People are scrambling to their local gas stations, delis or supermarkets across the country this evening. Why? The Mega Millions lotto is up to $363 million, and the drawing is tonight.
If you want to get serious about which numbers to pick, why not take a look at the historical data?
Below we highlight which numbers have come up the most and least often in the 705 drawings that have occurred since the current Mega Millions format was put in place back in June 2005. Under the current format, players pick any 5 numbers between 1 and 56, and then they pick a final Mega Ball number between 1 and 46. To win the jackpot, you've got to get all five regular numbers and the Mega Ball number correct.
The difference between the numbers that get picked the most and least often might be higher than you think. In the first table, we show how often each number has shown up in the regular ball 1 through 5 drawing. As shown, the number 48 -- the most drawn number -- has come up as ball 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 in 83 of the 705 drawings, or 11.77% of the time. The number 41 -- the least drawn number -- has only shown up in 48 drawings, or 6.81% of the time.
There are 8 numbers that have come up as ball 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 in 10% or more of the drawings -- #48, 36, 53, 12, 27, 31, 51 and 52. The five least drawn numbers have been 41, 49, 47, 37 and 34.
So how about the elusive Mega Ball number? As shown below, #36 has been the Mega Ball number the most often at 3.55% of the time. So #36 has shown up the second most in the ball 1 through 5 drawing (10.5%) and the most in the Mega Ball drawing. Somebody check the machine!
Number 28 has been by far the least drawn Mega Ball number at just 0.85% (6 times out of 705 drawings).
So now that you have the historical numbers, which ones do you pick to hit the jackpot? Do you go with the numbers that show up the most often because they're hot, or do you go with the numbers that show up the least often because they're well overdue? Take your pick.
(There's plenty more analysis you could do with the data set, so here is a link to a site that has the historical numbers.)