Let's be clear, the odds of winning the lottery are astronomical; your chances are often 1 in 100 million, or much, much worse. However, there are ways to increase your chances of winning (even though said chances will remain astronomical). The lottery is a crapshoot. Even if you do win, you might blow through your money, or suffer other unforeseen complications to your life that aren't worth the headache (well, they probably are worth it a little). But if you're truly committed, you have some options.
Of course, numbers matter. There are certain numbers to play in the lottery that really will increase your chance of winning, even if that seems counterintuitive, as random as drawings are. But those in the know argue that math is the stitching of the universe, and you can use it to solve just about everything. To find out what those winning lottery numbers are and learn how to statistically increase your odds of winning the lottery, read on. If you're not buying it, here are some other fun facts about the lottery that mostly offer instances of other people's pain for you to lampoon.
Official Lottery News has some mathematical guidance for you on how to best improve your chances of winning (though take it with a grain of salt as they benefit from you not winning). According to them:
"Don’t pick consecutive numbers. If playing a jackpot with five winning numbers where the numbers go up to 55, the total of your numbers should be between 104 and 176. According to studies, 70% of all lottery jackpots have sums that fall within that range. You can use our quick pick automatic number generator on all our lottery games makes it easy to pick a good set of numbers."
The more tickets you buy in a single lottery, the higher the likelihood you'll win. That's basic math. However, some people like to set aside money to regularly play the lottery, which offsets this advantage. So if you are one of those people, try setting aside said money and using it to buy more tickets in a single lottery game (perhaps on a monthly basis), instead of buying less tickets on a weekly basis, for example.
Buying tickets in groups, often referred to as a syndicate, increases your chance of winning using the same concept as buying more tickets on your own. There's a give and take with buying more as a syndicate. Generally, your group can afford to buy more tickets together than you can on your own. So your chances of winning are naturally increased. If you win, however, you obviously need to split that money (unless you're particularly nefarious), so you'll win less. The latter outweighs the former from a statistical standpoint in most cases.
The sole reason you should allow the computer to pick your numbers is to combat the human tendency to pick numbers associated with significant dates in their lives. According to Alex Bellos in his book The Grapes of Math, "One response to numbers is affection. After counting, calculating and quantifying with our numerical tools it is common to develop feelings for them." According to Powerball's website, more than 70% of players leave their fate to computers — and look how well it's worked out for them.