Sweepstakes Odds: What Makes a Giveaway Easier to Win?

How to Calculate Sweepstakes Odds and Turn Them to Your Favor

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The best sweepstakes for you to enter are the ones that have good chances of winning prizes you really want to receive. But how can you possibly know whether a giveaway is easier or harder to win if you can't see how many other people have entered? Being able to guesstimate the sweepstakes odds helps you decide how to concentrate your efforts so that they will pay off more often. But what factors make giveaways easier or harder to win?

There are three factors that influence sweepstakes odds. And if you want the best chances of winning sweepstakes, you'll look for ways to turn those factors to your favor. Those three factors are:

  1. How Many Entries You Receive
  2. How Many Other People Enter the Giveaway
  3. How Many Prizes are Being Awarded

Each one of these factors can be tweaked to maximize your sweepstakes odds.

Boosting Your Odds of Winning by Getting More Entries Each Day

The more often you enter, the higher your odds of winning, as long as you are careful to follow the entry frequency rules. (You will have no chance of winning at all if you are disqualified for entering more often than you are allowed to.) Even single-entry sweepstakes sometimes offer additional chances to win, so read the rules carefully for opportunities. You can improve the number of entries you receive by:

  • Entering sweepstakes faster to maximize the chances you have to win in the time you have available.
  • Creating a sweepstakes strategy to enter efficiently and prioritize the giveaways you want to win the most.
  • Taking advantage of sweepstakes referrals.
  • Reading the rules carefully to see if the sponsor offers additional chances to win by posting the contest on Twitter or Facebook, viewing web content, opting in to receiving newsletters, or other actions.
  • Setting aside a specific time to enter sweepstakes, and then entering every day.

Improving Your Odds by Looking at How Many Other People Are Entering

In sweepstakes odds, competition is the number of entries made by other people. With some exceptions, you won't see the exact number of entries that other people have made when you enter, but you can guess which giveaways might be easier to enter because the competition isn't as heavy. For example:

  • Local sweepstakes that are restricted by area are easier to win than national competitions.
  • Sweepstakes restricted by age, gender, industry, or other criteria are easier to win than giveaways open to everyone.
  • Sweepstakes that are difficult or complicated to enter are easier to win because fewer people take the time to enter.
  • Creative contests have better odds than randomly-drawn sweepstakes for the same reason: they take time and effort to enter.
  • Sweepstakes with short entry periods are easier to win because fewer people will hear about the opportunity to win before it ends.
  • Sweepstakes with small prizes are easier to win because many people won't bother to enter.
  • Sweepstakes with prizes not everyone would want are easier to win because a lot of people aren't interested enough to enter. 
  • Sweepstakes that aren't heavily advertised are easier to win because fewer people will hear about the chance to enter.
  • Giveaways with usual entry methods, like Twitter sweepstakes, blog contests, email entries, etc. are easier to win because fewer people use those entry methods.

By focusing your efforts on giveaways that other people skip over, you can boost your odds of taking home a prize.

Improving Your Odds by Focusing on Sweepstakes with Lots of Prizes:

This one is pretty simple. The more prizes being given away, the better your odds are of winning one (or more). Some sweepstakes give away tens of thousands of prizes, and your chances of walking away with one of them are sky-high. Instant-win sweepstakes are often easy to win for this reason, and you can also check out this list of sweepstakes with lots of prizes.

Sometimes, Even Hard to Win Sweepstakes Are Worth Entering

It makes sense to focus most of your efforts on sweepstakes with good odds of winning. But does that mean that it's not worthwhile to shoot for the big prizes like the HGTV Dream Home or other really tasty giveaways?

Of course not. One of the reasons to enter sweepstakes is to have the opportunity to win big. The trick is to balance those big-name sweepstakes with more winnable giveaways so that you win on a regular basis and avoid sweepstakes burnout.​