December 13th, 2013
10:41 AM ET

Think You Have Shot at $400 Million Mega Millions Pot?

It used to be a long shot, but now ... is there a word for insanely more unlikely than a long shot?

The Mega Millions jumped to $400 million, rolling over for the 20th time after no winner was picked in Tuesday's drawing, likely having a Pavlovian effect on regular lottery players, but anyone with a modicum of math proficiency knows he might as well set fire to that $1 bill as spend it on a ticket.

Your odds of getting all six numbers correct for the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 259 million, according to the lottery company. You have more than 1,000 times better chance of an asteroid or comet killing you - and that's using the long odds,according to Tulane University.

Which is to say, astronomical.

The latest probability is up from the old odds, which were about 1 in 175 million.

Of course, you'd probably have a hard time telling this to the trio from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland who split the record $656 millionkitty last year.

It's worth mentioning that you have a one-in-15 chance of winningsomething, even if it's just getting your dollar back, while the odds of winning the second-place $1 million prize (that is, matching five balls but not the megaball) are about 1 in 18.5 million.

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