YOU have to be in it to win it – but you can push up your chances of bagging a life changing sum by following the advice of lottery experts.
Whether it’s buying the home of your dreams or jetting off with the family on a luxury holiday, everyone has dreamt of what they would do after winning millions of pounds on the lottery.
We all know the odds of picking a winning ticket are pretty slim – around one in 45million to be precise.
However, a few hacks could see you improve your chances.
Pick your game
Playing any of the lottery games is essentially making a bet on the numbers that will appear in any given draw.
But many people take more notice of the jackpot rather than the odds associated with the game, according to the expert and blogger Lottery Guy, who runs the eponymous site.
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Lottery Guy declined to reveal his name, but said: “Games with small jackpots tend to have better odds.
“So EuroMillions is 3.1 times harder to win than UK Lotto.
“That's before you factor in the higher ticket price too.
"And most people would be perfectly happy with the pretty huge jackpot that the Lotto provides.”
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Luke Cope, odds expert at AceOdds.com, agreed that taking account of differences between the games can make a big difference to winning potentials.
He said: “Some lotteries may have bonus numbers or other features which could improve someone's chance of winning.
“Researching these additional elements and understanding them can help someone make a more informed decision when choosing their numbers.”
Look at the balls drawn most
Each lottery draw is random and balls have the same chance of being drawn.
But there are some balls that statistically have appeared more often than others which could make them seem a better bet.
Danny Waites, data analyst at Embryo Digital last year analysed all of the draws since the UK’s National Lotto started.
His theory is that machines should eventually be able to predict the outcome of draws based on historical data.
Looking at the data he found some balls were drawn more often than others.
Number 38 was most common with 407 appearances, while 23 was the second most drawn at 392 times, followed by 31, 11, 45 and 25.
Number 13 really does appear to be unlucky with 298 appearances making it 26.7 per cent less frequent than 38.
He also found the order of the balls appeared to have impacted the likelihood of some being drawn.
The data showed number seven is most likely to be drawn first, with 14 most likely to be drawn second.
Number 21 is the favourite for being third and 29 for fourth, followed by 36 and 43.
Unfortunately, Danny found there is not yet enough data for machines to reliably predict the outcome.
Danny said: “There are over 45million different combinations of numbers that can be used and we’d need about 20 million draws to get something that would be 80% correct.”
He added that overall there was not much deviation in appearances across the numbers.
Target the balls drawn least
Some people may believe that choosing the numbers least common actually increases the chance of winning.
It could be argued that they will eventually be drawn as many times as the most common one based making them more likely in the future.
Luke Cope said: “The most common lottery balls are the least likely to be chosen by players because people typically believe that choosing uncommon or unique numbers will increase their chances of winning.
“This belief is not necessarily true, however, because every lottery ball has an equal chance of being chosen, regardless of how common or uncommon it is.
“It is important to remember that lotteries are based on randomness and luck so there is no guaranteed way to win the lottery.”
Danny added: “It does sound like it would make sense that the most common balls are least likely to be picked, but the probability will always roughly even out over time.”
Get more tickets for the same draw
The best way to improve your chances of winning is to buy more tickets for a single draw.
But you should never spend more than you can afford.
Happily, there is one easy way of getting more tickets at the same cost and that is by joining a syndicate.
Of course, you share the winnings, but the chances of matching the numbers drawn are vastly improved.
You can find or start a syndicate among family, friends or work colleagues.
Or you can even join a syndicate online. There are plenty of options available, but Lottery Guy recommends YouPlayWePlay.com.
He says: “You can play as and when you like or subscribe. YPWP play EuroMillions, Thunderball, UK Lotto and Set For Life.”
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Overall, the best way to approach any lottery is as a game of fun because there is no way to guarantee a winning ticket.
Only spend what you are comfortable with losing and if you’re worried about gambling you can get help and advice from the NHS, GamCare and BeGambleAware.
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