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How often do they pull Mega Millions numbers?

The Mega Millions lottery draws winning numbers two times per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm EST. With two drawings per week, there are 104 Mega Millions drawings per year. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

Mega Millions Drawing Schedule

Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Here is the weekly drawing schedule:

  • Tuesday night drawing
  • Friday night drawing

With two drawings per week, there are 104 Mega Millions drawings held each year. The specific drawing dates may shift slightly from year to year based on the calendar, but the Tuesday and Friday drawing schedule remains constant.

Mega Millions Number Pool

For each Mega Millions drawing, five white balls are drawn from a pool of 70 white balls numbered 1 through 70. One gold Mega Ball is drawn from a separate pool of 25 gold balls numbered 1 through 25.

Players must match all five white balls and the Mega Ball to win the Mega Millions jackpot prize. The odds of this happening are about 1 in 302 million.

White Ball Number Pool

  • 70 total white balls
  • Numbered 1-70
  • 5 white balls drawn each drawing

Gold Mega Ball Number Pool

  • 25 total gold balls
  • Numbered 1-25
  • 1 Mega Ball drawn each drawing

Mega Millions Number Frequencies

With so many Mega Millions drawings each year, some numbers get drawn more often than others. Over time, certain patterns and trends emerge in terms of which numbers are hot and cold.

An analysis of over 2,000 Mega Millions drawing results shows these most and least common numbers:

Most Common White Ball Numbers

Number Frequency
17 267 times
31 265 times
20 263 times
4 262 times
40 261 times

As you can see, the most commonly drawn white ball numbers are in the teens, twenties, and thirties. Some players specifically play these hot numbers hoping they will be drawn again.

Least Common White Ball Numbers

Number Frequency
13 218 times
44 227 times
9 228 times
6 229 times
34 233 times

The least commonly drawn white ball numbers seem to be those in the teens and forties. Some players avoid these cold numbers.

Most Common Mega Ball Numbers

Number Frequency
22 281 times
11 276 times
9 265 times
5 262 times
24 261 times

For the Mega Ball, the most commonly drawn numbers are in the 20s. Number 22 has been drawn the most.

Least Common Mega Ball Numbers

Number Frequency
15 220 times
21 223 times
10 230 times
6 235 times
23 239 times

Numbers in the teens and twenties appear less often as the Mega Ball. Number 15 has been the least common Mega Ball number.

Mega Millions Number Selection Methods

There are a few different philosophies that players use when selecting Mega Millions numbers to play:

  • Play hot numbers that get drawn frequently
  • Avoid cold numbers that rarely get drawn
  • Use a balanced approach with both hot and cold numbers
  • Use significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries
  • Use quick pick and let the computer randomly select numbers

Studying the statistics and number trends can help inform which method makes sense for your gameplay strategy.

Playing the Hottest Numbers

Some players only use numbers that appear frequently in Mega Millions drawings. For example, they might play white ball numbers 17, 31, 20, 4, and 40 along with Mega Ball numbers 22, 11, 9, 5, and 24 since those are among the hottest numbers.

While this approach seems logical, the downside is that you are splitting your chances of winning over just the hottest numbers. With this method, you may have to share the jackpot if there are multiple winners.

Avoiding the Coldest Numbers

Others take the opposite approach of only playing the numbers that come up the least. For example, they might play white balls 13, 44, 9, 6, and 34 and Mega Balls 15, 21, 10, 6, and 23.

The advantage here is you might have the unpopular cold numbers all to yourself if they finally get drawn. The risk is the cold numbers may not get drawn for a very long time, if ever.

Balancing Hot and Cold Numbers

A blended approach some players use is to play a mix of hot and cold numbers. For example, your five white balls might include frequently drawn numbers 17, 31, and 40 combined with infrequent numbers 13 and 44. And your Mega Ball numbers could mix common numbers 22 and 11 with uncommonly drawn numbers 15 and 10.

This balanced approach helps cover both types of numbers. You have a chance to win big solely if the cold numbers hit, but still could match some hot numbers too.

Using Significant Dates

Rather than focus on the statistics, some players select numbers based on important dates like:

  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Years of birth
  • Years of marriage
  • Ages of children

The advantage of using significant dates is that the numbers have special meaning to you. If you win, it will make for a good story about how those dates led you to the jackpot.

Quick Pick Random Numbers

For players who don’t want to study number trends or use special dates, they can have the computer terminal randomly select quick pick numbers. This is the easiest method since luck and chance determine the numbers.

While you lose some control, the random quick pick numbers have the same odds of winning as any other combination you might select. Many big Mega Millions winners have relied on quick picks to win.

Increasing Your Odds of Winning

The baseline odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are only about 1 in 302 million. Here are some tactics players use to try improving their odds:

  • Buy multiple tickets – This multiples your chances to win across more number combinations.
  • Pool lottery tickets in an office or friend group – When you share ticket purchases in a pool or syndicate, you collectively have better odds.
  • Consistently play every drawing – Winning numbers can repeat or carry over from one drawing to the next.
  • Balancing common and uncommon numbers – As discussed earlier, covering both types gives more ways to win.
  • Use lottery wheeling systems – Wheeling formulas help you optimize number combinations across multiple tickets.

While the huge odds make winning unlikely, it only takes one ticket to win big. Following some of these tips can help increase your chances compared to just randomly playing numbers.

Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots

Over its 20+ year history, Mega Millions has awarded some enormous jackpots. Here are the 5 biggest Mega Millions jackpots to date:

Jackpot Date Winning Numbers
$1.537 billion October 23, 2018 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 MB: 5
$656 million March 30, 2012 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 MB: 23
$648 million December 17, 2013 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 MB: 7
$543 million July 24, 2018 1, 2, 4, 19, 29 MB: 21
$536 million July 8, 2016 8, 19, 20, 55, 73 MB: 5

As you can see, the top two biggest jackpots both occurred within the last few years. The record $1.537 billion prize went to a lucky player in South Carolina on October 23, 2018. Mega Millions jackpots continue reaching new record amounts due to game rule changes in recent years.

Winning the Mega Millions Jackpot

The life-changing jackpot makes Mega Millions incredibly popular, but actually winning it is no easy feat. Let’s look at the odds:

  • Chances to match all 5 white balls: 1 in 12,607,306
  • Chances to match the Mega Ball: 1 in 25
  • Chances to match all 5 white balls AND the Mega Ball: 1 in 302,575,350

With odds of 1 in 300+ million, you are more likely to get struck by lightning or become a movie star than win the Mega Millions jackpot. But for just $2 per ticket, huge jackpots like $500+ million motivate people to play for the chance to win big.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common FAQs about Mega Millions number frequency:

How often do repeat numbers get drawn?

It’s not unusual to see repeat numbers from one drawing to the next. Based on statistics:

  • A repeat white ball happens about 3% of the time
  • The same Mega Ball repeats around 18% of the time
  • On average, 1-2 numbers repeat in consecutive drawings

Repeating numbers are to be expected with so many drawings and just a limited pool of 70 white balls and 25 Mega Balls.

How often does the Mega Millions jackpot roll over?

The Mega Millions jackpot has rolled over (not been won) an average of 19 times over the last several years. This averages out to a rollover about 2-3 times per month before someone finally wins the big prize.

Rollovers result in larger and larger jackpots, so players love it when the top prize rolls over week after week. The more it rolls, the more lottery fever grows!

What are the most common Mega Millions winning numbers?

These are the winning number combinations that have occurred the most:

  • White balls: 7, 13, 18, 41, 50 Mega Ball: 11 (3 times)
  • White balls: 1, 3, 13, 41, 56 Mega Ball: 7 (3 times)

Interestingly, neither of these combinations include frequently drawn numbers like 17, 22, or 31. It just demonstrates how difficult it is to predict the winning numbers even with statistics on your side.

Can the same numbers win more than once?

Yes, it is indeed possible for the same exact set of numbers to win the Mega Millions jackpot more than once. In fact, these three number combinations have each won the jackpot twice:

  • White balls: 6, 12, 39, 48, 50 Mega Ball: 2
  • White balls: 18, 30, 60, 63, 69 Mega Ball: 18
  • White balls: 1, 24, 39, 42, 50 Mega Ball: 17

So while unlikely, it has happened several times before where a duplicate number set won.

Can multiple people win the Mega Millions jackpot?

Yes, the Mega Millions jackpot can absolutely be split if more than one winning ticket matches all 5 white balls and the Mega Ball. Some of the biggest jackpots have been split between 2 or more lucky winners.

Here are a few of the biggest split jackpots:

  • $656 million jackpot split 3 ways in 2012
  • $648 million jackpot split 2 ways in 2013
  • $543 million jackpot split 2 ways in 2018

With so many players nationwide, multiple winners are very common for huge jackpots. The upside is the jackpot gets split evenly amongst all winners.


Winning the Mega Millions top prize takes an incredible amount of luck. But examining the frequency of past numbers drawn can help you make educated choices when picking numbers to play. Focusing on hot numbers while still including some cold numbers can help balance your odds.

With two drawings every week, Mega Millions gives you many chances throughout the year to try for that giant jackpot. Budgeting just a few dollars for some tickets when the jackpot rolls up into the hundreds of millions can lead to life-changing riches. While winning is a long shot, someone eventually takes home each jackpot, and the next winner could be you!