

As you go down the prize tiers, however, playing Mega Millions starts to look like the better game. The statistics show that overall, you'll have more Mega Millions wins than Powerball – though realistically, not by much.

We've done the math on two separate posts for both Mega Millions and Powerball odds.

Powerball vs Mega Millions – Which one should you play?

As far as US lotteries go, things don't get any bigger than Mega Millions or Powerball. They're two of the most popular games you can play, and it's not hard to see why – especially since the jackpot is a guaranteed $40 million. Most of the time, it goes much higher! They also cost the same at $2 per play.

So now, you might be wondering: if you had to choose which one to play, which would it be?

Well, the odds show that Mega Millions vs Powerball are equally lucrative. They each have pros and cons. On one hand, you'll have better odds when it comes to the top prizes with Powerball. But when it comes to the more statistically-attainable prizes, Mega Millions has the slight edge.

Overall, we'd say pick the one that's more convenient for you to play. And if it's possible, why not just play both of them anyway? Check out some of our highly-recommended lottery sites for more information.