The Mega Millions jackpot was hit on Friday night, with a cool $190 million prize being split between a ticket in New Jersey and another one in Virginia. If you whiffed, you’ve got a chance for a much bigger win tonight in the drawing for the record-breaking $600 million Powerball jackpot.
The winning Mega Millions numbers drawn last night were 11, 15, 35, 43,and 49. The Mega Ball was 41. So if that’s your ticket, come on down.
Even if you take the cash pay-out instead of an annuity over time — and winners usually do — it’s $70 million apiece for the lucky winners.
Tonight’s Powerball jackpot will be the largest ever offered, for a cool $600 million annuity. A cash option reaches almost $377 million.
As I previously reported, by doubling the price of tickets to $2, Powerball has been able to provide $200 million or more jackpots at a record-setting pace. “There’s a lot of dead money in the pot now,” a New Orleans player told me.
“Dead money” is the extra fat that comes from people who bought tickets that have already lost, inflating the size of the bloated pot.
That player has already advised me to buy. However, The Wall Street Journal offered a more sobering view.
Their report yesterday said that the odds of winning Powerball are 1 in 175 million. The best time to play, according to them, is when the pot is $493 million or better — a target the Powerball has already reached.
But your odds are still terrible.
By comparison, if you live 80 years, you have a one in 10,000 chance of being hit by lightning — about a one in a million chance each year.
In other words, you’re by far more likely to get hit by a thunderbolt from the heavens than to win either the Powerball jackpot or Mega Millions.
[going for the money photo by Ersler Dmitry via Shutterstock]