Which UK Lotto Game Has The Best Chances Of Winning?

lottery questions

I get asked this type of question quite often.

Surprisingly the answer depends on you.

The UK has various lottery games, from Hot Picks to Thunderball. All with different odds, all with different prize divisions and amounts. Some with very different methods of play. So it’s certainly confusing!

All lottery games balance the odds against size of the jackpot, i.e. bigger jackpot = harder to win. So the answer really depends on how big a prize you want to win.

Here’s Why…

Ignoring Hot Picks for just a moment.

Daily Play actually gives you the best odds of winning ANY prize (at 1 in 7.4), and the best odds of winning the top prize (1 in 888,030).

But of course that top prize is much smaller than the other games at just £30,000 – bigger jackpots are harder to win, right?

Hot Picks confuses this slightly too as you have to specifically choose which prize level you want to play for, Match 1, Match 2 etc. Most of the prizes are too small to bother (you may as well just play a slot machine!). But…

  • Pick 4 odds are 1 in 14,126 for a £7,000 prize
  • Pick 5 odds are 1 in 317,814 for a £130,000 prize

So both are actually easier to win the big prize than Daily Play. But remember with Hot Picks there are NO other prizes for matching less balls.

So while Pick 5 is nearly 3 times easier to win the big prize than Daily Play, and the prize is more than 4 times bigger – it’s Match all 5 or you get nothing at all.

So What Can You Do..?

All of which means – choose the game with the best odds, that offers a jackpot that’s big enough for YOU. Don’t simply go for the game with the biggest jackpot.

To help you figure out which game gives you the best chances of winning use my new lottery compare tool.

And, get in touch if you have any questions about the lottery.

22 Comments so far ↓

  • Thrifty

    You have a better chance of winning with any lottery game as long as the pool of players is large enough. Powerball and mega millions produce more winners than New York lotto and New York sweet million because more people play these games. So the odds of winning do not really matter if you do not have a large pool of player playing a game. That is why they say say that smart players wait until the jackpot gets big enough. The lottery is a game that can only be won in the short run. That is why I love mega millions and powerball and take five games because you can participate in these games with a large pool of players and have a chance to win with a small amount of money because of these games combinations are being played by the large pool of players.

  • LG

    Sorry Thrifty but not true at all.

    Your own chance of winning has nothing to do with how many other players there are. You’re talking about OVERALL chances of SOMEBODY winning — but you don’t get anything if somebody else wins..! The odds of winning could not be more important.

    For example, the odds of winning the UK Hotpicks jackpot are 343 times better than Mega Millions…

    To put it another way – you would have to buy 343 Mega Millions tickets to have the same chance as one single Hotpicks ticket!

    So if Hotpicks had a big enough jackpot for you, you’d have to be nuts to be playing Mega Millions.

    Jackpot blindness is common and it hurts your chances of ever winning.

  • Mark

    I don’t understand how hot picks 5 has much better odds then for example getting the same 5 numbers in normal lotto, surely the odds should be the same? If so normal lotto is better as jackpot would be around 250k with 5 numbers

    • LG

      The short (non-mathematical answer) is because with Hotpicks Pick 5 you have to match all 5 of the 5 numbers you pick. Whereas with regular Lotto, you’re matching any 5 of the 6 numbers you pick.

  • Danhazeld


    I’ve been asked what are the odds are of picking 3 specific numbers on the lotto.

    I think this is similar to hot picks… how are the odds calculated?


  • Frederick Leiserson

    Greetings, I wish we had a decent winnable game here in California. I don’t consider the huge jackpots winnable. The closest we have is Fantasy Five. I also wish it was legal to buy tickets over the internet, but I can see if the lottery isn’t honest why they’re trying to protect us. It kind of reminds me of internet gambling. It sort of is a victimless crime, except if you’re just throwing your money away. By the way, I enjoy your site.

  • George Findlay

    I would say the best “bet” if you are trying to win some quick cash but not the jackpot or any of the big prizes, is to do a couple of lines every draw in the “3 number hot picks”. The odds seem really good on this with 800/1 now being given because of the extra numbers being added on OR the other sure way is to save the money you would normally put on and you would have a tidy wee sum in the bank, but gone would be the fun.

  • Ken

    For a few years now I’ve been playing 3 regular lines each Friday on the Euromillions, which now costs me £7.50 per draw. I win very little, probably less than 15%.
    I was wanting to consider changing to something that might give me a better chance of winning a smaller amount, say max £100-200k. Wanted to see if any experts could point me in the right direction.

  • chrishillinghope

    Help. How can picking 5 from 59 (HOTPICKS) have odds that are less than half the odds of picking 5 from only 50 (HEALTH LOTTERY)? 1: 834,398 versus 1: 2,118,760.

  • Frederick D. Leiserson

    I wish we had something with as good odds as your lottery here in California. Our lottery has a much bigger vigorish. The UK is lucky to have the lottery you have. I’ll certainly play it if I’m ever over there.

  • Ruth

    How come we never see Hotpick 5 jackpot winners on lottery life changing story? And why does it take months to win the jackpot on Hotpicks. Sometimes 4 months till it’s won.

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