Powerball, Mega Millions Set To Duel Over Jackpot Pole Position This Week

Eric Raskin

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Ever since both top prizes were claimed and reset in early June, it’s been a tight race between Powerball and Mega Millions as to which draw lottery offers the larger potential jackpot.

This holiday week, it’s a race in which the lead is poised to change hands with each passing day that neither jackpot is won.

Coming off the weekend, the Mega Millions jackpot sits at an estimated $137 million (cash option: $64.5 million) for Tuesday’s draw, while Powerball trails at $125 million (cash value: $59.6 million) for Monday night.

If nobody wins Powerball on Monday, though, it’s likely to inch past $137 million for Wednesday. And if nobody wins Mega Millions on Tuesday, it figures to cross $150 million and regain the lead heading into Friday — though if nobody wins Powerball on Wednesday, maybe that one will nudge right back into the top spot as the long holiday weekend arrives.

You get the idea. For lottery players who prefer not to buy tickets for both games and base their decisions on which one has the bigger jackpot at a given moment, the choices will be subject to change all week.

Which lottery is attracting more action?

Over the weekend, though neither jackpot hit, there were two new millionaires minted — both in Powerball.

Friday’s winning Mega Millions numbers of 28, 31, 33, 42, and 66 with a gold Mega Ball of 24 were a whiff (as tends to be the case when most of the numbers are above 30 and players using people’s birthdays as lucky numbers have no chance). The largest amount won in that particular lottery draw was a mere $10,000.

Saturday’s Powerball draw was decidedly more productive at the top, even though it too featured high numbers that didn’t align with people’s birthdays. On winning numbers of 26, 51, 54, 61, and 69 with a red Powerball of 25, two players — one in New Jersey and one in Indiana — matched all five white balls and hauled in an even $1 million before taxes.

Lottery Geeks estimates that 12.4 million tickets were sold for the Saturday Powerball, compared to about 11.6 million for Mega Millions on Friday.

Tickets for either lottery cost $2, with an option in most states to pay an extra dollar to have any non-jackpot win multiplied.

Both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are available in every state except Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. Tickets can also be purchased in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and, for Powerball only, Puerto Rico.

All-Time Biggest Jackpots

Here is a list of the all-time top 10 U.S. lottery jackpots:

  1. $2.04 billion, Powerball, Nov. 7, 2022, won in California
  2. $1.76 billion, Powerball, Oct. 11, 2023, won in California
  3. $1.6 billion, Mega Millions, Aug. 8, 2023, won in Florida
  4. $1.59 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016, won in California, Florida, and Tennessee
  5. $1.54 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018, won in South Carolina
  6. $1.35 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 13, 2023, won in Maine
  7. $1.34 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022, won in Illinois
  8. $1.33 billion, Powerball, April 6, 2024, won in Oregon
  9. $1.13 billion, Mega Millions, March 26, 2024, won in New Jersey
  10. $1.08 billion, Powerball, July 19, 2023, won in California

And here’s the all-time top 10 by lump-sum cash value:

  1. $997.6 million, Powerball, Nov. 7, 2022, won in California
  2. $983.5 million, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016, won in California, Florida, and Tennessee
  3. $877.8 million, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018, won in South Carolina
  4. $794.2 million, Mega Millions, Aug. 8, 2023, won in Florida
  5. $780.5 million, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022, won in Illinois
  6. $776.6 million, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021, won in Michigan
  7. $774.1 million, Powerball, Oct. 11, 2023, won in California
  8. $723.5 million, Mega Millions, Jan. 13, 2023, won in Maine
  9. $621 million, Powerball, April 6, 2024, won in Oregon
  10. $558.1 million, Powerball, July 19, 2023, won in California