Can winning lotto numbers be predicted?

The odds of winning Lotto are certainly stacked against you, but is there a way you can predict the numbers in a particular draw?

Claiming the Powerball prize, which has reached as high as $150 million in Australia, is a one in 134 million chance.

It means you are more likely to be struck by lightning, or be killed by a vending machine, than to claim the division one prize.

But the lure of such a big cash prize tempts about one in three Australians to buy a ticket in the big draws.

Can you predict winning lotto numbers?

To win a division one Powerball mega jackpot you need to have all seven numbers and the Powerball. For OzLotto you need the seven drawn numbers, and Lotto six.

Intuitive palmologist and numerologist Max Coppa told Yahoo News Australia people “constantly” ask him for which numbers will win them the lottery.

Numerology is the belief in a divine connection between numbers and coinciding events.

“Everyone wants to win the lottery,” Mr Coppa said.

“I’m a bit hesitant as I feel it’s abusing our power.”

A fortune-teller reading a client's palm. Psychics don't like to give advice on lottery numbers.
Psychics generally won't give out winning lottery numbers to people as it's seen as 'unethical'. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

His thoughts are echoed by clairvoyant and medium Katrina-Jade Bart who said “ethically, it’s not right”.

She added she’s never known a clairvoyant who’s given over lottery numbers either and “it’s not really what we do”.

Sometimes people end up spending all their lottery winnings anyway, Ms Bart said.

However, Ms Bart said if people have a strong sense they are about to win something they should take action.

“I believe in positive vibes and good energy,” she said.

“But if you feel: ‘I’m going to win’ all the time and expect to win - that’s not how the world works.

“You actually have to do things. It’s like when someone tells me: ‘I’m going to meet the love of my life’.

“It’s not going to happen if you just stay sitting on the couch.”

People toasting with wine glasses as the sun sets. A scene that might play out if you win Lotto.
A statistician says it would only be possible to use stats or probability to predict lottery results 'if it was rigged'. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

When University of Sydney statistician Dr Michael Stewart was asked if you could predict the lottery or count numbers like Blackjack he said, “the short answer is no”.

“Unless it was rigged,” he said.

What are the best lotto numbers to choose?

The Lott does have a number frequency section. It shows how often a certain number has been drawn in recent lotteries.

For example, ahead of a $100 million draw in September, the number 17 was revealed to be one of the most drawn Powerball numbers.

Dr Stewart said while the number frequency section isn’t malicious it has no effect on what numbers are about to be picked.

“They’re a complete red herring,” Dr Stewart said.

“It’s of absolutely of no use but that’s not to say it has a nefarious intention.”

A man sits on a couch looking at his laptop. Lottery agents provide information on past winning numbers.
Looking up past results online won't work in your favour when it comes to predicting the next winning numbers. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

So, how should you select numbers if you can’t use probability?

Mr Coppa said when he enters the lottery or any competition involving numbers he normally uses digits which have significance to him and his life.

One of those is the number four - his old jersey number when he played football.

“For me, when I use numbers I like to use birth dates and have the input of my wife and children,” he said.

“There’s energy in those numbers.”



Oz Lotto




Lotto Strike


Mr Coppa added people are “always changing numbers” and he advised not to.

“If you have a strong feeling about them, keep them,” he said.

“If you visualise or dream about certain numbers - definitely use them. Work with the numbers you love.”

A Powerball Quickpick ticket being removed from a wallet.
A numerologist recommended choosing numbers which have significance to you such as birthdays. Source: The Lott (file pic)

Is there a system for winning the lottery?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a system for winning the lottery.

It purely comes down to chance.

But why do we always feel like we’re holding the winning ticket?

Hilary Rimmer, from the University of Queensland’s Cognitive Collective, said people miscalculate when odds are against them.

“We trick ourselves when buying a lottery ticket into believing past events have an influence on upcoming events,” she said.

“It’s the same if we flip a coin and get heads five times in a row. We’re confident it’ll become a tail.

“Our perspective is myopic and we struggle to conceive odds.”

A woman holding paper sheets, looking up and thinking, possibly about lotto numbers.
People struggle to conceive odds when it comes to the lottery. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

Ms Rimmer and Dr Stewart both said people look at past events when entering the lottery which is misguided.

“Past draws have absolutely no bearing on future ones,” Dr Stewart said.

Ms Rimmer added “intuitively” people buy tickets despite losing constantly with the belief they are due for a win.

People also are generally “risk-averse” when it comes to entering too and can suffer from a fear of missing out.

“Winning $50 doesn’t feel as good as losing $50 feels bad,” she said.

“This leads to an imbalance. We’re afraid if we don’t buy a ticket we’ve missed out on something.”

A number of coloured lotto balls.
Winning the lotto comes down to chance and unfortunately the odds aren't in your favour. Source: The Lott (file pic)

We also don’t think about other people entering the lottery either.

“If we feel like we’re going to win we generally aren’t thinking about the millions of other people who are feeling the same way,” Ms Rimmer said.

Ms Bart said she often sees people who have a sense they are about to win something.

“I sometimes advise them on doing X, Y and Z to get there,” she said.

“Also, it can be given in a certain time frame - for example, three months or several weeks away they might win something.

“But it can be a bit of a sliding doors moment and if people don’t take that chance they can miss the boat.”

How should you play the lottery?

It’s bad news for anyone who plays the lottery in the hopes of one day getting a big win to pay off the mortgage.

“The main thing is if you’re using the lottery to make money - you’re doomed,” Dr Stewart said.

“In the long term, if you gambled you might win something but you’ll always come out behind.”

Dr Stewart said the best way to play the lottery is to put “a little bit” of money aside.

“If you win anything it’s an added bonus,” he said.

“There’s no magic going on here. It’s superstitious marketing.”

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