Lucky ticket-holder comes forward but plans to stay anonymous, lottery officials say.
Lucky ticket-holder comes forward but plans to stay anonymous, lottery officials say. Mega Millions

Friday's Mega Millions drawing is sweeping the nation with an estimated $540 million jackpot and there's a huge rush to buy tickets in hopes of hitting the winning numbers.

Everyone's dreaming big with the chance to win the highest jackpot in the history of the lottery.

But before you fork over your $1 (or more) to your lottery retailer, there are some strategies that are guaranteed to fail.

Don't select the series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (along with any variation of 1,2,3,4 or 5 as the Megaball)

Sure, this series of numbers has as good a chance as any six numbers of hitting. But stringing them together can spell doom. It's a popular set to play. Say those numbers are drawn, but you and 10,000 other players choose the same numbers.

That means you get a whopping $54,000 (before taxes). You may have won, but it's not the huge jackpot you were hoping for.

Don't select 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

This series was made famous by the television series Lost, which has a huge fan following.

The numbers may have been lucky (or unlucky) for Hurley, but they're sure to be unlucky for you. Expect other fans of Lost to select these numbers, meaning you'll be splitting a chunk of the jackpot.

Stay away from birthday numbers

Picking birthday numbers is a popular way to play the lottery. But again, others have the same idea as you and you'll be guaranteed NOT to take home $540 million. Instead, have some variety in your ticket and choose numbers higher than 31.

So what's your best bet to win?

Opt for a quick pick instead of choosing your own numbers and you'll avoid the above traps. Go against the grain.

The Mega Millions drawing will be conducted Friday at 11 p.m EST.