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How many Mega Millions tickets to buy to increase odds?

The Mega Millions lottery draws twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, offering some of the biggest jackpots in the world. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are incredibly low at just 1 in 302.6 million. This means buying a single Mega Millions ticket gives you only a miniscule chance of taking home the top prize. However, there are ways you can significantly increase your odds by buying more tickets.

Mega Millions Odds Breakdown

To understand how buying multiple tickets improves your Mega Millions odds, it’s important to first look at the game’s odds breakdown:

  • Odds of winning the jackpot: 1 in 302.6 million
  • Odds of winning $1 million (by matching 5 numbers but missing the Mega Ball): 1 in 12.6 million
  • Odds of winning $10,000 (by matching 4 numbers plus the Mega Ball): 1 in 931,001
  • Odds of winning $500 (by matching 4 numbers but missing the Mega Ball): 1 in 38,792
  • Odds of winning $200 (by matching 3 numbers plus the Mega Ball): 1 in 14,547
  • Odds of winning $10 (by matching 2 numbers plus the Mega Ball): 1 in 706
  • Overall odds of winning any prize: 1 in 24

As you can see, your chances of nabbing at least some prize are reasonably good if you buy a decent number of tickets. But landing the gigantic jackpot requires incredible luck with just a single ticket.

How Buying Multiple Tickets Improves Your Chances

Every Mega Millions ticket you buy gets entered into the drawing independently. So each ticket has its own shot at hitting the jackpot or secondary prizes. This means your odds scale linearly with the number of tickets you buy.

For example, if you buy:

  • 10 tickets, your odds of winning the jackpot improve 10 times to 1 in 30.26 million
  • 100 tickets, your odds improve 100 times to 1 in 3.026 million
  • 1,000 tickets, your odds improve 1,000 times to 1 in 302,600

Although your chances are still long, buying 1,000 tickets slashes your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot from 1 in 302.6 million down to 1 in 302,600 – nearly tripling your probability. Of course, 1,000 tickets costs $1,000 based on the $1 price per ticket. So you need to balance your budget with how much you want to improve your odds. We’ll analyze this trade-off later on.

Benefits of Buying Multiple Tickets

Here are some key benefits of buying more Mega Millions tickets:

  • Better chances at secondary prizes – Even if you don’t hit the jackpot, you have much better odds of winning smaller $1 million, $10,000, or $500 prizes.
  • Higher overall odds of winning – Your chance of winning any prize goes up dramatically. With just 1 ticket your odds are 1 in 24. But with 10 tickets your overall odds rise to 1 in 2.4.
  • More number combinations covered – Having more tickets means you’ll cover more potential number combinations. This lets you hedge your bets across a wider range of possibilities.
  • Play different strategies – With more tickets, you can play different formulas, such as picking frequent numbers for some tickets while covering rare ones with others.

Buying multiple tickets essentially allows you to take more swings at the jackpot without needing to wait for another drawing. Of course, there is a cost involved. Next we’ll look at analyzing how much to spend on Mega Millions tickets.

Analyzing Mega Millions Ticket Costs

Mega Millions tickets cost $1 each, taken from a field of 70 numbers (5 numbers picked from 1-70 plus the Mega Ball from 1-25). If you want to buy enough tickets to virtually guarantee you’ll hit the 302.6 million possible combinations, it would cost you $302.6 million! Clearly no one has that kind of money to ensure a jackpot win.

The key is finding an optimal balance between the number of tickets you buy and the cost. Here are some scenarios to analyze:

Buying 10 Tickets

  • Tickets: 10
  • Cost: $10
  • Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 30.26 million

With just 10 tickets costing $10, your jackpot odds barely improve. Although your overall odds of winning any prize rise to 1 in 2.4, this is generally considered too few tickets to move the needle.

Buying 100 Tickets

  • Tickets: 100
  • Cost: $100
  • Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 3.026 million

Now with 100 tickets you start seeing a noticeable improvement in jackpot odds, down to around 1 in 3 million. You also have a great chance (1 in 1.2) of winning something back like $10 or $200. However, spending $100 may be too steep for some players.

Buying 500 Tickets

  • Tickets: 500
  • Cost: $500
  • Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 605,200

Getting into the 500 ticket range puts the jackpot within reach, with odds now down to around 1 in 600,000. Plus you have an excellent shot at smaller prizes. But the $500 investment may be too much for many to risk.

Buying 1,000 Tickets

  • Tickets: 1,000
  • Cost: $1,000
  • Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 302,600

With 1,000 tickets, your odds shorten to around 1 in 300,000. This lands you in a solid position of having a reasonable shot at winning the Mega Millions jackpot when the stars align. The $1,000 cost is affordable enough for serious players.

Buying 5,000 Tickets

  • Tickets: 5,000
  • Cost: $5,000
  • Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 60,520

As you move up to 5,000 tickets, your jackpot odds start looking very promising at around 1 in 60,000. You’ll also almost certainly win back plenty of smaller prizes. But the $5,000 investment is steep and should be reserved only for those willing to spend big in pursuit of Mega Millions glory.

Balancing Ticket Quantity and Cost

As the analysis shows, more Mega Millions tickets means better odds, but higher costs. You want to strike the right balance for your budget and risk tolerance. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Jackpot size – Larger jackpots warrant buying more tickets to chase the bigger prize.
  • Disposable income – Don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose. Stick within your entertainment budget.
  • Risk tolerance – Buying more tickets means gambling larger amounts of money.
  • Group pools – Pooling money with others lets you buy more tickets.
  • Secondary prizes – Weigh your chances of winning smaller prizes too.

Here is a table summarizing the costs and odds at different Mega Millions ticket quantities:

Tickets Cost Odds of Winning Jackpot
10 $10 1 in 30,260,000
100 $100 1 in 3,026,000
500 $500 1 in 605,200
1,000 $1,000 1 in 302,600
5,000 $5,000 1 in 60,520

As you can see, buying about 1,000 tickets for $1,000 offers the best balance. But adjust this based on your own situation and jackpot size. When the prize grows to insane amounts, it may make sense to buy even more tickets.

Strategies for Picking Numbers

Once you’ve decided on how many Mega Millions tickets to buy, the next key is actually picking good numbers. There is no magic formula to predict winning numbers, but these strategies can help cover a broad range of possibilities:

Quick Pick

Letting the lottery terminal randomly quick pick your numbers is the easiest way to play. This ensures complete randomness in the number combos across your tickets.

Balance Frequent and Rare Numbers

Look up the statistics on frequency for each number. Then pick a mix of frequent numbers (which have hit more often) and rare numbers (which are overdue). This balanced approach covers both hot and cold numbers.

Use Significant Dates

Use birthdays, anniversaries, ages of loved ones, or other meaningful dates. For example, if your daughter was born on 11/02, pick 02, 11, 22 as numbers.

Pick Consistent Patterns

Analyze number patterns in past drawings and mimic them. For example, pick numbers that fall within the same dozen, or use a repeating sequence like 22-27-32-37 across tickets.

Use Multiple Strategies

Employ a mix of different strategies across your batch of tickets. Use birthdays on some, quick picks on others, pick frequent numbers for some and rare ones for others, etc. This creates diversity.

Stick to the Same Numbers

Some people always play the same numbers every draw rather than mixing it up. This ensures those numbers will win if they hit.

Improving Secondary Prize Odds

While buying multiple tickets improves your overall Mega Millions odds, you can further enhance your chances at winning secondary prizes of $1 million or $10,000 using these tips:

  • Buy tickets with different Mega Ball numbers to cover more possibilities of matching the Mega Ball.
  • Pick sequential numbers (like 22-23-24-25) to improve odds of hitting 4 main numbers.
  • Avoid picking all numbers higher or lower than 31 to balance your range.
  • Ensure you have a spread of odd and even numbers.

It’s fun to dream about hitting the jackpot. But you greatly improve your chances of winning something by strategizing to win secondary prizes too.

Forming a Lottery Pool

Joining a lottery pool allows you to purchase many more tickets while reducing the cost for each player. For example, getting 50 coworkers to each contribute $20 lets you collectively buy 1,000 tickets. Here are some tips for forming a work or friend lottery pool:

  • Find dedicated, trustworthy players
  • Make a formal agreement outlining rules and payout splits
  • Divide pool tickets across multiple draws
  • Securely store tickets until the drawing
  • Immediately claim any winning tickets
  • Anonymously collect prize money to avoid publicity issues

Playing the lottery with a pool allows you to implement strategies using far more tickets than you could individually afford. Just make sure all members are clear on expectations before joining.

Can You Improve Odds by Buying Tickets From Certain Locations?

Some people think buying Mega Millions tickets from “lucky” locations improves your chances, but this is not true. The physical sales location has absolutely no bearing on the odds because of how the drawings work:

  • Tickets are printed sequentially at each sales terminal daily.
  • All tickets go into central drawing pools, mixing thoroughly.
  • Winners are selected from the random mixing of all ticket pools.

So whether you buy your tickets from a lucky store, a highway rest stop, or your favorite gas station makes zero difference. The key is buying an adequate quantity of tickets within your budget.

Can You Increase Chances by Buying Tickets at Certain Times?

Similarly, the timing of when you purchase Mega Millions tickets has no effect on your odds:

  • Drawings are held at the same pre-scheduled days and times weekly.
  • All tickets sold for a particular drawing are included together.
  • Tickets sales are cut-off about 1 hour before the drawing.

So whether you buy weeks in advance or at the last minute, your odds are the same for that drawing. There are no “best times” to purchase tickets.


In the end, more Mega Millions tickets equals better odds – but also higher costs. Finding the right quantity to buy while strategizing your number picks can help maximize your chances without overspending. Forming a lottery pool improves your odds even further. But there are no tricks to increase your chances based on ticket purchasing locations or timing. Consistently playing a reasonable quantity of tickets, spread across a diverse range of numbers, gives you the best statistical chance of winning while keeping costs under control.