(NEXSTAR) – It’s been nearly three months since a Mega Millions ticket matched all six numbers to claim the game’s top prize, allowing the jackpot to grow to a record-setting $1.35 billion ahead of Friday’s drawing.
Maybe you’re ready to try your lucky numbers in the hopes of claiming the second-largest prize in Mega Millions history. But do those numbers really stand a chance?
There are some numbers that are drawn more frequently than others. According to the Wisconsin Lottery’s Mega Millions number frequencies tracker, since the game’s main ball pool changed from 75 to 70 in late October 2017, the top five most frequently-drawn white balls are 14, 17, 31, 10, and 38 (one of these numbers was just drawn on Tuesday). The most frequently-drawn gold Mega Balls over the same time period are 22, 11, 9, 18, and 24 (again, one of these balls was pulled Tuesday).
Since the last jackpot was won on October 14, a slightly different set of numbers have been drawn more frequently. For the main balls, these five have been drawn the most: 15, 46, 20, 13, and 59 (two were in Tuesday’s drawing). Among the gold Mega Balls, these numbers have been the most common: 18, 22, 6, 7, and 13.
According to the Wisconsin Lottery’s tracker, there are 13 numbers that haven’t been drawn since the last jackpot was claimed: 10, 11, 12, 26, 27, 39, 42, 49, 50, 57, 60, 64, and 65. Of the 25 Mega Balls, 10 haven’t been drawn since October 14: 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 12, 14, 15, 20, and 24.
Of these, Mega Millions statistics tracking website Mega-Millions.com says 49, 42, 10, 12, 27, and 57, and Mega Balls 5 and 24, are the most “overdue,” meaning they haven’t been drawn in the longest amount of time.
Will selecting any combination of these numbers really increase your chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot? Likely not.
All combinations have the same chance of winning, according to Rong Chen, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Statistics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Even the combination of numbers drawn Tuesday have an equal chance of being drawn again Friday.
You can, however, select numbers other players would be less likely to choose. Chen suggests numbers larger than 31 (this helps to avoid birthdays) or those on the edges and corners of the ticket form. While this won’t increase your chances at the jackpot, it can decrease your chances of splitting the prize with another player.
However, if you have an extra $600 million laying around, you could purchase nearly every possible number combination and increase your own odds of winning the jackpot. But, since the Mega Millions jackpot has an estimated cash value of nearly $708 million, you’d really be spending almost all of your winnings before you have them, while running the risk of having to split the jackpot with another winner.
Regardless of your odds (which are the same as everyone else’s), it’s important to play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Hotline.
The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET Friday. Mega Millions is played in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Tickets are $2 and there are a total of nine ways to win a prize.