Mega Millions: If You’re Going To Try To Win $540 Million, Now May Be The Best Time To Do It

The next Mega Millions drawing is coming on Friday night at 11 p.m., and ticket sales have continued to soar, which has caused the jackpot to jump up to $540 million on Thursday. With the way tickets are being sold, it’s highly likely that the jackpot will be much higher by the time the drawing takes place on Friday. You might as well head out and get a ticket or two because experts believe that now is the best time to play the lottery.

Tuesday night’s drawing was for $454 million and it was the seventh-highest jackpot in the nation’s history, as close to four months had passed without anyone winning. That’s a record 34 Mega Millions drawings without a winner, and that just keeps the jackpot growing.

The winning numbers from Tuesday night were 29, 46, 53, 64, 73, and the Mega Ball was 10.

As the jackpot continues to rise, more and more people are heading out to buy tickets with the hope that they will have a winner.

CNBC believes that right now is the best moment to play the Mega Millions lottery, as mathematical modeling states it is statistically the right time. A historical analysis has been done of public lottery data and it reveals that a larger jackpot doesn’t necessarily mean a better time to play, but actually the opposite.

Still, gamblers and statisticians usually look at the expected value of a payout as to determining whether a bet is worth wagering or not. With $540 million at stake in the Mega Millions on Friday, there is a one in nearly 259 million chance of winning.

According to CNBC, though, one primary variable is often left out of that formula and it’s the probability of winners splitting a jackpot. That variable is directly influenced by the number of tickets purchased and more are being sold almost every minute.

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The more tickets that are in play for the Mega Millions, the higher the probability of seeing multiple winners in the drawing and them splitting the jackpot. That’s a good way to win a share, but the bad thing is that a split will obviously take away from your money if you were the sole winner.

The Los Angeles Times is trying to be a bit more realistic and has done some of its own math to let everyone know that the chance of winning Friday’s drawing is .0000000039 percent. That’s not a very comforting feeling, but it’s still a chance.

Yes, it’s the same stat that was given by CNBC, but seeing the actual percentage is a bit heartbreaking.

Those playing the Mega Millions shouldn’t feel so bad about a roughly one-in-259 million chance of winning Friday’s drawing, though. Anyone playing the Powerball for Saturday’s drawing of $288 million, they only have a one-in-293 million chance.

Some mathematics experts don’t believe even spending a dollar or two is worth the risk. USC mathematics professor Kenneth Alexander tries to break it down so that anyone hoping to win, has an understanding of their chances.

“To have a better than even chance at winning Super Lotto, you’d have to buy 300 tickets a week since the time of Jesus.”

The Mega Millions jackpot currently sits at $540 million and Friday’s drawing could very well make someone extremely wealthy. A lot of experts believe that, mathematically, right now is the best time to play and it could lead to a big payoff. Others feel as if there is just as small a chance now as there always is, and continue to doubt anyone’s chances. Still, someone has to win eventually, and with a jackpot like that, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try.

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]