PSU prof uses ‘9 Rose Gardens’ to explain Powerball odds


Odds are about 300 million-to-1

A Megamillions and Powerball sign in Portland, January 18, 2021 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It would take about 35 million basketballs to fill the Moda Center. The odds of winning either the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot is about 300 million-to-one.

“So you would need 9 Rose Gardens” of basketballs to equal the odds of winning the big lottery jackpots taking hold in the American psyche right now, said PSU mathematics and statistics Professor Steven Bleiler.

One of those basketballs has an “X” on the bottom of it and you get to pick one basketball from any of the 9 filled arenas — but you’re blindfolded so you can’t see if the basketball you choose has an “X” on the bottom.

PSU Professor Steven Bleiler, January 18, 2021 (KOIN)

If you don’t pick that one basketball, “then you’re not the Powerball winner,” Bleiler told KOIN 6 News.

“Any lottery purchase, you have to remember what it is you’re buying,” he said. “You’re buying a dream.”

He also offered a reminder of why these lottery jackpots get so big: “They’re large because of all the people who played and didn’t win before you. … The lottery supports the state of Oregon. Make no mistake. It really does.”

Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing is estimated to be $850 million — the 3rd largest of all time — and the $730 million Powerball is the 5th-largest.

Neither jackpot has been this big since 2019, when a Wisconsin man won $768 million in Powerball.

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