Heading into Sunday at Riviera, our experts had the leader board covered. Then, Hideki Matsuyama happened.

Matsuyama wouldn’t normally ever be categorized as a “longshot,” but that’s exactly what he was last week, continuing the trend of the longshot winner on the PGA Tour in 2024. Chances are that continues this week in a weak, wide-open field, though defending champion Tony Finau might have something to say about that at +850.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta. 

RELATED: Mexico Open at Vidanta DFS picks 2024: Our expert reveals his favorite value plays

Mexico Open at Vidanta picks 2024: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Tony Finau (+850, DraftKings) — Give me the chalk. He’s far and away the class of this field, and he’s shown his ball-striking is where it needs to be. There’s something about Paspalum greens that makes his putter wake up—and though he’s struggling on the greens in 2024, he might not need a red-hot putting week to run away with this one.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Jake Knapp (40-1, DraftKings) — With the potential for a wind direction shift with the event moving from May to February, driving distance might be worth more this week than originally thought. Knapp has no shortage of distance. He made a run at Torrey Pines (T-3), which has shown some crossover of leaderboards (long courses) and followed it up with another solid iron showing in Phoenix. He drove it all over the course in Scottsdale, mitigating his usual distance advantage, but that won’t be an issue at Vidanta.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Nicolai Hojgaard (14-1, FanDuel) — Hojgaard is a great course fit with his distance and irons. He was T-33 here last year, hurt by a weak short game. Hojgaard breaking through with a win in Mexico makes a ton of sense this week.

Keith Stewart, Read The Line: Taylor Pendrith (25-1, FanDuel) — One player in the field has finished top 15 in five of his last seven starts. Taylor Pendrith is having one of the quietest great stretches of great golf I can remember in recent history. The accomplished Canadian is elite long off-the-tee. That advantage can be felt on approach when he’s using a mid-iron to attack a long-iron target. Pendrith finished 15th at El Cardonal in November on Paspalum greens by firing 18 under par over his last 54 holes. Firepower and finesse: Taylor has both, and after this week, his first win on the PGA Tour.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Taylor Pendrith (25-1, FanDuel) — Our guy Andy Lack laid out the case for Pendrith in our Mexico Open DFS column earlier this week. He’s elite with his long irons and has a ton of distance—two paramount skill sets for Vidanta. The Canadian is also coming off a top-10 finish at Torrey Pines, where he gained in all four major strokes-gained categories, so it’s an easy case to be made.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Cameron Champ (55-1, BetMGM) — The man has not made a cut in 2024 and has just two top 10s in his last 19 starts. Guess where one of those came? Here at the Mexico Open last April, when he entered in similarly poor form having missed six straight cuts. He also top 10’d here in 2022. It obviously fits his eye, the golf course requiring prodigious length off the tee and solid putting on Paspalum greens, two of Champ’s strong suits. You may have to hold your nose when you bet it, but this is one of the few times Champ is worth the risk.

Andy Lack, Run Pure Sports and Inside Golf podcast: Davis Thompson (35-1, DraftKings) — Davis Thompson, the former No. 1 amateur in the world and standout at the University of Georgia, is beginning to really find his footing on the PGA Tour. Thompson is coming off a 15th-place finish in Phoenix where he overcame the wrong side of a weather advantage to finish in the top 20, gaining over four strokes on approach in the process. Now he travels to a golf course that should perfectly accentuate his power off the tee and elite long-iron play. Expect Thompson to play a major factor this week in Mexico.

Past results: As successful as last season was for this panel, it’s time to turn the page to 2024, when we plan on cashing just as many, if not more, outright winners. We’re also pleased to welcome our newest expert picker, Keith Stewart of Read The Line, to the panel. Keith replaces the great Rick Gehman, who we’ll miss dearly. Good luck to all. Let’s have a year.

Listen to Golf Digest’s weekly betting podcast, “The Loop,” (below) where we interview the industry’s leading experts (and sometimes tour pros) to help you make your bets and pick your fantasy lineups. And be sure to subscribe to “The Loop” wherever you get your podcasts!

Mexico Open at Vidanta picks 2024: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win

Caddie: Cristobal Del Solar (225-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Mr. 57 is getting a sponsor’s invite this week. Cristobal possesses extreme length off the tee and an immaculate short game. His game is sharp, and I would not be surprised to see him coming down the stretch Sunday with a chance to win.

Mayo: Jhonattan Vegas (55-1, DraftKings) — He bombs it. This we know. He’s also third in Opportunities Gained over the past 24 rounds, per FantasyNational.com. Can he use that shorter club and will it into the hole? This is yet to be seen. After a disaster of a first round at Torrey Pines, Vegas has been excellent since. He rebounded at Torrey, shooting 7-under in Round 2, 13 strokes better than the day previous; then almost had all rounds in the 60s in Phoenix until a late slip Sunday dropping him to T-22. And while we don’t have official data from the alternate-field events in the Caribbean with similar slow, paspalum greens, Vegas’ history of positive results should show he can manage the slower resort course putting complexes.

Gdula: S.H. Kim (60-1, FanDuel) — Kim’s irons aren’t great by any stretch, but he’s a solid golfer in every other area and has distance off the tee to help him navigate Vidanta. He finished T-24 here last year despite a weak iron week.

Stewart: Sam Stevens (60-1, BetMGM) — Sam Stevens started the week with pre-tournament odds in the +9000s! By the time I penned this panel editorial, he already dropped to 55-1 at some books. Stevens is a perfect fit for Vidanta Vallarta. He’s an accurate driver of the golf ball and incredibly long. He’s ranked seventh in the field SG/tee to green and top six in par-4 scoring. His short game and putting are almost as good as his long-iron game. He finished third at Punta Cana and 15th at Puerto Rico in 2023. Boosting a top-20 Birdie or Better percentage in the field, Stevens can go low and win in Mexico.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (50-1, DraftKings) — Hubbard leads this field in SG/approach over the past six months, and he’s also in the top five in SG/putting on slow greens over the past two years, per BetSperts.com’s golf data. So while he might not possess the power off the tee I’d like to see, I’m confident his elite iron play and a hot putter could carry him to the top of the leaderboard in his third start at Vidanta Vallerta.

Powers, Golf Digest: Parker Coody (125-1, BetMGM) — Why wouldn’t the year of the longshot continue at the Mexico Open? Coody hits nukes and is coming off a rather impressive top 25 at Torrey Pines, where he gained 4.5 strokes on approach and nearly seven tee-to-green.

Lack: Sam Stevens (60-1, BetMGM) — Sam Stevens fits the ideal Vidanta Vallarta prototype as a bomber off the tee who is also an elite long iron player and has proven himself on slower paspalum greens. Stevens is one of the biggest risers in this field on slower putting surfaces, and last time he was on a wide-open, driver-heavy, paspalum resort course, he finished third at Corales. Expect Stevens to find similar success in Mexico.

RELATED: Jim Nantz had an A+ line for internet rules sleuths

Mexico Open at Vidanta picks 2024: Players We’re Fading

Caddie: Keith Mitchell (22-1, FanDuel) — This will be Keith’s first ever start at Vidanta. This price is way too low considering there are plenty of others whose value is more apparent.

Mayo: Thomas Detry (25-1, DraftKings) — If the bet was “will Detry finish second,” I may take that. But unless he stages a massive Sunday comeback from 10 groups behind, it’s hard to see him holding it together in contention down the stretch.

Gdula: Keith Mitchell (22-1, FanDuel) — Mitchell’s driver can carry him a long way, but the rest of the game is lagging. He ranks outside the top 45 in SG/approach, around the green and putting over the past 50 rounds relative to this field, according to datagolf.

Stewart: Stephan Jaeger (22-1, BetMGM) — In Stephan Jaeger’s career, his pre-tournament odds have dipped below 40-1 seven times. In those seven starts, he only finished inside the top 20 once! Middle-tier guys are most comfortable when they sit in the middle of the pack. Make a regular PGA Tour player a betting favorite, and watch them get really uncomfortable. It happened last year with Wyndham Clark, and Jaeger is my candidate to follow in his footsteps this year.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Thorbjorn Olesen (28-1, BetRivers) — Olesen won in his last start over in the UAE, but he hasn’t played in North America since last year’s PGA Championship, when he missed the cut. And losing strokes off the tee in four straight starts is pause for concern at this price tag.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tony Finau (+850, FanDuel) — If he wins, God bless him. Just insane to be betting a single-digit golfer in a wide-open event during a year where a longshot wins every week.

Lack: Emiliano Grillo (25-1, FanDuel) — While Emiliano Grillo has found success on tropical, Paspalum courses in the past, I simply have a difficult time justifying this price tag. Normally a staple of his game, Grillo’s iron play has been far more erratic of late, and he is coming off a missed cut at the Genesis Invitational where he lost over a stroke on approach. I’m comfortable taking my chances on a Grillo fade as one of the tournament favorites.

RELATED: Is the PGA Tour in a slump, or is this the new reality?

Mexico Open at Vidanta picks 2024: Matchups

Caddie: Brandon Wu (+100) over Ryan Fox (DraftKings) — Brandon has a T-2 and third here over the past two years. Although not considered one of the long knockers on tour, something about this course has proven successful to Brandon.

Mayo: Jake Knapp (+105) over Erik Van Rooyen (DraftKings) — EVR already got his Mexico moment in the fall. And his scotching approach play appears to have peaked at that very moment. I’ll take the underdog Knapp who enters with ascending form.

Gdula: Stephan Jaeger (-110) over Emiliano Grillo (FanDuel) — Grillo has played well at Vidanta (T-33 and T-5) but has done a lot of that work with the putter. And he’s currently living by the putter, too. Jaeger also has two top-20 finishes at this course and is holding a huge tee-to-green edge over Grillo.

Stewart: Emiliano Grillo (-110) over Stephan Jaeger (DraftKings) — DraftKings sees this matchup as a pick’em, but I’ll take Emiliano Grillo’s recent form with the putter to back up his ball-striking. Jaeger has good course history, but he’s been elevated to a favorite, and that’s rare air for him. He lost strokes badly off the tee in both Vidanta starts, while Grillo has gained an average of four strokes tee to green in his two turns at the Norman design.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Erik Van Rooyen (-120) over Thorbjorn Olesen (DraftKings) — This is an easy one for me. EVR won in Mexico in November and has kept up his hot play. I’m willing to fade Olesen in any matchup I can play this week.

Powers, Golf Digest: Brandon Wu (+100) over Ryan Fox (DraftKings) — A second and a third in his last two trips here is enough for Brandon Wu to earn “horse for the course” status, and definitely enough for me to take him over anyone here at even money.

Lack: Erik van Rooyen (-120) over Thorbjorn Olesen (DraftKings) — Last time that Erik van Rooyen traveled to this type of driver heavy, Paspalum resort course, he won the World Wide Technologies Championship at El Cardonal during the Fall swing. One of the best overall mid-to-long iron players and birdie-makers in this field, van Rooyen is perfectly suited for the task at hand in Mexico this week. Olesen, on the other hand, has yet to truly prove himself against PGA Tour competition. While his results have been admirable on the DP World Tour, he has not played in North America since last year’s PGA Championship, and the driver remains a concern.

Matchup Results from the Genesis Invitational: Mayo: 1 for 1 (Clark (+100) over Fitzpatrick); Lack: 1 for 1 (Cantlay (+100) over Hovland); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Henley (-120) over McCarthy); Stewart: 1 for 1 (Cantlay (+100) over Hovland); Powers: PUSH (Aberg (-110) over Scott); Gdula: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 6-1-0 (up 4.87 units); Gdula: 5-1-1 (up 3.39 units); Powers: 4-2-1 (up 1.97 units); Lack 4-3-0 (up 1.26 units); Caddie: 3-3-0 (down 0.51 units); Hennessey: 3-3-1 (down 0.52 units); Stewart: 3-4-0 (down 1.14 units)

Mexico Open at Vidanta picks 2024: Top 10s

Caddie: Alejandro Tosti (+550, DraftKings) — The fiery Argentine finished T-10 last year here on a sponsor’s exemption. Although small in stature, he possesses notable length off the tee. If he can keep his emotions in check, expect him to be amongst the leaders come Sunday.

Mayo: Michael Kim (+500, DraftKings) — Only Finau is hitting it consistently closer on approaches to inside 20 feet in this field lately, and over the last year Kim’s shown a propensity to crush easy courses and longer courses. Which is strange because he’s certainly not a bomber. Plus, he was on my show a few weeks ago and gave some insight into how he’ll attack this course.

Gdula: Michael Kim (+500, FanDuel) — This is a good number for Kim to finish in the top 10. Kim has gained strokes from his approach play in six straight measured events and can pick up distance on a field such as this one. Kim was T-30 here last year even with poor ball-striking.

Stewart: Nicolai Hojgaard (+210, Bet365) — Nicolai Hojgaard made a nice run at the Farmers Insurance Open by driving the ball long and in play. He putted the challenging Poa greens positively and finished runner-up. Many players who excel at Torrey Pines have trended to play well at Vidanta Vallarta. Nicolai’s nifty finish at Punta Cana last year on paspalum (second) also catches my attention. The recent Ryder Cupper has been playing with great confidence and certainly has the complementary skill-set needed to contend here.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Sam Stevens (+550, Bet365) — The former Oklahoma State Cowboy checks several boxes this week—he’s fifth in driving distance and he’s top 30 in proximity with his long irons over the past 75 rounds, per BetSperts.com. That should lead to a lot of opportunities this week in Mexico.

Powers, Golf Digest: S.H. Kim (+550, DraftKings) — Kim finished in the top 25 in his lone appearance here last April and is coming into this week with solid form, having finished 28th and 31st in his last two starts. He also has a runner-up on his 2023-’24 resume from the Fortinet during the Fall swing.

Lack: Vincent Norrman (+550, DraftKings) — While his roommate, Ludvig Aberg, attracts most of the headlines, Vincent Norrman is quite the young player in his own right. With wins now on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, the Swede is one of the most promising young players in the game due to his robust power off the tee. Norrman finished 18th at this golf course last year, gaining strokes in all four major categories, and he also recorded a 16th at the Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship. Norrman is on my shortlist anytime we head to wide open, Paspalum resort course that emphasizes power off the tee.

Top-10 results from the Genesis Invitational: Lack: 1 for 1 (Xander Schauffele +150); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Gdula: 2 for 7 (up 3.5 units); Hennessey: 2 for 7 (up 3 units); Mayo: 1 for 7 (down 2.5 units); Powers: 1 for 7 (down 4.1 units); Lack: 1 for 7 (down 4.5 units); Caddie: 0 for 7 (down 7 units); Stewart: 0 for 7 (down 7 units)

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME. 

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for numberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13. 

Keith Stewart is a five-time award-winning PGA professional, a betting contributor for Golf Digest and founder of Read The Line, the premier on-site live golf betting insights service covering the LPGA and PGA TOUR. Subscribe to Read The Line’s weekly newsletter here and raise your golf betting acumen. Keith’s winning content can also be found on Sports Grid, Bleacher Report and The Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @readtheline_.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also the head of golf content for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports 

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com