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Powerball Jackpot Odds Compared to Unlikely Life Events & Sports Betting Parlays

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 5 mins

Powerball Jackpot Odds Compared to Unlikely Life Events & Sports Betting Parlays

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The Powerball jackpot has reached $1.73 billion for Wednesday night's drawing, with a cash value of more than $756.6 million. The odds of winning are 292,201,338-1. 

This is the second-largest Powerball and U.S. lottery prize ever. The Powerball jackpot was last won in California on July 19 when it hit $1.08 billion, or 35 consecutive drawings. Powerball is available in 45 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The $1.73 billion prize would be paid out over 30 years via an annuity, or paid in one cash sum.

Odds In Real Life Vs Powerball

Here are some “real life” events with the odds they carry in comparison to the 292,201,338-1 odds of the Powerball Jackpot. 

Event Odds-To-One
You Being Born400 quadrillion
Winning Powerball & Mega Millions75.6 quadrillion
Perfect NCAA Bracket120.1 billion
Having Sextuplets3.939 billion
Winning Mega Millions 302,575,350
Eaten By A Shark264 million
Becoming President (US only)32.6 million
Struck By Lightning Twice19 million
Birthing Identical Quadruplets15 million
Dying In A Plane Crash11 million
Becoming An Astronaut (US only) 7.697 million
Dying From A Bee Sting 6.5 million
Attacked By A Shark 5 million
Grizzly Bear Attack (Yellowstone) 2.7 million
Becoming A Movie Star1.5 million
Flipping Heads 20 Straight Times1.04 million
Die From Flesh-Eating Bacteria1 million
Struck By Lightning 960,000
Being Dealt A Royal Flush 649,739
Winning An Olympic Medal 662,000
Blackjack 3 Times In A Row 22,722
Flopping A Royal Flush 19,600
A Hole In One 12,500
A 4-Leaf Clover 10,000
Living To 100 (US Only) 3,777

The numbers drawn Saturday were: 16, 34, 46, 55, and 67, plus the Powerball 14.

Powerball tickets cost $2. Players select  five numbers between 1 and 69 for the white balls, then select one number between 1 and 26 for the red Powerball. For an additional $1 per play, the Power Play feature can multiply non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times. 

The odds of doubling your money to win $4 are 1 in 38.32 by matching the Powerball. Or 1 in 91.88 to match one number and the Powerball.

Playing Every Combination Is Costly

At the price of $2 per ticket, that means you could buy every possible combination for $584,402,676. 

So you will have to wait for the jackpot to roll over at least two or three more time for this strategy to make sense. Let's say you do spend $584,402,676, and somehow are able logistically to play the field, even though it would take you about 27 years to fill out those 302,575,350 tickets. 

You run the risk of having more than one winner. In that scenario, the jackpot is divided by the number of winning tickets. If you and just one other person win, you'll be in a serious hole before taxes.

Then, there is the Tax Man. After taxes (depending on your home state), you can expect to net anywhere between 45-60% of whatever you do win. The estimated lump-sum payout is sure to increase. But save yourself a few hundred million and limit your ticket purchases. 

Trying To Hit Powerball At The Sportsbook

It's hard to find longer odds than the ones on the Powerball website, unless you're playing Mega Millions. But how does that translate to the world of sports betting, or real life? Let's take a look.

Well, 292,201,338-1 is a big number, especially for bettors who are used to seeing value in a +125 moneyline. 

The highest price one would ever see on any legal wager is +1000000. That means you would win $10,000 on a $1 bet, on odds of 10,000-1. The implied probability of that bet is 0.01%.

How might you go about getting a Powerball-like return at a sportsbook or on your sports betting app? The answer lies in the mighty parlay – and the book’s willingness to take on such a risk. 

On a $1 bet, the payout for an eight-leg parlay with the odds of each leg averaging +1040 would be $285,257,932.44 That's slightly lower than your odds of winning Powerball, but close enough.

What does that look like for sports bettors? Well, here are some examples, via DraftKings, that carry close to the same odds as the Mega Millions jackpot offers.

For NFL futures fans, here is one eight-leg parlay that would pay out a whopping $ 291,880,968.60 on a $1 bet. Now keep in mind, you’d have to hit all eight bets to cash. 

1. Baltimore RavensWin Super Bowl 58+1400
2. Detroit LionsWin NFC Conference+850
3. Aidan Hutchinson NFL Defensive POY+1600
4. Zach Wilson Most NFL Passing TDs+8000
5. Tyreek Hill Most Receiving Yards+250
6. Jacksonville JaguarsWin AFC South+150
7. Brock Purdy NFL MVP +1600
8. Will AndersonNFL Defensive ROY+900
Total Parlay Odds $ 291,880,968.60 To 1

Long shots a plenty. The probability of each of these eight legs hitting is improbable but not impossible. Right? If you’re reading this, how can you pass on the chance of one or both hitting? It's a lot more fun than watching a bunch of ping pong balls.

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.