YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A statistics expert weighs in on the lottery, chances of winning and his response to not playing.

It’s what statisticians call expected value, which is if you look at the ratio of money paid into the lottery versus the amount that comes back out to the players, it’s not good.

But a billion dollars is a billion dollars.  Professor J.P. Morgan of Virginia Tech feels now is a better time to jump in and play the lottery, because others have built the jackpot for you.

“As the money builds up, the odds don’t change but the payoff gets bigger and that’s what you want. You want the payoff relative to the odds of winning to be as large as possible,” he said.

The other way to win big is to avoid splitting the jackpot.  Professor Morgan suggests picking numbers no one else will pick.

“You never pick, for instance, numbers that are ordered in some way. Never pick 1,2,3,4,5,6. You’d be amazed how many people pick those sorts of combinations.”

The odds are long. You could buy all the combinations, but Professor Morgan says it would take 575 years to make tickets with every possible combination if you printed one every minute.

When asked if he will be playing a Mega Millions ticket, Morgan said:

“I’ll be playing in my imagination.”

Professor Morgan suggests writing down your numbers along with $2. Check the numbers and when you don’t win, you have $2 to spend.

The Mega Millions drawing is Friday at 11 p.m. EST.