Which Lottery Has The Best Odds Of Winning?

Comparing apples to apples - which game is best

You might think the lottery with the best odds is the one to play.

It’s not.

Or you might think that the game with the best jackpot odds is the once to choose.

That’s wrong too.

So let’s dig in to why most advice on this is wrong. And how you can choose a better game, with the best chance of winning for you.

Which Lottery Has The Best Chance Of Winning?

The lottery with the best chance of winning is the game with the best overall odds.

But who cares how amazing the odds are if all you win is $1?

What Are The ‘Odds Of Winning Any Prize’?

The odds of winning any prize is your overall chances of a single entry winning something. But that something can be anything from the lowest tier prize (a free ticket or $1) right up to the jackpot.

Which is why these figures tend to range from 1-in-5 up to 1-in-100. Because lottery games have lots of lower tier prizes.

It’s a figure that has some use. But it’s a terrible way to choose which game to play. It doesn’t tell you anything about the size of the prize, or the chances of winning a decent sized prize.

Which Lottery Is The Easiest To Win?

The lottery that is easiest to win is the one with the fewest balls drawn. So a Pick 3 game is of course easier to win than a Pick 4 or Pick 5 game.

But of course the Pick 3 prizes are much smaller.

And this is the hidden half of this question.

Because, yes you really want the game with the best odds. But you also want the jackpot to be big enough to get you excited.

Nobody makes an income playing Pick 3, so it’s rarely ever the right game to choose.

Which Lottery Has The Best Jackpot Odds?

The lottery with the best jackpot odds is the one with the lowest odds of the Tier 1 prize. Obviously.

This is now getting us much closer to choosing the right game to play. 🙂

But look at the jackpot amounts very closely. Otherwise the answer comes back to those poor game choices of Pick 3 and 4 again. Yes, they do have better jackpot odds, but the ‘jackpots’ are tiny. You’d have to keep winning pick 3 regularly to build up a decent prize, and the chances of that happening are going to be worse than winning the jackpot of a better game just once!

The only true winner of Pick 3… is the lottery company.

Choosing The Right Lottery Games For You

So ‘which lottery is the best?’ – I get asked this question a lot.

And my tongue in cheek answer is… ‘the lottery that just paid you the jackpot.’ 🙂

But it is a serious question, because the odds of the game are the number one factor that determine if you win or lose.

Yes you really want the game with the best odds. But you also want the jackpot to be big enough to get you excited. And the key is how you balance the two.

Sure, it’s nice to win the pick 3 jackpot – but if winning that money won’t change your life at all, then you’re not playing the right game.

What most people really want is ‘life changing’ big. To some people that may be as little as a few thousand pounds/dollars/Euros. To others it may be a lot more.

But you need to know this otherwise you can’t make the best decision as to what game to play!

Compare Lottery Games

To compare lottery games well you need to know the odds, and have an idea of ‘how big’ a win would need to be, to change your life.

Once you know ‘how much’ will do it for you, then for every lottery game available to you find a) the typical jackpot amount, and b) the odds of winning it (check your lottery companies official website for these details). Or to make this super easy, try my tool to help you compare lottery odds.

Now you can wisely pick the game that gives you the best chance of winning the life changing sum of money you’re aiming for.

Why play a game with jackpot odds of 1-in-292 million (the US Powerball!) if there is a game with odds of 1-in-5 million that would change your life if you actually did win it? That alone would increase your chances of winning the jackpot by an incredible 58 times (or 5,800% if you prefer percentages)! 😯

Picking the lottery game with the best odds for you is not the same thing as simply ‘which has best odds’. Just looking for the best odds misses the point completely, and leaves you playing the wrong games.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Arthur

    I have got 3 out of 6 numbers on the pick 6 games using a deck of cards for five weeks in a row only spending $9.00 each time. Just write (ALL the numbers) on the deck off cards and shuffle them up. My pick 6 game is 6/53. So 54 divided by 9 equals 6. The number 28 has hit the most so I use 28 twice.

  • Paul Monks

    Dear Lottery Guy,

    Have you seen this fantastic ‘Odds Busting’ Lottery which will be launching VERY soon :-))

    etc etc

    • LG

      Seen it, but wasn’t impressed. (It’s been ‘launching soon’ for a very long time!)

      I really don’t see anyone wanting to switch from a national lottery game, to an unknown with a €50 ticket price! Especially when the odds are no better when you factor in that ticket price.

  • Brad

    But which lottery in the world has the best odds? Who cares how much you win, as long as you win division 1 you will win heaps anyway. In Australia we have The Pools which draws 6 + 1 supp from 38 numbers and the odds of hitting the 6 from 38 are 2.6m to one but most other world lotteries i can see are in the hudreds of millions to one. Pfft, i sure know which one i would rather try.

    • LG

      Hey Brad

      But that’s the whole point – it does matter, a lot.

      The best lottery odds in the world would go to one of the many ‘Pick 3’ games out there. But with odds of 1:1000 for just a $500 jackpot – you may as well be playing a slot machine. And Pick 4 games aren’t much better.

      But the thing is you’ve already thought about the odds and prize level, and chosen the right game for you. Most players haven’t taken that step, or don’t know how to 🙂

  • Marc

    Which lotto takes the least % from my stake. UK lotto with tax and good causes takes half, 50p. Which lotto gives back the most because that has to have the best payout (worldwide)?

    • LG

      Around 50% for the prize fund is not uncommon for a lottery. But some pay out more – e.g. the Irish lottery company return 55%, or the Texas Lottery is 63%.

      The amount returned in prizes can be a useful factor in deciding which game to play. At least in theory anyway. Because it gets complicated fast.

      It can vary by game as well as the lottery company. And of course the percentage allocated to each prize tier also varies greatly between games too.

      So if a game paid 60% in prize money but that simply meant the ‘Match 3’ prizes were twice as big as another game, would it really be better? What if the jackpot was 10 times harder to win than the other game which only paid out 50%?

      It’s also not quite as easy as that.

      You can’t buy tickets online from lottery companies around the world – so you’d have to use a 3rd party service to do that. Which means paying a lot more for your tickets – a factor likely to outweigh any payout percentage differences.

      It depends on your Strategy really. But overall it’s still going to be the chances of winning the jackpot that matters most of all to most players.

  • Jon

    After 25 years of $20 a week, losing a total of a new Camry ($26,000), but we did win $5 & got rolled for it. Yes, we with all the degrees still believe in Santa Claus. Alas, I’ll still play as I don’t need the $20 a week & who knows, maybe the pols. won’t steal it from our kids.

  • Jan Karlsson

    I play the UK Thunderball. I don’t really need any more than that top prize, it’s half the cost of Lotto and EuroMillions and I get a fair amount of little wins on it. Of course, those little wins just go back on the Thunderball, but it’s always nice to win something while waiting (very impatiently) for that big one.

    As to choosing my numbers, I just get Lucky Dips. It really makes no difference to my chances and, if I miss a draw for any reason, I’m not in the position of knowing I would have won big if those numbers came out on a missed draw.

  • Sam Cruz

    Is it true that Mega Millions has more winners than Powerball?

  • Darryl

    “… yes you really want the game with the best odds. But you also want the jackpot to be big enough to get you excited. And the key is how you balance the two.”

    This insight intrigued me that your site may be different than so many others. Intrigued enough to shift over to the Florida lotteries rather than always PowerBall, because I don’t need the biggest wins – just enough to breathe a sigh of financial relief and stay comfortable.

    I could use your comparison tool but I’m not ready to sign up. Convince me? – D.

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