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The U.S. Mega Millions lottery, after an 11-week spell without a victor, has amassed its third-largest jackpot ever, $548 million, which will be up for grabs in Friday night's drawing.

A lucky player could soon overcome remarkably bad odds to win the ninth-largest lottery jackpot in USA history.

It's not yet known whether anyone had bought a winning ticket.

The Tuesday drawing marked the 22nd consecutive one where nobody matched all six numbers drawn, according to the lottery website.

For example, matching five white balls without the Mega Ball pays $1 million.

The Powerball drawing, set for Saturday at 10:59 p.m., has a jackpot of $314 million.

This Mega Millions drawing will also be the fourth largest in all lottery history. In July when the jackpot was $522 million, we found out faster than usual that someone won, within about an hour.

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Four lucky winners did match the first five numbers and each was poised to collect $1 million. Most winners opt for cash, which for Friday night's drawing would be an estimated $309 million.

If you're looking for a tiny hint: the numbers 17 and 12 have been drawn twice as Mega Balls since August 31.

The current estimated total, with a cash option of $372.6 million, is the second highest in the game's history - just $2 million less than the largest pot won in March 2012.

Jackpot winners have a choice to make: cash or annuity.

Mega Millions is heading into "mega" territory. They agreed to split the winnings and continue working.

Of course, this jackpot is an estimate and might be even bigger if more people play than expected.

The prize money is drawn from ticket sales in 44 USA states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.


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