Serious lottery players, playing the Mega Millions lottery, face a similar dilemma, what to do about that troublesome Bonus number. Analyzing the past winning lottery numbers is one way to improve your chances of winning the lottery. Sadly, the amount of Bonus number data is very slim (only one number per drawing) and it is hard to find any patterns or trends. For most players it ends up being just a guess. It doesn’t have to be that way. You could play smart. That involves playing the odds. Here is one way it could be done.

First, create a database of the Bonus numbers. Your list contains numbers ranging from 1 to 46. The size of the database is up to you but, it should be large enough so that one more drawing doesn’t have a significant effect on the results. One hundred drawings meets the minimum requirement but, the larger the better. In this example, the list contains the last 146 numbers.

I put the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet to analyze. Now, analyzing the numbers is always problematic because, with only one number per drawing, there is little to work with. But, I always uncover something useful and the Mega Millions lottery didn’t disappoint. Here’s what I found.

How often lottery numbers repeat themselves is always valuable information. I wanted to know the same about the Bonus numbers. I found that they repeated back to back 6 times in 146 drawings. Eight times it was a repeat of one of the numbers from the previous 2 drawings. Etc. About now, some of you are asking, ‘But, how does this help me?’ Good question.

The last 5 Bonus numbers repeat 10% of the time in the Mega Millions lottery. That also means that 90% of the time the number is not one of the last 5 numbers but from the remaining pool of 41 numbers. On the average, you will be right 90% of the time by selecting your number from this list. So, while the odds for correctly picking the Bonus numbers for everyone else playing the Mega Millions lottery are 1 in 46, your odds are 1 in 41.

Further, about 20% of the time a Bonus numbers from the last 10 drawings will repeat. Therefore, 80% of the time the number will not be one of the last 10 Bonus numbers. Therefore, you will be right 80% of the time by using the 36 number pool. So, 80% of the time or 4 out of every 5 drawings, your odds will be 1 out of 36.

No doubt, some whiner out there is going to say, ‘That’s no big deal.’ He is obviously not a professional gambler. Because, what we are doing here is the same thing all professional gamblers are doing. They are playing the odds. Over time, over the long haul, this will pay dividends.

Still need some convincing? Then, listen to this. The Mega Millions lottery website provided this data. In the last Mega Millions drawing a total of 476,973 wagers had the Bonus number correct. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume they all selected the number from the 46 number pool. Now, if everyone selected their Bonus number from the 36 number pool, there was an 80% chance that 609,466 wagers would have the winning Bonus number. That’s 132,493 more people with wagers containing the winning Bonus number. Even with no other numbers correct, at \$2.00 a pop, that’s an additional payout of \$264,986. Put another way, on the average, 80% of the time, the lottery would have to pay \$264,986 more.