Do you have Powerball fever?
Admit it, you have caught yourself wondering what you would buy first if you won hundreds of millions of dollars. (Here's a hint: I'd be calling Augusta National for a membership packet pretty quickly.)
The multi-state drawing has not had a jackpot winner since Nov. 7, so projections for this Wednesday's drawing are in the $1.4 billion neighborhood, and as we all know, that's a really nice neighborhood.
But, we'd advise hiring Adrian Peterson as a weekend babysitter before telling you to make firm plans on how you are going to spend your newfound billion. In truth, the cash-option payout would be about $868 million and that's roughly the value of the Utah Jazz of the NBA.
That total, of course, is before taxes, and the federal take if there's a winner Wednesday is north of $200 million. If you live in Tennessee and win, you won't owe state taxes. If you live in Georgia, though, well, you may want to move north before cashing that winning ticket since it would save you an eight-figure check in state taxes.
Again, we'll advise caution about big investments counting on a Wednesday payday.
The odds of winning Wednesday are 292,201,338 to 1.
Before Saturday night's winner-less drawing, the lines at my local convenience store were 10 deep. A nine-figure dream generated huge interest; a 10-figure blessing will be another round of crazy before Wednesday, and who's to say an extra digit won't push it beyond the $1.4-billion projection.
But the odds are long. Not as long as the last time $1 billion was offered, back when Warren Buffett offered the B-sum a few years ago for anyone who predicted a perfect NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket. (Buffett's bet was safe, since the odds of getting every game correct were 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1. To put it another way, if you filled out every possible bracket and stacked them on top of each other, it would go from the Earth to the sun. More than 6,000 times.)
So by comparison, winning the lottery will be a breeze. Or not.
Here, according to the good folks at Fiscal Times on Monday, are some other numbers to notice about Wednesday's potential life-changing drawing:
* The odds of winning are roughly the same as flipping a coin and it landing on heads 28 consecutive times. If that sounds easy, well, try it. (And if you pull it off, it likely was far less lucrative.)
* The estimated odds of being president of the United States are roughly 1-in-11 million, meaning it's 25 times more likely that you will be the commander in chief than win Wednesday night. (We feel certain you would be better than Hillary, so there's still time.)
* Other crazy things that have better odds than winning the jackpot Wednesday include becoming an astronaut (12.1 million to 1), being killed by a vending machine (121 million to 1) being struck by lightning or being killed by a flesh-eating virus (1 million to 1). Excuse me, I feel the need to wash my hands.
* Tickets were being sold at a rate of almost $28 million an hour across the country before Saturday's drawing. That works out to almost $8,000 a second in sales.
* If you are looking for an edge, know that 70 percent of previous winners used the "Quick Pick" option for the lucky selection. According to ABC News, the most frequently drawn numbers, in order, are 8, 54, 14, 39, 13. Also, the odds favor lottery players in Pennsylvania, where 16 winning Powerball jackpot tickets have been sold.
* And now, our public service announcement: Roughly 44 percent of all past lottery winners blew through all of their winnings. Although since this jackpot is more than double the previous U.S. record of $656 million the Mega Millions paid out in 2012, blowing through this amount of loot seems like an impossibility.
So there you go. Good luck. You'll need it.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org and 423-757-6343. His "Right to the Point" column appears on A2 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.