The Mega Millions Jackpot could reach 400 million by Saturday. Experts and former winners say there are 13 things that can improve your odds of winning the jackpot.
Remember: Playing the lottery is a form of gambling, so know your limit and play within it.
1. Buy extra tickets
Okay, we never said these tips would be that creative. It's totally obvious that buying extra tickets increases your chance of winning the lottery, but most frugal and right-thinking people will never buy more than one ticket.
The costs add up, but every guide to winning the lottery agrees buying extra tickets gives you an advantage, especially when it's combined with other tips and tricks.
2. Stick to your lucky numbers
There's a heated debate between lotto players about whether it's best to buy quick picks (where the computer chooses your numbers) or to select your lucky numbers. Our money is on choosing your own.
The thing about lucky numbers is they're your numbers, and you'll always remember to play because otherwise you could miss your chance.
To be fair, quick pick tickets make up the vast majority of lottery winners, but playing consistently is more important. Unless...
3. Don't play every week
Many dedicated lotto players actually avoid big, popular games like the Mega Millions and Powerball draws. Instead, they target unpopular games with low jackpots during their least popular times of the year, and load up on tickets for specific draws.
It takes a little research, but if there's a winner every time, your odds in one of these draws are way better than most big games.
4. Pick high numbers
This tip won't improve your odds of "winning the lottery" per se, but experts say it makes you less likely to split a big draw. The theory goes that people tend to pick numbers between 1 and 31, based on important dates in their lives.
Richard Lustig, who says he's won the lottery seven times, swears by his "number spreading technique," and included it in his book Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. Here's another one of Lustig's tips...
5. Don't buy consecutive numbers
Lustig offers his readers this bit of helpful math: if a lottery draw had 5 numbers, and they only go up to 55, the total of your five numbers should be between 104 and 175. The lotto expert says studies show that 70% of jackpot draws fall within that number "spread."
For he same reasons, Lustig warns to avoid picking multiple numbers from the same group of tens (for example: 21, 25 and 28), or numbers that end in the same digit.
6. Don't play in patterns
One last trusty tip from Lustig: if you like filling in your number card with an X, diagonal lines or other patterns, odds are other lotto players do too. Like picking low numbers, this only increases your chance of splitting a game-winning draw.
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