Scratch Off Secrets: How To Calculate Lottery Odds

What if you could actually improve your odds of winning the lottery? When it comes to scratch-off lottery tickets, you might think that your chances are completely random. But once you know how to calculate lottery odds, you can seriously improve your chances of winning.

Want to boost your odds of winning? Keep reading to discover the secrets of calculating your odds!

How to Calculate Lottery Odds: The Basics

If you’re wondering how to calculate lottery odds, we’re going to start with the basics. And that means flipping your scratch-off card over and reading the fine print.

Every scratch-off game is legally required to tell you what your odds of winning are. For example, it may say on the card that your odds of winning are 1 in 4.12.

On the most basic level, you can use this information to find scratch-off games with better odds. But to really make sense of the official odds, we’re going to need to do a bit of math.

Discover the Number of Tickets

To really understand your odds of winning, you need to know how many scratch-off lottery tickets have been printed. There is just one problem: that information is usually not easily available.

However, state lotteries do publish the number of prizes that are available. This ranges from a few major prizes at the top down to hundreds of thousands of smaller prizes.

Let’s take the example of a game where the official odds of winning are 1 in 4.12. You can do some research and discover how many prizes are available (for example, 2,395,512 tickets).

Now, it’s time to do a quick math equation. Remember, the lottery originally determined the official odds by dividing the tickets printed by the number of available prizes. You can reverse this by multiplying the total number of prizes by the official odds (in this case, 4.12).

Do the math and you’ll get the answer: just shy of 9,900,000. Keep in mind that not all tickets are sold all at once but may be released in batches.

Armed with this ticket number, you can begin calculating the odds of winning individual prizes.

Calculating Specific Odds

Play the scratch-off lottery long enough and you are bound to win some prizes. However, most winners simply walk away with a $5 prize. This is a far cry from top prizes that promise you can win amounts such as $250,000.

But what are your actual odds of winning the big prize? Now that we crunched the numbers earlier, it is fairly easy to calculate specific odds.

For example, let’s say the ticket or lottery website tells you that there are five $250,000 prizes. You simply take the number of tickets printed and divide that by the number of prizes available.

In this case, five grand prizes and 9,900,000 tickets mean there is a 1 in 1,980,000 chance of getting the big prize. Needless to say, these aren’t great odds!

However, you can also apply this math equation to the other prizes which have a higher degree of probability. For example, let’s say that there are 1,247 $500 prizes available. Your odds of winning that particular prize would be about 1 in 7,915.

Now that you know the basics of scratch-off lottery odds, let’s review other key info that may help you improve your chances of winning.

Why You Should Do the Research

Lottery tickets are sold because people love to dream about winning. But it’s important that you know what you are likely to win (if anything). That is why doing your own research is so important.

For example, you probably see scratch-off ticket winners all the time. Someone in your local grocery store or gas station may shout for joy after they won $5.

But ask yourself: how many tickets did he buy before he won that small amount? Chances are that he is still effectively “in the hole” with the lotto. Or, at best, maybe he has now broken even.

So knowing the odds of winning specific prizes helps you determine whether a scratch-off ticket is even worth playing. And what’s more, it might completely change how you view your odds of winning.

The Real Story Behind the Odds

In our earlier example, there is a kind of magic trick going on with the published “1 in 4.12” odds. Specifically, the trick is that this represents your odds of winning anything, no matter how low it is.

But now that you know the way to calculate odds for specific prizes, you can really do your homework. For example, you can do a deep comparison between two different lottery tickets.

It’s possible for both scratch-off games to have the exact same odds of winning. But depending on the distribution of prizes, one game might effectively have better odds of winning a big prize than the other.

If you simply take the lottery’s odds at face value, you would never know which game is actually worth your time and money!

Evening the Odds

If you really want to boost your chances of winning, there is one more thing you can do. And that is to use different lottery websites to measure which prizes have already been claimed for specific games.

Let’s say that you see there are five grand prize tickets that have been printed. When you buy your lottery ticket, you are probably hoping to get one of those prizes.

However, it’s entirely possible that all of the grand prizes have already been awarded. While you still have a chance to win a lesser amount, there is no way for you to win the big jackpot.

Long story short? Doing your homework about the lottery involves doing more than some quick math. Actively monitoring the progress of individual lottery games can help improve your odds and even help you find new games that are worth playing.

Your Next Move

Now you know how to calculate lottery odds. But do you know who can help you win more often?

Here at ScratchSmarter, our goal is to help you win big and win more often. To see what we can do to boost your odds even more, just contact us today!

Scroll to Top