When people ask “What are the Best Lottery Scratch off Odds?”, they usually are referring to the overall game odds. These are the printed odds on the back of instant scratch games. You might see something like “Overall Odds of Winning are 1 in 4.05”.
These are the the odds of winning any prize, including prizes that are equal to the price of the ticket.
One of our most popular scratcher strategies is our ranking of the best Overall Odds (available free to all our members) where players can instantly compare the overall odds for each game.
However, we are here to caution you that overall odds may not be the same as the best odds of winning. How so?
State lotteries can manipulate the overall odds to make them appear among the best when in reality, the individual prize odds might be among the worst.
Let’s dive in and see an example firsthand.
How is Overall Odds Calculated?
We need to take a step back and first see how does a state lottery calculate the overall odds of winning.
For every scratch game, the state lottery will determine the prize levels (e.g. $5, $10, $100, etc.) and the total number of prizes that will be made available. For our example, I’ve pulled an actual prize chart from a state lottery website.
As we can see, there are 12 different prize levels with a total of 2,395,512 prizes available. The lottery already tells us the overall odds of winning this game are 1 in 4.12, as show below.
The lottery calculated the “1 in 4.12” overall odds by dividing the total number of tickets printed by the total number of prizes available (2,395,512).
But we don’t know how many tickets were printed.
That’s right. The number of tickets printed isn’t disclosed, BUT we can figure it out by multiplying our total number of prizes (2,395,512) by the overall odds (4.12).
The result is approximately 9,900,000 tickets printed. Note we rounded the ticket count as it’s a rough estimate but close enough.
How about Prize Odds?
Now that we have the overall odds calculation out of the way, let’s dive a little deeper and see how the odds of each prize is calculated.
In our same game example, we see that the $500 prize will have 1,247 prizes available at the start of the game. Remember, the lottery has determined they are going to print 9,900,000 tickets so among all those tickets, there will 1,247 $500 winners.