Mega Millions Drawing: What Numbers Get Picked the Most?

With $1.6 billion on the line, people are snatching up lottery tickets for a chance at the massive Mega Millions prize. While every number has the same probability of getting picked, analysts found that some numbers appear more than others.

Analysts at analyzed more than 2,000 drawings that took place between 1996 and 2018 to rank the numbers one through 75 based on how often the number was picked. Seventeen was picked the most at 308 times and was most recently drawn on October 7.

The number 17 was followed by 39, picked 306 times, 31, picked 305 times, and 4, which was picked 303 times. Claiming the number five spot on the most frequently picked list was, ironically, number 5, which was drawn in 302 of the 2,235 lotteries analyzed.

From 1996 until 2018, the number least likely to be picked was 72, which was only drawn 20 times. The number 72 was followed by 71, 67, 75 and 65.

mega millions what number gets picked most
Customers fill out Mega Millions lottery tickets outside of a convenience store in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday. The Mega Millions lottery reached $1.6 billion after no one had the winning combination picked on Friday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

However, in 2017, the lottery changed from offering a pool of 75 numbers to only 70 numbers, which altered the results of frequency. Analysts considered 102 drawings that took place in 2017 and 2018 to rerank the numbers from 1 to 70. Ironically, the number 1 was picked the most frequently, appearing in 18 of the 102 lotteries. It was followed by:

  • 2 (12 times)
  • 28 (12 times)
  • 70 (12 times)
  • 14 (11 times)
  • 17 (11 times)
  • 42 (11 times)

Out of the 102 lotteries that were analyzed, the number 50 was drawn only two times. Numbers 9, 36, 57 and 63 were all picked three times. also analyzed how many times each number 1 through 25 was drawn as the Mega Ball and found the numbers 9 and 22 were both chosen the most, appearing in seven of the 102 drawings that occurred in 2017 and 2018.

The Mega Millions lottery winner is determined after five numbers from a pool of 70 are drawn and one number, known as the Mega Ball, from a pool of 25 is selected. Although found some numbers were picked more often than others, each of the numbers in the pool of 70 has about a 1.4 percent to 1.5 percent chance of being drawn.

The numbers 1 through 25 also each have a 4 percent chance of being selected as the Mega Ball.

The Mega Millions drawing reached $1.6 billion after there was no winner from Friday's drawing, making it the largest jackpot prize in United States history, according to WLS. Each ticket comes with a one in 302,575,350 chance of winning.

While most people purchasing tickets won't hit the big money, there are other ways people can win a hefty consolation prize or at least the cost of one ticket:

  • 5 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $1,000,000
  • 4 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $10,000
  • 4 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $500
  • 3 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $200
  • 3 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $10
  • 2 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $10
  • 1 number + gold Mega Ball match = $4
  • 0 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $2

The next drawing for the Mega Millions lottery will take place at 11 p.m. EDT on Tuesday and in most states, tickets can be purchased until 10:45 p.m. EDT. However, lottery rules are done on a state by state basis, and some states require tickets to be purchased by 9:50 p.m. EDT.