The odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in 292 million. Still, many of us have dreamt about holding a winning ticket and what we’d spend our earnings on.
It’s impossible to predict whether you’ll be the lucky winner—but knowing how the game works and increasing your odds of earning some money back isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
Top scratch off tickets right now
Ultimately, there’s no definite way to determine which tickets will result in a win, but Jared James, a former PriceWaterhouseCoopers CPA and Mergers & Acquisition Specialist, has come up with a solution to help lottery players purchase tickets with the best odds.
Lotto Edge uses mathematical algorithms that provides players with scratch off game rankings using actual lottery data. Today’s top overall rankings for tickets across all states and price points ranging from $1–$100 include:
- Set for life
- Ticket cost: $50
- Game #:
- State: Arizona
- Overall odds: 1 in 2.18
- Triple bonus crossword
- Ticket cost: $25
- Game #: 1391
- State: Arizona
- Overall odds: 1 in 2.40
- 50 Years!
- Ticket cost: $50
- Game #: 625
- State: Maryland
- Overall odds: 1 in 2.44
“The best game to play is the one that gives you the best chances of winning the prizes you’re after. Every player has a different prize amount they are chasing and different budget,” says James, founder of Lotto Edge. “The best game to play is going to be the game with the best odds to win the prizes they are chasing. Players are genuinely shocked to learn there is information available to help them know games with better odds or prizes that may be due to hit. Winning still takes luck but they should take a minute and do a little research to know the games that give them the best chances of winning. Our motto is ‘luck favors the prepared.’”
How different lottery games work
For many, the inner workings for the lottery system are a mystery. But James says it can be broken down into three types of games:
- Scratch off tickets: “Scratch offs are unique from the other styles as they have a set number of tickets printed, set prizes and stated odds. This information can be tracked daily and compared to other scratch games to find games with the most advantageous odds. Scratch offs also typically have better odds of winning than draw games,” says James.
- Draw games: Draw games are a traditional lottery game type involving a draw that determines the winning tickets. Favorite draw games include the multi-state Mega Millions and the Powerball lotteries. Traditionally, draw games could only be played at convenience stores and gas stations. However, certain states now allow people to play them online. Draw games offer significant prizes; for example, the minimum jackpot for Mega Millions is $40 million.
- Fast Play games: Fast Play games are similar to scratch off tickets, but without the scratching. Games come in a variety of price points and are printed by lottery terminals and vending machines.
Ultimately, the “right” game will depend on your end goal. “We encourage players to instead have a prize target in mind and play the games with the best odds to win those prizes,” says James.
What to know if you win
For players who beat the odds and win money from playing a lottery game, it’s important to make a clear plan for that windfall.
“The best advice I can give is surround yourself with a high-quality team of advisors,” says James. At a minimum, that includes legal and financial advisors. Take the time to find qualified people outside your immediate circle. Just because you “know” someone in those fields doesn’t mean they are qualified to help you in your unique situation. They should also know it’s ok to have a little splurge with [your] winnings. We recommend setting aside a small portion, like 5%, to spend on whatever you like. Go ahead and scratch that spending itch, but put the rest of it away to save and make it last for years to come.”
A few other ideas for your prize might include paying off high-interest debt, investing a portion of your winnings, or saving some of it in a high-yield savings account for later.
Playing the lottery can be both exciting and lucrative—as long as your financial house is in order. If you do have the funds to spend and want to test your odds, be sure to do your homework to determine which games will give you the best odds of coming out on top.