WGC-Mexico Championship predictions, odds 2020: Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas picks from PGA insider

Adam Scott will look for more magic following his win at Riviera last week when the PGA Tour travels south for the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship starting on Thursday at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Scott won his 14th PGA event at last week's Genesis Open, his first Tour win in almost four years, and he's now gunning for back-to-back victories. He won this event in 2016, the final time it was played at Doral, and came in that year off a victory at the Honda Classic.

The 39-year-old Australian is at 16-1 in the latest 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship odds in a field that includes 42 of the world's top 50. Among the favorites are defending champion and three-time winner Dustin Johnson (15-2), top-ranked Rory McIlroy (11-2), Jon Rahm (9-1) and Justin Thomas (9-1), and the first 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship tee times are on Thursday at 12:03 p.m. ET. Before you make any 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship picks, you should see who SportsLine's resident golf expert, Sal Johnson, is backing.

A media legend and consummate golf insider, Johnson is coming off a red-hot year. He featured Tiger Woods in his best bets for the Masters and backed Brooks Koepka in his picks for the PGA Championship, and both players pulled off victories. In the season-ending Tour Championship, he nailed it, pegging Koepka, McIlroy and Xander Schauffele as main contenders to come out on top, and McIlroy won the event for the second time, Schauffele was second and Koepka tied for third.

At last week's Genesis Open at Riviera, Johnson pitched Scott as one of his players who could surprise, citing his ball-striking ability and his past success in the event. The Australian shot a 1-under 70 in the final round to win by two strokes.

He also has nailed the WGC-Mexico Championship twice since it found its home at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Before the 2018 event, he had Phil Mickelson among his best bets. "Yes this is no typo," Johnson wrote. "I really think he will contend and play well this week." He also noted Justin Thomas should be in contention, and Mickelson finished 16-under and beat Thomas in a playoff. In 2017, he had Dustin Johnson in his PGA best bets, and he won the event the first time it was played on the high-altitude track.

Now, Johnson, the first producer of "Inside the PGA Tour," a longtime ABC Sports golf producer who has worked with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman, and the founder of the world's top golf statistics database, has released his highly confident 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship picks, and they will surprise you. See them now here.

Top 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship expert picks

We can tell you Johnson wants no part of Xander Schauffele, even though the 26-year-old has an Official World Golf Ranking of No. 10. The four-time winner on Tour has been inconsistent at this event. Plus, his putting has been letting him down. Schauffele is outside the top 100 on the PGA Tour in putts per round (29.05) and is a staggering 164th in putts in the final round of tournaments at 29.80. He's a player to fade this week.

Justin Thomas has been on Johnson's radar for a while, and the 26-year-old has played well at Chapultepec. In his 12 rounds there, he has only gone over par twice and is 36-under. The World No. 4 has 12 career victories, including two in seven events this year. He missed the cut at Riviera last week, but has the stats needed to do well this week. He is sixth in total shots gained and hitting more than 72 percent of greens in regulation (19th).

Johnson also has been keeping a close eye on Jon Rahm since the Spaniard turned pro in 2016 and knows the 26-year-old has finished in the top 10 (winning twice) in six of his last seven starts. Rahm finished 17th last week at Riviera and was 45th at Chapultepec last year, but tied for third in his first start there in 2017. He is eighth in shots gained putting and 10th on Tour in scoring average at 69.8.

How to make 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship predictions

This week, Johnson is all over a monster long shot who has only gone over par once in 12 rounds at Club de Golf Chapultepec. This international player is a true sleeper pick and has all the skills needed to pull off a stunning PGA Tour victory. Anyone who backs this underdog could hit it big.

Who wins the WGC-Mexico Championship? Where do Thomas and Rahm finish? And which monster long shot is a must-back? Check out the odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Sal Johnson's full leaderboard, picks and analysis for the 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship, all from the insider who nailed the Tour Championship and knows what it takes to win at Chapultepec.

Rory McIlroy 11-2
Dustin Johnson 15-2
Jon Rahm 9-1
Justin Thomas 9-1
Webb Simpson 14-1
Hideki Matsuyama 16-1
Adam Scott 16-1
Xander Schauffele 18-1
Tommy Fleetwood 20-1
Bryson DeChambeau 30-1
Paul Casey 33-1
Matt Kuchar 33-1
Collin Morikawa 35-1
Louis Oostuizen 40-1
Sergio Garcia 50-1
Marc Leishman 50-1
Patrick Reed 50-1
Brandt Snedeker 50-1
Gary Woodland 50-1
Bubba Watson 55-1 

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