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Can you give yourself a better chance to win the massive Mega Millions jackpot?

Steve Garagiola breaks down science of lottery drawing

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DETROIT – A $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot is up for grabs Tuesday night, as the drawing will be for the largest prize in history.

By the time the winning numbers are drawn, more than 300 million Mega Millions tickets will have been sold. There's a pretty good chance somebody is going to win, but what are the odds for a single person?

With one ticket, the chance of winning is one-in-302.5 million, and that doesn't change, no matter how many people play.

Can you improve your chances by playing certain numbers? Luck, karma and divine intervention aside, you really can't.

The reality is whether you play family birthdays, easy pick or even choose 1-2-3-4-5-6, every combination has the same probability of winning.

But there are numbers that come up more often than others. In the last 100 drawings, the number 1 has come up most frequently -- 18 times. Two, 28 and 70 are the next most frequently seen numbers.

The numbers that come up the least frequently are 9, 36, 50, 57 and 63. They've all popped up fewer than three times.

Is it possible to guarantee winning the jackpot? The answer is yes. To do so, you would need to buy 292 million combinations, and since a credit card can't be used to buy lottery tickets, you would need $6 million in cash. At a rate of one combination per second, it would take eight years to print the tickets.


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