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Winning Mega Millions - what are the odds?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The huge jackpot Tuesday night is the third largest in lottery history -- $360-million.

The Mega Millions lottery craze is sweeping the Valley. While it's very easy to get caught up in the hype, Action News wanted to know the odds of buying that winning ticket.

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UPDATE: MEGA Millions Jackpot hits a record breaking $640 million

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Some stores has been so busy with people buying tickets, that owners have dedicated registers for selling lotto tickets only. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175 million.

The Lotto machines are constantly spitting out tickets, and lines are long with hopefuls trying their luck at one of the largest ever Mega Millions jackpots.

Morgan McGrath is a statistics expert. She isn't in line, because she's done the math.

"That gives us a grand total of 41,416,353 ways of selecting those 6 numbers," McGrath said.

McGrath teaches students at math crazy about the odds and probability of winning the lottery. She says optimists who play are buying more into the idea of winning more than logical chances.

"Because it's that hope that it could be you. Because obviously somebody wins sometimes and if somebody is going to win, wouldn't it be great if it was me," McGrath said.

Christina Stavropoulos used an analogy today with a student she tutors about the likelihood of winning.

"I told her that if I was to place her in the Pacific Ocean start at the coastline. My odds of finding her are close to none and she would probably die and that was her chance, kind of like her chance of winning the lottery," Stavropoulos said.

At Village Liquor in Northeast Fresno, Narry Gill wishes every player good luck. Honestly, he doesn't want to talk about the odds.

"We don't think about that. We just think about the winning ticket, that's it."

Tuesday many bought more than a hundred dollars in tickets after being reeled in by one of those office pools.

"So if we win, we are all going to Disney World, that's pretty much it. Our unit is going to be empty tomorrow." but what are the odds, "I don't know, we didn't quite figure that out yet."

You can buy Mega Millions lottery tickets until 7:45 Tuesday night. The drawing is at 8 p.m.

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