US Lottery

Is Powerball or Mega Millions better? Prizes & odds

Two lotteries, two sets of odds and two whopping jackpot payouts. But if you have to choose between playing one or the other, which is better?

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Is Powerball or Mega Millions better? Prizes & odds

Ever wondered the key differences between the Mega Millions and the Powerball lotteries? Look no further!

The Mega Million draw is held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm ET.

Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.

Which odds are better: Powerball or Mega Millions?

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338, so you’re more likely to win at a slot machine than the grand prize. Could anything be less likely to happen?

Yes, as turns out! The Mega Millions lottery cashes in with even slimmer odds - you’ve got to have some serious four-leaf clover action going on to beat the 302,575,350 to 1 odds there.

Which prize jackpot is higher: Powerball or Mega Millions?

The current Powerball jackpot looks paltry at $123 million compared to the recent windfall one lucky individual received of $731 million. That win was the 5th biggest jackpot of all time in the US.

The Mega Millions jackpot sits at a modest $43 million for Tuesday's drawing, a far cry from the second largest Mega Millions jackpot in history. In January one lucky individual won over a $1 billion, or if they took the cash option $776 million, after purchasing the only winning ticket for that drawing. 

How to play Powerball

When you play Powerball you need to choose six numbers from two separate pools for the drawing. Players choose five numbers between 1 and 69 for the white balls and one number for a red ball, or Powerball, from 1 to 26.

There are a total of nine ways to win a prize in Powerball, ranging from $4, recovering your initial $2 buy-in plus $2, to the jackpot. Players can increase their prize amounts by spending an extra $1 for the “PowerPlay” option to win two, three, four or even five times as much. However the PowerPlay only applies to non-jackpot prizes below $1 million. Any PowerPlay number doubles the $1 million prize.

Check out our full guide for more on what all of the prizes are for Powerball, there are nine!

How to play Mega Millions

The Mega Millions lottery is one of the biggest multi-jurisdictional lotteries in the United States and is currently available to residents of 45 states.

When you play Mega Millions you need to choose six numbers from two separate pools for the drawing. Players choose five numbers between 1 and 70 for the white balls and one number for a gold ball from 1 to 25.

There are a total of nine ways to win a prize in Mega Millions, ranging from recovering your initial $2 buy-in to the jackpot. Players can increase their prize amounts by spending an extra $1 for the Megaplier option to win two, three, four or even five times as much. However the Megaplier only applies to non-jackpot prizes.

Check out our full guide for more on what all of the prizes are for Mega Millions, there are nine!