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How to increase your chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot

Posted at 3:19 PM, Oct 22, 2018

With a $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot up for grabs Tuesday night, lottery players across the country are no doubt looking for any edge they can get.

Disclaimer: Your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, no matter which numbers you pick or where you buy your tickets.

Mathematicians say the simplest way to increase your odds is to buy more tickets. 

Think about it: Two tickets give you twice the chance (though your odds are still minimal), and buying 100 million tickets would give you a 100 million chances (but you could still lose, and lose $200 million in the process).

Whatever you do, don't overspend. 

Mega Millions reminds players that gambling can be addictive and very damaging. 

The information below is presented solely for entertainment purposes only, and the E.W. Scripps Co. is not responsible for any losses incurred by using the following tips. 

Most Frequently Drawn Numbers

The website has analyzed all 2,235 Mega Millions draws since the first draw on September 6, 1996, and determined which Mega Millions numbers have been drawn most frequently. Mega Millions picks numbers from two pools: the first five are drawn from numbers 1 through 70, and the last ball is drawn from 1 through 25. To win the jackpot, you must pick all six winning numbers.

The most-frequently drawn Mega Millions numbers are:

  • 2 – drawn 219 times
  • 17 – drawn 218 times
  • 31 – drawn 218 times
  • 39 – drawn 214 times
  • 4 – drawn 212 times
  • 46 – drawn 212 times

The website also has a list on the most “overdue” numbers – the numbers which have gone the longest without being drawn:

  • 36 – last picked 153 days ago
  • 55 - last picked 146 days ago
  • 58 – last picked 146 days ago
  • 5 – last picked 132 days ago
  • 37- last picked 129 days ago
  • 50 – last picked 108 days ago

As any roulette player knows –a number being picked more or less frequently has no bearing on the likelihood it will be picked next. Statistically, every number has the same chance of being drawn next.

‘Luckiest’ Lottery Vendors

Ohio has had 19 Mega Millions jackpot winners since 2003, according to lottery officials. Officials provided the following list of the Cleveland-area stores that have sold a jackpot-winning ticket, who won and how that ticket was sold:

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2013:  $41 million winning ticket sold at Deli 4 Less, Westlake.  Manual pick ticket.   This prize was claimed in trust by John P. Thomas, trustee of The March Madness Trust. The ticket holder chose the cash option.
  • Friday, Aug. 5, 2011:  $99 million jackpot prize sold at Speedway in Jefferson, OH.  The win was claimed by a work pool from KraftMaid in Middlefield. Auto pick ticket. The group chose the cash option.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010:  $25-million jackpot prize sold at Marc’s #67 in Broadview Heights, OH.  The win was claimed by the Gravina Island Trust, Matthew F. Kadish, trustee. Auto pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.
  • Friday, Jan. 6, 2006. $15 million jackpot sold at Chuck’s Carryout, Norwalk. Winning ticket claimed by Providence Blind Trust, John E. Rosino, trustee.  Manual pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.
  • Friday, June 3, 2005.  Emery Food Mart, Warrenville Heights.  $106 million jackpot prize claimed by The Kevin G. Robertson Declaration of Trust, Kevin G. Robertson, trustee.  Auto pick ticket.  The winner chose the cash option.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003. Rebecca Jones-Jemison of South Euclid wins $162 million. Ticket purchased at Quick Shop Food Mart, South Euclid. Manual pick ticket. The winner chose the cash option.

Tips from a Lottery Winner

One of the biggest lottery authorities is Richard Lustig, the Florida man who claims he won seven lottery jackpots. He is now getting rich -- not from lotteries -- but from his book, "Learn to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery."

If you don't want to spend the money for his book, he has some basic suggestions:

  • Play the same numbers every drawing (but read why some experts say this is bad advice).
  • Never buy fewer than 10 tickets.
  • If they are random numbers, buy them in a row and from the same machine.
  • Set a budget, and do not exceed it, no matter how big the drawing.
  • Never spend your rent or grocery money on tickets.

However, it is now easier than ever to go over budget, due to more and more states accepting credit cards.

Until recently you had to line up in a convenience store and bring plenty of cash with you to buy a ticket. But states are now making it easier than ever to buy tickets, by allowing you to buy them with a credit card, minus the line.

WCPO's John Matarese contributed to this report.