(NEXSTAR) – The most recent record-setting Powerball jackpot has been won, but a record-setting Mega Millions prize is still up for grabs. Ahead of Friday’s drawing, millions of tickets will likely be sold, all hoping to perfectly match the six winning numbers needed for an estimated $720 million prize.
You may be ready to try your luck at the Mega Millions prize, currently considered the fifth-largest in the game’s history. But do your lucky numbers stand a chance?
Just as it is in Powerball, every set of numbers has an equal chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Still, there are some numbers that are drawn more frequently than others.
Since 1996, when Mega Millions was rebranded from ‘The Big Game,’ there are five main numbers that have been drawn more than any others, according to data collected by Lotto America: 31, 17, 46, 20, and 4. All five have been drawn more than 250 times, and all but 20 have been pulled within the last month.
When it comes to the Mega Ball, these five numbers have been drawn most frequently: 9, 15, 3, 10, and 1. These have all been drawn more than 100 times, Lotto America shows.
Since 2017, when the Mega Millions main number pool shifted from 75 to 70, and the Mega Ball pool grew from 15 to 25, the most frequently drawn numbers have shifted slightly.
Among the main pool, the five most common numbers have been 14, 10, 17, 46, and 3, Lotto America shows. For the Mega Balls pools, the most frequent numbers are 22, 11, 9, 19, and 4.
There have been some hotter numbers in the latest jackpot series, which has been running since late April. According to drawing data, the five most commonly-drawn main pool numbers have been 3, 10, 8, 16, and 19. When it comes to the Mega Ball, the most frequently drawn have been 19, 12, 9, 4, and 15.
Over the last 26 drawings, there are some numbers that haven’t been drawn at all.
Those main pool numbers that haven’t been drawn since April include 7, 9, 12, 25, 26, 27, 30, 49, 50, 56, 58, and 59. For the Mega Ball, it’s 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 16, 22, 23, and 24 that have yet to be drawn.
Some players might consider these numbers “overdue.” But according to Lotto America, 56 is the most overdue number in the main pool; it hasn’t been drawn since mid-December 2022. The most overdue Mega Ball number, 10, hasn’t been seen since September 2022.
So, should you pick the hottest numbers, or maybe all of the overdue numbers?
That decision is up to you, but it’s worth noting any and every number combination has the same slim chance of winning, Rong Chen, professor and chair of the Department of Statistics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, explains. That means the numbers drawn on Tuesday have an equal chance of being drawn again on Friday.
You can, however, cut down on your chances of having to split the lottery prize by picking numbers that others may be less likely to pick. Chen suggests numbers larger than 31 (this avoids dates like birthdays) and avoiding numbers along the edges or corners of the ticket form.
You could also buy more tickets. But, for example, buying 100 tickets would only cut your odds from 1 in 302.5 million to about 1 in 3.02 million.
The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled for Friday at 11 p.m. ET. Mega Millions is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets start at $2 each.