The Powerball jackpot is up to $650 million.
Right now, it would be the third-largest payout on a lottery in the U.S., and the second-largest Powerball award.
Even though the $650 million gets paid out over 30 years, and that Uncle Sam and your state government will claim a huge chunk, this is still enough to keep you in lattes for life — even at Starbucks prices.
Expect a surge in buying ahead of Wednesday’s drawing.
In each Powerball drawing, five white balls and one red ball are drawn. The white balls are numbered 1 through 69, and the red, or “power,” ball, 1 through 26.
So you have to guess six numbers. Among the first five, the order doesn’t matter. A ticket costs $2. When you include all the lesser prizes you can win, and factor in the probabilities, by my math a ticket is worth at least $1.
If you win, how will you spend the money?
Don’t be too concerned, the odds of hitting the jackpot are one in 292 million.
Logically, all numbers should be equal. Someone picking 1-2-3-4-5-6 should have no better or worse chance of winning than someone who picks 64-65-66-67-68-26. There shouldn’t be any downside to just letting the machine in your local convenience store pick numbers for you — an option called a Quick Pick.
But according to Marketwatch, in the past couple of years, since the Powerball took its current format, some numbers have come up more than others.
And some have come up a lot more often.
Reason tells me this is just data mining — a statistical fluke, with no predictive power. But if you’re superstitious and believe in patterns, you may take a different view.
Stupid? Sure. But let the record show that when I was in Las Vegas once with one of America’s leading financial news editors, he refused to play on the first three craps tables we passed because they were “running cold.”
So which Powerball numbers have come up most often?
For the white balls, which number from 1 to 69, these 12 numbers have beaten the average by more than one standard deviation: 32, 64, 16, 23, 28, 40, 52, 62, 33, 61, 63 and 69. (They’re ranked in order: Thirty-two has come up 75% more often than it theoretically should have.)
And among the Powerball numbers, which range from 1 to 26, the numbers that have come up most often are 9, 10 and 21. (Nine has come up 84% more often than the statistical average.)
If you’re a momentum follower, you may want to pick from those numbers. I guarantee, at worst, pure math says they are at least as statistically likely to win as any others!
On the other hand, “value” investors, who believe in the long-term reversion to the mean, may look at the numbers and say: These have outperformed! They are due for a period of underperformance! Tell me the numbers that haven’t come up lately, and which are “due.”
The number 35 is way behind. It’s come up barely a third as often as you’d expect. Other numbers that have underperformed the statistical average by more than one standard deviation? Try 58, 51, 6, 34, 24, 56, 38, 15, 14, 8 and 4.
And among Powerball numbers, the worst performer to date has been 14 — followed closely by 7, 26, 18 and 23.