Photo: Flickr / Frank Roche
Everyone’s getting swept up in this week’s Mega Millions frenzy, gushing about what they’d do if they won the jackpot. But what if they got lucky and had to split the prize?
Sure, they’d be winners, but some prizes—like the largest jackpot in the game’s history—are better kept to yourself.
To lower the odds of this happening, we tapped Duke University professor of public policy Philip Cook for pointers.
“You don’t want to bet a combination of numbers that is likely to be bet by other people,” he says. “The idea is to win with an unusual combination.”
There are two ways to bet against the grain: Do your homework and look for regularities in betting patterns, or resist temptation by not picking whatever numbers occur to you. Let’s take a closer look at option 2.
“Most people tend to choose their own numbers, rather than use the Quick Pick, and they’ll tend to use numbers that are familiar to them,” says Cook, noting birthdays are popular. “These tend to be lower numbers that are below 25 or 30. The higher end of the range (per Mega Millions, you choose 5 different numbers 1-56, then an Easy Pick from 1-46) is included less often.”
So there you have it. You can’t affect the likelihood you’ll win, but you can work the numbers in your favour to affect how much you’ll share.
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