Everyone wants a little bit of luck on their side when they're gambling, and playing the lottery is no different. When a person chooses to play their Mega Millions numbers, they're always hoping for an edge.
If you've been playing Mega Millions for any length of time, you've probably considered a couple strategies to give yourself the best odds of winning. Maybe you're the kind of gambler who plays one set of numbers and sticks with it, or maybe you like to use numbers that hold a special significance in your family's lives.
However, there's no mathematical rhyme or reason to these strategies. Each game is a brand new drawing, so each number has the same chance of appearing or not appearing on any given night. But much like a roulette wheel, some numbers do genuinely come up more often than others. Why that happens isn't clear, but the trends reveal that a few numbers appear twice or even three times as often as others, and the luckiest numbers aren't what you might think. Learn more about possible Mega Millions numbers here!
If you want to give yourself the best statistical chance of landing a winning Mega Millions ticket, your best bet is to look to the soccer pitch. That's because No. 10, the number most commonly associated with greatness in soccer, is also the number most likely to appear in a Mega Millions drawing.
With 70 numbers in the hopper and five numbers drawn per night, you would expect every number to come up once in every 14 drawings. But 10 comes up just over once in every 10 drawings, as it's appeared in 37 drawings over the past 360, a span of four years. The only other number that's been drawn in one out of 10 drawings or better is 31, which most people would never consider as a lucky number.
But 10 actually does work as a lucky number for many people, especially if they were competitive athletes. 10 was considered a perfect score in gymnastics for many years, and it's still awarded as a perfect score in several athletic competitions. Plus, 10 is commonly used as the base number for our counting system. Ten is the easiest number to divide by, and if you're trying to multiply the numbers in your bank account, history says 10 is also your friend.
This might surprise you, but even though seven is well known as "Lucky 7", it's actually not a great number when it comes to Mega Millions. Statistically, 7 has come up 24 times in the past 360 drawings as of April 2021, or one in 15. That's actually a little less than you would expect from a completely random drawing, making "Lucky 7" anything but.
So why is it such a common lucky number for people today? If you're a craps player, you know that seven is considered lucky off the first roll, in large part because it's the easiest number to make on the dice. But 7 as a lucky number goes beyond the casinos: many ancient cultures have made seven a major part of their societies, resulting in the number's presence all around us. But when it comes to trying to win a jackpot, history says you're not going to be seeing 7 very often.
Could there be something to Chinese numbers and superstition? The frequency of the number 8 suggests that might be the case. Eight is one of a few numbers that's been drawn at least 30 times over the past 360 drawings, making it the 11th-most common number out of 70.
That's a pretty successful trend, and it's one that won't surprise anyone of Chinese descent. In China, business owners tend to pay more for a phone number with 8 in the number, because the number 8 sounds very similar in Mandarin to the symbol for "fortune", causing many Chinese to associate the number 8 with luck and wealth. Given its success in Mega Millions, there's at least some justification for this belief.
However, numerology can only go so far. The number 4 is considered the unluckiest number in Chinese culture because it's associated with death. But 4 actually comes up more often in the lottery than 8; at 33 pulls in 360 draws, it's the fifth-most common number in Mega Millions.
It's a good thing that most people use low numbers for their lucky number, because statistics say that higher numbers actually aren't likely to come up very often in the drawing. Of the 18 most common numbers in the lottery, only two (62 and 70) are higher than 45. Eight of the 18 least common numbers are in that group of the 25 highest numbers, with 45 also making an appearance. You'll want to stay away from 49 through 52 entirely, as all four numbers are on the least common number list.
But the least common number of all will come as a big surprise to blackjack players. At the blackjack table, 21 is a winner, but in Mega Millions, it's actually the least likely number to get pulled. Only 15 out of the past 360 drawings have seen 21 as one of the five winning numbers, making it one of five numbers with a frequency of less than one in 20.
Remember, when you're choosing your Mega Millions numbers, you don't have to pull all five numbers to win money. If you can get three or four numbers to come up, you can win anywhere from $10 to $2,500. By playing a few of the more common numbers, you can give yourself a better chance to win one of these smaller lottery prizes, and you just might be the one who puts all five numbers together and manages to win a life-changing prize.