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Mega Millions odds explained: From the monster $1 billion jackpot to 8 smaller prizes

The odds of winning a Mega Millions prize range from 24 to 1 to more than 302 million to 1. MegaMillions.com

The odds of hitting Friday’s $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot are astronomical and the chances of winning a far smaller lottery prize are fairly low too, but that’s part of the fun of dreaming big.

The overall odds of winning something after buying a $2 Mega Millions lottery ticket are 24 to 1.

To begin with there are two sets of Mega Millions balls. Five white balls are drawn out of a drum containing 70 balls. Then one gold Mega ball is drawn out of a second drum with 25 balls.

Players can increase their prize amounts by spending an extra $1 for the Megaplier option to wins two, three, four or on rare occasions five times as much. The Megaplier only applies to non-jackpot prizes.

The Mega Ball – $2

Let’s start with the small prizes.

The odds of your ticket matching only the gold Mega Ball is 37 to 1. On a single $2 ticket purchase, that’s a break even.

1 number plus the Meg Ball – $4

There’s a 1 in 89 chance your $2 gamble will net you $4 — a $2 profit.

2 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $10

It’s a 693 to 1 shot to buy a ticket containing two numbers and the Mega Ball but the payout is a scant $10.

3 numbers – still $10

If your ticket matched three of the five white balls, you still win just $10. The odds of hitting three numbers, but not the Powerball are a tad better than matching two numbers plus the Mega Ball — 606 to 1.

3 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $200

The good news is that the prize amount has finally reached triple digits – $200. Far less encouraging are that the odds of buying a ticket matching three numbers plus the Mega Ball are 14,547 to 1.

These are the biggest winning lottery jackpots in U.S. history and where the upcoming Mega Millions drawing will rank if a winning ticket is sold. Len Melisurgo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

4 numbers – $500

A ticket that matches four numbers but not Mega Ball is one numbers away from winning serious money, but only gets you $500. It’s a 1 in 38,792 shot to be that fortunate, though.

4 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $10,000

The prize climbs all the way to winning $10,000 if you manage to beat the roughly 931,001 to 1 odds and match four numbers plus the Mega Ball.

Nine third-prize tickets were sold in New Jersey for Tuesday’s drawing. One is worth $20,000 because it was bought with the Megaplier option; the other is valued at $20,000.

5 numbers – $1 million

The life-changing money begins at this prize level. All you have to do to win at least $1 million is match the numbers on the five white balls drawn, but not the Mega Ball. Good luck overcoming the 12,607,306 to 1 odds, though.

Two lottery players in New Jersey beat those odds for Tuesday’s drawing — one in Atlantic City and Somerville — and won $1 million apiece.

Mega Millions jackpot – Big money time

The dream for any lottery player is hitting the jackpot. The odds of buying a ticket that matches all five numbers and the Mega Millions are a ridiculous 302,575,350 to 1.

Thirty-six twice weekly drawings have been held since Adrian Tongson of Racine, Wisc. hit the $119 Mega Millions jackpot on Sep. 15. He claimed the cash prize of $95.4 million on Nov. 10.

If someone hits the jackpot Friday, it will be the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. The cash option for Friday’s drawing is $739.6 million.

Two Mega Millions jackpots were won in the Garden State last year — $202 million in Edison on February 11 and $123 million in Bayonne on July 24.

This evening drawing will be held at 10:59 p.m. and televised on WABC-7 in New York City and Fox 29 in Philadelphia. NJ.com will publish the winning numbers immediately following the conclusion of the drawing.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each and in New Jersey must be bought by 10:45 p.m. on the evening of the drawing. The game is played in 45 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JGoldmanNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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Mega Millions odds explained: From the monster $1 billion jackpot to 8 smaller prizes The odds of winning a Mega Millions prize range from 24 to 1 to more than 302 million to 1. MegaMillions.com

Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot is the third largest in US history. The winning ticket was sold in Michigan.

Mega Millions and Powerball are approaching record numbers. Here’s what the winner could buy if they hit the jackpot. USA TODAY

If you purchased a Mega Millions ticket from Michigan, pay close attention.

The $1 billion jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket, the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history, was sold in Michigan, according to the Mega Millions website. Friday’s winning numbers were 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and Mega Ball 24.

The Mega Millions top prize had been growing since Sept. 15, when a winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin.

The fifth-largest lottery jackpot in the country’s history was claimed Wednesday. The $731.1 million Powerball jackpot was won in Maryland, with a cash-only payout for that massive prize worth $546 million.

The winning numbers in Tuesday’s $865 million Mega Millions drawing were 10, 19, 26, 28, 50 and Mega Ball 16. The cash-only lump sum was $638.8 million. Eleven tickets matched five numbers, according to the Mega Millions website, including a pair of $2 million winners in Florida.

The odds of someone winning the Mega Millions are 1 in 302,575,350.

Statisticians in various news reports tried to encapsulate the long odds of winning Friday’s coveted jackpot. Ronald L. Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, told USA TODAY, “Humans are not naturally equipped to understand such big numbers.”

Steven Bleiler, a mathematics and statistics professor at Portland State University, told the Associated Press people should imagine a swimming pool 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and 5 feet deep, filled with M&Ms, only one of which is green. To win, all a player must do is jump in blindfolded and wade around until finding the single green M&M.

Or perhaps try Wasserstein’s example: Stand on the corner of a football field and start laying out dollar bills until you’ve placed 302,575,350 of them: That’ll take up about 585 football fields, he said.

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller and Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.

The Mega Millions jackpot on Friday was worth an estimated $1 billion, making it the third-largest jackpot in U.S. history. ]]>