By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — You won’t become a billionaire on Wednesday night, but go ahead and try anyway.
The reason the Powerball Jackpot has reached a level of unfathomable absurdity centers on the simple fact that it is really impossible to win.
Players have no doubt heard the odds that one is more likely get struck my lightning, twice, than win.
Put another way, the odds of winning are 1 in 292 million.
(Until October of last year, the odds were better: 1 in about 175 million. The odds increased when officials added more numbers to the matrix. With higher odds, the jackpot rolled over more often, creating the $1.5 billion payout.)
There are about 323 million people in the United States.
That means the odds of randomly picking your own name out that list of Americans (1 in 323 million) are just a bit worse than winning the Powerball.
Don’t let that stop you!
Most people, about 70 percent, opt for the Quick Pick ticket.
However, you may want to play the most common numbers drawn since mid October, when the latest lottery matrix was revised, according to the lottery website USA Mega.
And even those numbers haven’t been drawn very often.
The most common number, drawn a mere 12.5 percent of the time, is 35.
That is followed by 25 and 29 (11.2 percent); 20 (9.48 percent); 11, 31, 45, 49, and 51 (9.48 percent).
The two most common “Powerball” numbers are 7 and 15 (9.48 percent).
The least common number drawn is 55 (0.68 percent).
For the “Powerball” number it’s 11 (4.4 percent).
So, the odds of winning $1.5 billion are essentially impossible. The odds of becoming a billionaire are 0 in 292 million, at least right away.
After taxes in Illinois, the winner would get a lump sum of $662 million, according to USA Mega.
Although, some shrewd business moves could turn that into a billion eventually.