Mega Millions or March Madness?

March 18, 2014 – Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is worth an estimated $400 million and, as always, the odds of winning that life-changing jackpot prize are about 1 in 260 million against you.  This week, players may be eyeing a different gamble for that kind of money, but the odds may be worse than you think.

Billionaire Warren Buffett has pledged $1 billion to anyone who can fill out a perfect bracket for this year’s NCAA tournament, and sports fans (and non-sports fans) all across the nation have started submitting their picks.

So what are the odds of winning $1 billion?  Well, not great.  In fact, with 68 teams in the tournament to start, there are a total of more than 9 quintillion possible outcomes for March Madness this year.  That’s an enormous number: 9,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Worse for those hoping basketball research will pay off is that this year’s tournament is expected to be one of the tightest contests in March Madness history.  Even those who have spent countless hours trying to make the right picks could get one wrong.

And that’s all it takes to miss out on the $1 billion – one wrong prediction out of 9 quintillion possibilities to knock your bracket out of the running.

So, what about Mega Millions?

One-in-260 million odds are starting to look pretty good compared to the incredibly slim chance of picking a perfect bracket.  You’d even have better odds of winning both the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots this week than picking a perfect bracket.

Sure, $400 million is not $1 billion, but each $1 Mega Millions ticket offers nine ways to win.

The billion dollar bracket challenge is offering just two ways to win.  Anyone with a perfect bracket will have a choice between $25 million for the next 40 years or a $500 million lump-sum payment.

The top 20 brackets submitted will also win prizes – each will win $100,000.

So, now that you know how very unlikely it is you’ll choose a perfect bracket for March Madness or even finish in the top 20, you can fill out your Billion Dollar Bracket entry through Yahoo – click here.

And don’t forget to pick up your Mega Millions tickets before tonight’s $400 million drawing.  For a state-by-state list of sales closing times, check out this post.


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Written by Matt Isaacs

Matt is the Editorial Manager for the LotteryHUB News Team. Matt graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in May 2013