When people ask “Which Scratch Tickets Win the Most?”, they usually are referring to the overall game odds. These are the odds to win any prize in a game and are typically printed odds on the back of instant scratch games. You might see something like “Overall Odds of Winning are 1 in 4.05”.
The scratch games with the lowest Overall Odds are the games that “win” the most often. However, an important thing to know is that the Overall Odds include winning breakeven prizes. More on that in a minute.
However, if you are just looking for a quick way to find the scratch offs with the best overall odds, visit one of our most popular scratch off rankings, Best Odds to Win Any Prize. It’s available free to everyone for the states we cover. With this ranking, you can instantly see the overall odds ranked for each scratch game and know which are the best.
Should I Only Use the Overall Odds to Pick Games?
While most players focus on the overall odds to find the best games to play, we are here to caution that overall odds may not be the same as the best odds of winning.
You might be asking yourself, how is that possible?
As we mentioned above, State lotteries include breakeven prizes in their calculation of the overall odds. Breakeven prizes are prizes where you win your money back or a free ticket. If you bought a $5 scratch off and won $5, that is a breakeven prize.
By including LOTS of breakeven prizes in a game, the overall odds can appear attractive when in reality, the odds to win more meaningful prizes might not be as favorable.
Let’s dive in and see an example firsthand.
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, we’ve pulled a prize chart from one of the scratch offs we track.
As we can see, there are 11 different prize levels with a total of 1,110,477 prizes available. The lottery tells us the overall odds of winning this game are 1 in 3.02. That means on average about 1 in every 3 tickets should contain a winner.
The lottery calculated the “1 in 3.02” overall odds by dividing the total number of tickets printed by the total number of prizes available (1,110,477).
Now what if the lottery took one of those awesome million dollar prizes and converted it to only 20,000 $20 prizes. They are now giving away LESS MONEY but let’s look at the new overall odds.
We divide the total number of tickets printed by the new 1,130,477 prizes, we see the overall odds are now 1 in 2.56! That is over a 15% IMPROVEMENT to the overall odds but we are paying out $600,000 less in prize money.
You can see how easily the overall odds can mislead when you only focus on them. We just improved the Odds to Win but the game doesn’t pay out nearly as well.
So How Do I Know Which Scratch Offs Win the Most?
Now that we understand how the overall odds are calculated and how they can be manipulated, what should we be looking at to know which scratch offs to pick?
At Lotto Edge, we always encourage players to look at the individual prize odds. If you don’t care about what you win, then “winning” back the cost of the ticket might be great. Use the overall game odds.
But most players have a prize in mind they would like to win. Maybe today you are feel like hitting $100 would make your day. Next time, you’re feeling lucky and want to chase a $10,000 or even a multi-million dollar top prize.
Once you know the prizes you are chasing, you just need to check which game has the best odds to win those prizes!
Most players are only aware of the the overall odds when it comes to scratch off games. Finding the games with the lowest overall odds will lead to the games that should win the most often.
However, savvy players know to target individual prize odds and games instead of hoping to hit a prize to “win” their money back.