Should You Trust Lottery Predictions?

So while it’s clear that there are a range of options to help you select your lottery numbers, none of these methods will guarantee you a jackpot win.

Lottery
Lottery. Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Most people who have played the lottery have had the same thought: is it actually possible to predict the winning numbers ahead of time? While common sense will probably scream “No!”, this feeling is often trumped by wishful thinking.

The winning numbers in all lotteries are drawn at random, so there’s no sure-fire way to predict the results. Indeed, if it were possible to get advanced knowledge of the winning numbers, most lotteries would probably have ceased to exist by now.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain strategies, theories and systems out there that purportedly increase your chances of winning…

Should you trust any of these? Read on to find out.

Different methods of predicting the lottery

Almost all lotteries have an ‘auto select’ or ‘quick pick’ option that will generate a set of numbers for you, meaning you don’t have to wrack your brain trying to select the numbers. All of these will use an RNG or ‘random number generator’ to select the numbers. In fact, certain studies seem to show that you’re just about as likely to win the lottery using the ‘quick pick’ option, as by selecting the individual numbers yourself.

This makes sense when you remember that the winning lottery numbers themselves are the result of a random draw. Many people favour a combination of the two: selecting their own numbers as well as using a particular lottery’s ‘auto-pick’ option.

There are also multiple predictive systems that deal with probability when it comes to selecting lottery numbers. An example of this is the study, The Geometry of Chance: Lotto Numbers Follow a Predicted Pattern, where Brazilian mathematician, Renato Gianella alleges that certain number combinations have a higher likelihood of being drawn when compared to others. His study further finds that it may in fact be possible to work out what these patterns are. Unfortunately, you apparently need a fairly advanced understanding of probability theory and certain mathematical concepts in order to increase your chances, and not many people have this. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, Gianella’s study may be worth a read.

At the other end of the spectrum, is the work by Dr. John Haigh of Sussex University.

While his work is similar to Gianella’s in that it’s centred around probability theory, Dr Haigh reaches a different conclusion in that he believes all number combinations have an equal likelihood of being drawn. Dr. Haigh’s advice is to try and choose number patterns that most other people will not choose, and so because of this, he advises not choosing numbers based around, for example, your birthday. He further advises that you avoid number patterns that result in a low total, and that you can apparently significantly increase your chances by choosing combinations that result in a total of 200.

Odds, websites and AI

There are a slew of websites that offer different options to help you select your numbers.

Some of these make use of random number generators, while others will supposedly provide you with your lucky numbers based on your horoscope. Yet others will provide you with the frequency with which certain numbers are drawn. So can websites help you predict the french lotto numbers, for example? Well, with odds of 1 in 20 million, the odds are already stacked against you, and random guesses from these websites won’t help.

Let’s take a look at some other lottery odds for reference. As mentioned above, the odds of winning the jackpot prize in the French lotto are approximately 1 in 20 million. This compares favourably to the odds of winning the South African Powerball lottery, which has odds of about 1 in 42,375,200, and both of the above lottery odds are dwarfed by the huge odds against winning the US Powerball, with staggering odds of approximately 1 in 292,201,338.

However, In some cases, your chances of at least coming away with some winnings are actually not too bad: in the French lotto, for example, your odds of at least winning something are roughly 1 in 6.

With the rapid development and improvement in artificial intelligence and machine learning, you might wonder whether these may help you predict the winning lottery numbers. The short answer is probably not. The simple fact is that the mind-bogglingly  huge data-sets needed don’t exist, and one reason for this is that most lotteries change the type of random number generator they use on a draw-by-draw basis.

So while it’s clear that there are a range of options to help you select your lottery numbers, none of these methods will guarantee you a jackpot win.

It turns out you really do have to get extremely lucky…

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