KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As thousands of people marked their favorite numbers on Powerball forms, University of Tennessee associate mathematics professor Chuck Collins was figuring out their chances of winning.
"You're picking five numbers, four white balls and one red," explained Collins. "There are 175 million different possibilities, so each person has 175 million chances of winning."
Collins says there is one thing you can do to improve your chances of being the only one to win the jackpot.
"You can increase the value of your possible winnings by picking unusual numbers," said Collins. "People pick birthdays or common numbers between one and 30. If you pick numbers outside that range, then if you do win you will more likely be a sole winner rather than have to share it with someone else."
There is a guaranteed way if you really want to win something, but only a small number of people in the world can do it.
"Suppose you could buy $175 million tickets that would cost you $350 million dollars," explained Collins. "You would win."
Collins says, unfortunately, his background in math will not help him win the lottery, and he thinks most people will not have any more luck then he does.
"I would call it very slim, less than the chance of being struck by lightning," he said.
Collins doesn't plan to play the lottery. He says the chance of him getting any return on his two dollars isn't worth the trip.
Likewise, the math department, Collins says, is not planning a lottery pool for Wednesday's drawing either.