How many numbers do you wheel?

clifford1944's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

Well for a while I thought maybe 1/3rd of the total numbers in a lottery you could wheel.  Here in Oklahoma there is a pick 5 with no power number from 1-36 numbers.  I kinda thought that 12 numbers for about 9-15 combos would work.

But now I think that it should be just 1/4th of the numbers for about 7-9 combos.  More would be good but who has the money?  So for 36 numbers then 9 would be ideal I think.  Of course choosing them would be another subject.

Gail Howard has some great wheeling software for free on her site.  Google her.  She has one wheel for 22 numbers and about 10 combos but it is not always easy for the right numbers to be on the same ticket.

If you used 18 numbers for a 36 game then would the odds of getting all five winning numbers be 50%.

Anyway here in Oklahoma if you get 4 out of 5 winning numbers on the same ticket then it's $500 not bad considering the Powerball is only $100.  And speaking of the Powerball at 59 numbers I think 59/4 would be about 15 rounded up.  A long shot.

Just wondering if anyone out there would let me know what they think about my subject question.

Thanks, cliff


I'm trying to answer that question right now with a 5/32 game in Colorado.

I think the best way to find out is to pick a wheel, choose some numbers, wheel them and then go back about 25 games and start comparing the actual winning #'s to the #'s you chose. In other words, use your wheel combinations to see how you would have done had you wheeled them 25 draws ago and played them in all those games. Figure out how much money you would have won/lost during that time.

It's a bit time consuming but I'll have somewhat of an idea what I may be able to expect going forward.

BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
In response to clifford1944

It's pretty much a fact of life, when you wheel a third of the numbers you will have a third of the winning numbers among your selected third more often then not.

The optimal way to play would be to put 35 of those 36 numbers into play either in 7 lines, or more lines making an open cover or percentage of guarantee wheel using a wheel maker like CoverMaster.

Something like this . . .

 6  7 18 25 26
 8  9 14 17 34
 5 12 29 31 35
 2 11 13 27 30
16 22 28 32 33
 3  4 10 19 21
 1 15 20 23 24
 4 25 34 35 36
 9 10 26 31 36
 3 12 17 18 27
 5  7  8 13 19
 6 14 21 29 30
 2 16 20 22 23
 1 11 15 32 33

17% (36,5,3,5)=14


clifford1944's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

Thank you both for the replies.


Can anybody suggest a wheel for 20 numbers that guarantees a 4 of 4?  Meaning if four numbers are right you will have them correct playing 4 numbers per selection.

st.germain's avatar - Tarlor

Stay with 12 numbers....they cover the matrix more equally.

jimjwright's avatar - furball2
In response to clifford1944

I try to wheel 1/3 of the numbers.  I grew up in Pryor Oklahoma, not far from Broken Arrow.


clifford1944's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

Yes I agree with you on the 1/3.  be nice to squeeze to 1/4 sometimes though.  I've been to Pryor several times as my work takes me all over NE Oklahoma.  It's right above Chouteo? where the Amish babes hang out.  On 412 that is. 

I am thinking about going over to ExpertLotto from Lotto Buster as LB is out of business.

Boney526's avatar - NjlpLogo

Picking 18 out of 36 numbers doesn't give you a 50% chance of getting 5 numbers right within your 18.  The first ball drawn will have a 50% chance of matching one of your digits, the next will have a 17/35 chance, the next will have a 16/34 chance, and so on.  If you multiply all of it together, you get 8568/376992 or about a 2.273% chance of getting 5 numbers right.  And that's within your 18 numbers.  Chances are you'll have 2 or 3 right numbers.  When you get lucky, you could have 4 or 5, when you get unliucky you could have 0,1 or 2.  Although playing like this, your odds of getting 0 numbers right is the same as getting 5 right.


I find that it'd probably be better to play a key wheel (I don't play lotto wheels, in fact I barely play lotto games, but I'd imagine that they are more effecient, provided you can get your key numbers right.  I know that's not easy - but if you're playing lotto you kind of have to rely on luck)

Boney526's avatar - NjlpLogo

Although I have split a wheel between me and a friend - we only picked like 9 numbers, for a 5 of 40 game.  We didn't win, but we had the right pattern (like all the numbers that came were 2 below one of our numbers)  which is why I sort of like the idea of wheels, they can allow you to play more numbers in an effecient way- but realize that you're not actually likely to win using wheels, you're just more likely to win something using them.


The way I see it, if I was going to spend 20ish dollars on tickets, I might consider a wheeling - but otherwise I wouldn't wheel more than 9 numbers, no matter what the field of numbers is.  And even with 20, I'd try to play a key wheel with either some structure to it other than abbreviation, or a full wheel of less numbers (still with the keys)  Just an example...  something like Key:1-2 others: 3-4-5-6-7-8 (in a full wheel with the other numbers) OR something like this.....  I know that's not necessarily a perfect wheel - but it has certain flexibilities if you do get the keys right.


IDK - that's just the way I'd play.  I feel like lotto's such a longshot that you might as wheel key numbers - if you get those right, you significantly raise your odds, especially if you use full wheels with the keys.

Jack-C's avatar - us
In response to DownandDirty

A pick 5 wheel using 20 numbers with a guarantee of 4if4 would be 1,099 lines.  I don't think anyone (certainly not Todd) would appreciate me posting all those tickets.  So, if you want to play them, get CoverMaster and do it yourself!  Then put those numbers into a spreadsheet so you can use numbers other than 1 to 20.  Good luck!!

Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
In response to DownandDirty

Have you checked the Lottery Post Wheels page?  There are several Pick 5 and Pick 6 wheels that are close, including a Pick 5 4if4of20 Key wheel.

CajunWin4's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

With my systems for pick 5  , I  can get the numbers/digits any where from 5 to 8 digits/numbers to play. Pick 3 and Pick 4 down to each position 2 or 3..

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