Smaller hopes after the hype

The National Lottery jackpot could fall below pounds 10m this week if recent patterns are maintained. Sales receipts rise sharply in rollover weeks, and sharper still in double rollovers, and they seem to be staying relatively high in the following week as punters bathe in the after-glow of excitement and the hype subsides only slowly. They do, however, tend to drop back to normal or below in the second week after a big prize.

But even pounds 9m will make most people's dreams come true, so what numbers might win this week? Numbers that had not won for some time have been coming up more frequently in recent weeks, and both the two longest sequences without a win were broken last Saturday, when 9 and 22 came up, providing a good platform for those who bet on long-losing sequences to pocket a few pounds.

There are no really long-losing sequences left now, although 14 and 27 have not come up for 14 weeks and 1 and 18 have been absent for 12 weeks. If there are fewer obvious targets on the grounds of long-losing sequences, it might be worth switching to numbers that have won rarely in the first 64 weeks of the lottery's history.

The poorest record remains 39, with just two wins, the last one six weeks ago; 13 has won four times, with one appearance as a bonus ball; 24 has won four times although it has been the bonus ball three times; while 19 and 20, 36 and 37 have each won only five times and could be worth selecting on Saturday.