Who Wants to Be a Half Billionaire!? A Review of Historical Mega Millions Numbers


BREAKING NEWS UPDATE 3/30/12: The estimate jackpot for tonight's drawing has skyrocketed to $640 MILLION or a $462 MILLION cash payout! WOAH!

As pretty much everyone knows at this point, tomorrow's Mega Millions jackpot is the largest jackpot in world history. At $540 million, a single winning ticket will make the holder of that ticket a half billionaire, on paper at least. If they took the estimated cash payment of $390 million and paid the roughly 35% in Federal taxes (California and local taxes are don't apply), they, or I should say, I, will have roughly $253 million in cash to play around with. Heck, that's enough money to run for President these days!

I have quite a terrible track record with my Mega Millions tickets. I've never won even a measly $2 Mega number using my strategy of a combination of Quick Picks, birthdates, "lucky" numbers, my IQ, golf score, 5K time, etc. So tonight, given the unprecedented size of tomorrow night's drawing, I took it upon myself to do a statistical analysis of previous winning draws.


The CALottery website provides historical winning Mega Millions numbers going back to June 24, 2005, representing 706 previous drawings. I took that data and populated an Excel spreadsheet. Remember there are 5 winning numbers in each drawing ranging from 1 to 56, and 1 winning Mega number ranging from 1 to 46. Basically you have a 1 in 176 million chance of winning, no matter what numbers you pick. But I thought, maybe it would be smarter of me to take a look at the winners that won and didn't win most frequently. So I did.

The results of this exercise are as follows:

Number 48 is a winning number standout, having been selected 83 times, or 11.8%, of the last 706 Mega Millons draws. That is 9 times more than the next two lucky numbers, 36 and 53, which were both selected 74 times during that same period. These were closely followed by 12 and 51 (72 wins), 27, 31 and 52 (71 wins) and 14 (70 wins). Noticeably absent from this top nine list are single-digit numbers. Well, 2 had 69 wins and 4, 5 and 9 had 68 wins, so they aren't too far behind. But bottom line here is, perhaps the number 48 should be closely considered.

The least frequently picked winning numbers were 41 (48 wins), 49 (quite coincidentally 49 wins), followed by 47 (50 wins), 37 (51 wins) and 55, 34 and 6 (52 wins). I do find it interesting that 47 and 49, both perennial losers, sandwich 48, the biggest winner.

On the Mega number side, the clear winner, with 25 wins in the last 706 draws, is number 36. Good ole #36 was followed by 9 (6 wins) and 7 and 35 (20 wins). If you truly want to win something, anything, in the Mega Millions, perhaps your best bet is to pick 36 for your Mega number each time, as statistically it hits around every 28 draws. Hitting the Mega with no other winning numbers gets you a whopping $2. Yippee!

The least frequently winning Mega numbers were 28 (a lousy 6 wins in 706 draws), 32 (10 wins) and 46, 14 and 1 (11 wins).

Now just you watch...all the losing numbers above will hit tomorrow. That always happens. But as statisticians say, each draw is independent of the others and thus the odds of choosing the winning numbers technically DO NOT CHANGE from draw to draw. Thus, while you may or may not find interest in this statistical information, I'd advise you rely upon it solely for its amusement value.

Shown below is the winning number information for all numbers sorted by most to least wins over the last 706 Mega Millions draws. Good luck to all and make sure to CONTACT ME if you win THE BIG ONE tomorrow!!

Winning Numbers Sorted by Frequency in Last 706 Mega Millions Draws


Winning MEGA Numbers Sorted by Frequency in Last 706 Mega Millions Draws


More on the California Lottery, including the retailers who have sold the most million dollar winning tickets, at THIS LINK.