CHICAGO (CBS) — The drawing is tonight for the $970 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
If a winner were to opt for a lump sum payment, they would take home $548 million before taxes. In Illinois, after taxes, that would come to nearly $395 million.
No one has won the Mega Millions jackpot since July 24, when a $543 million jackpot was shared by a California office pool of 11 co-workers. That was the largest jackpot ever won on a single ticket.
The last time Illinois had a winning ticket for Mega Millions was last summer, when Patricia and Joe Busking were the lucky winners of a $393 million jackpot.
The previous record for a Mega Millions jackpot, $656 million, was split by winners in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland in March 2012.
Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from the small downstate town of Red Bud, Illinois, claimed a check worth $218,666,667 in April 2012, after the record Mega Millions jackpot was split three ways. The other winners were anonymous.
Mega Millions tickets can be purchased for $2 each in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of winning are 1 in 302 million for a single ticket.
Many players use birthdays, anniversaries, or some similar combination to choose their numbers. But, with a few hundred million dollars on the line, some research might be in order.
According to USA Mega, here are the most common numbers drawn based on the past 101 drawings: 1, 2, 28, and (the following are tied:) 14, 17, 42, 70. The number 1 has been chosen 18 times, 2 and 28, 12 times and the rest 11 times.
The most common Mega Ball is 22 or 9, drawn seven times.
For those who are looking for the least common numbers: 50, 65, 63, 57, 36, 09. The number 50 has been chosen twice, the remaining numbers were picked three times.
The least common Mega ball is 05.
Of course choosing your numbers or relying on the machine to pick them does not change your odds of winning the jackpot. which are 1 in 302,575,350.