Lottery Numbers Compared

Lottery numbers are the stuff that dreams are made of for millions of lottery players worldwide, but did you know that lottery numbers can tell you a lot about your chances of a win? Not all lottery games are equal, and while we would all like to land the biggest win possible, these tend to be offered in the games that are actually difficult to win.

The quantity of numbers used in a game plays a vital role in determining the odds of you picking the winning lottery numbers. The basic rule is simple: the fewer numbers there are to choose from, and the fewer numbers you have to select, the better.

We can see this when comparing the Powerball, Mega Millions, and Lotto America games:

  • Mega Millions requires players to select five main numbers from the range 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from the range 1 to 25. This makes the odds of matching all six numbers 1 in 302,575,350.
     
  • Powerball requires players to select five main numbers from the range 1 to 69, plus one Powerball number from the range 1 to 26. The odds of matching all six selected numbers are 1 in 292,201,338.
     
  • Lotto America requires players to select five main numbers from the range 1 to 52 and one Star Ball number from the range 1 to 10. This makes the odds of matching all six numbers 1 in 25,989,600.

You will note that in these games, the task of the player is to select six lottery numbers. But because each game varies in the range of numbers a player can choose from, the odds of success also vary.

As you can see, Mega Millions, with the largest range of numbers to choose from, has the largest odds at over 300 million. Powerball isn't far behind at 292 million. By contrast, Lotto America has (relatively) smaller odds at 25 million, due to its smaller range of numbers a player can select from (1 to 52 for the five main numbers and 1 to 10 for the Star Ball).

There is always a trade-off you need to take into consideration as a player between the size of the jackpot and the odds of winning. Mega Millions and Powerball have much higher jackpots, but Lotto America has somewhat better odds.

Knowing the chances of us succeeding in selecting winning lottery numbers is very useful, because it helps us to choose our games more carefully. People who want to stand a chance of joining the richest people in the world and buy a private plane or two would obviously want to focus on games like Powerball and Mega Millions.


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