Mega Millions jackpot grows; odds of winning decline

7:52 PM, Dec 16, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Mega Millions jackpot keeps growing and it's never been harder to win. Since officials in the multi-state lottery made changes to the odds, no one has won the jackpot. It's at half a billion dollars now; some speculate it could go as high as one billion dollars if no one wins before Christmas.

Your odds of winning the jackpot are now 1 in 259 million. Before October, they were 1 in 176 million.

This is a product of the lottery company increasing the pool of numbers to choose from. Previously, lottery players chose five numbers, ranging from one to 56. It's now one to 75, but the sixth, gold ball has fewer numbers from which to choose, as the pool decreased from 46 to 15.

Aquinas College math professor Michael McDaniel Monday said the only sure fire way to win is to spend $259 million and buy every possible number. But even that is no sure-fire winner. "If somebody else happens to win then you'd actually lose money because you're going to split that 500 million but you spent 259 million."

Professor McDaniel would rather spend a dollar on a candy bar. That way, he says, "I'm sure I'll get something."

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