On this special edition of “Listen in With KNN ” presented by FOX Sports Radio, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed special guest Jo Madden, an On-Air Host & Sports betting Analyst currently working with “Better Than Vegas Bets” and “Sports Grid TV.” Jo continues to be a dominant force in the sports betting industry. Celebrating women in sports this Women’s History Month as Madden and Nelson pay homage to those who came before and trailblaze the way for those who will come after. Madden, a sports enthusiast from a competitive family, grew up playing sports and representing Alberta on their U21 Netball team.
Despite obtaining an accounting degree in college, Jo realized that an office job wasn’t suitable for her. Instead, she wanted to pursue a career that incorporated her strengths in numbers, passion for sports, and competitive nature. Madden found her calling in sports handicapping, where she embraced the opportunity to bet on herself and never turned back. Driven by a fondness for underdogs and a focus on team dynamics supported by statistical analysis, Madden merged her love for sports, competitive spirit, and betting into one passionate pursuit. Whether she wins or loses, Jo maintains transparency and strives to find value in every bet she makes.
Nelson welcomed Madden to the show during Women’s History Month. Despite not having met in person, they connected through social media and supported each other in the sports industry. Madden discussed her journey into sports media and journalism, mentioning that she unexpectedly found her voice in the industry and gained confidence. Growing up in a competitive family, Madden always had a passion for sports. She mentioned her transition from being an accountant and running a liquor import business to finding her true calling in sports media. “This is not an industry that I ever thought I would be in, but I really found my voice within this industry and I was handed a mic kind of by random. And ever since, I haven’t looked back.” said Madden as she discussed her career choice.
Nelson and Madden related to each other’s stories of coming from hardworking families and emphasized the importance of working hard to achieve success. They discussed the challenges of overcoming nervousness and gaining confidence in speaking in front of people. As a woman in the industry, Madden earned respect and trust for her sports betting expertise, and she now works with SportsGrid, hosting weekend shows and making guest appearances during the week. She also collaborates with other companies, such as “Better Than Vegas,” and continues to pursue her own projects. Madden expressed her passion for her work, stating that it never feels like work because it aligns with everything she loves doing.
— SportsGrid (@SportsGrid) June 3, 2023
Nelson and Madden discussed their various experiences in the sports industry, with Nelson mentioning Jo’s role as a mother to her son. They talked about their love for sports and the betting space. Jo shared that she has a son who is passionate about football and keeps her updated on free agency. They also discussed Madden’s daughter and her growing love for sports. Madden mentioned the challenges she faced as a female in the industry, including inappropriate advances from men. “Females in this industry love to talk about sports, even when you make these male friends over social, some can take it the wrong way and it’s just at the end of the day, we’re here and we’re looking to build those work peers.” Madden noted.
Madden shared a story about a Facebook post about her experiences and faced some resistance from her parents but ultimately stood her ground. Madden left a toxic work environment and started her own journey, gaining respect and building her own following. The duo emphasized the importance of integrity and not compromising one’s beliefs. They also touched on the challenges faced by women in the industry and the need to establish boundaries and respect. Nelson and Madden emphasized the importance of speaking out against predatory behavior and creating a safe and inclusive workplace for women. They encouraged women to be confident, believe in themselves, and not let anyone deter them from pursuing their passions.
Madden mentioned that March Madness was currently going on and acknowledged that many people were interested in the sports betting aspect of it. While Nelson didn’t make a bracket this year because she was tired of being wrong about her picks and didn’t want to experience heartbreak again, especially after her Maryland Terrapins gave them an early scare. However, Nelson expressed relief that things were looking better for her team at halftime.
Nelson asked Jo for her thoughts on March Madness, including her favorite team to win and any teams they liked at the moment. Madden acknowledged that there would be a major team that would fall during the tournament, but they weren’t sure which one it would be this year. She mentioned that Duke was a team that many people believed would fall early. Madden expressed skepticism about Baylor’s chances and believed they wouldn’t make it far, specifically mentioning her potential match against UCSB in the first round. When discussing the Final Four, Madden highlighted Purdue as a strong team, particularly due to their defense and the presence of Zach Edey. “I think Purdue with Zach Edey, they are just way too strong. This defense is absolutely phenomenal. I think they’ll be able to make it out of the east. It’s going to be hard, though. They’ve got a lot of teams to jump over here,” Madden remarked.
They anticipated a challenging match against Kansas State in the Elite Eight but believed Purdue would come out on top. Jo also predicted Alabama to come out of the South region, acknowledging the strength of their basketball team. However, they acknowledged that Alabama would face a tough challenge from Maryland. In the Midwest region, Madden showed support for Texas and believed they were underrated compared to Houston. They anticipated a difficult matchup between Houston and Indiana but predicted Texas to make it through. In the West region, Madden confidently chose Kansas as the team to come out on top, emphasizing their track record as previous champions. The two also mentioned potential matchups between VCU and UConn, with Kansas ultimately prevailing over UConn.
Nelson brought up Uconn as an interesting team, recalling a tight game they played against Georgetown. She expressed uncertainty about Uconn’s performance but agreed with Madden’s strong predictions, particularly mentioning Marquette as an intriguing team that won the Big East tournament despite low preseason expectations.
The conversation then shifted to the situation surrounding Brandon Miller from the University of Alabama. Nelson highlighted the increased security measures due to threats Miller allegedly received related to the death of a young woman. Nelson acknowledged the pressure and mental toll this situation could have on Miller, as well as the impact it could have on the Alabama team. Jo responded by noting that the team seemed to be rallying around each other in the face of adversity. They expressed hope that Miller was not deeply involved in the incident and emphasized the tragic nature of the events. Then, Nelson wished everyone’s teams the best and hoped that their brackets wouldn’t bust early, but reminded them that there’s always next year in college basketball. Madden agreed and expressed appreciation for the unpredictable nature of the tournament.
Nelson switched the topic to hockey and expressed excitement in the D.C. area over the performance of the Washington Capitals. Madden agreed and praised the Capitals’ comeback win despite initial concerns about the availability of players like Alex Ovechkin. They discussed the competitive Metropolitan Division and the potential of teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers. Madden also highlighted the silent success of the LA Kings in the Pacific Division. In talking about the Kings, Madden says “They are definitely making some moves, that is for sure. This is a big team. This is a hard hitting team. They could battle Vegas here for the Pacific.”
They then shifted to NFL free agency and discussed various moves, including Jimmy Garoppolo going to Las Vegas, Taylor Heinicke joining the Atlanta Falcons, and Orlando Brown’s deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. They focused on Lamar Jackson’s situation and expressed disappointment in the lack of progress regarding his contract negotiations. They highlighted Jackson’s value and success with the Baltimore Ravens. They also talked about Aaron Rodgers’ intriguing behavior and his potential move to the New York Jets, with Madden mentioning his reputation as a villain and a bad boy. “And while Aaron Rodgers is a phenomenal quarterback, he’s not Tom Brady. He can’t hold on to those rings. So what are people going to remember him for? Well, now people are going to remember him for his trips, his time in the dark hole, his drama that he likes,” said Madden regarding the drama around QB Aaron Rodgers.
— SportsGridTV (@SportsGridTV) May 13, 2023
Nelson and Madden continued discussing Rodgers’ mysterious situation, expressing their desire for more clarity. They mentioned Adam Schefter’s interactions with Rodgers and commented on his interesting hairstyles. They acknowledged Rodgers’ talent and the potential of the Jets if he were to join the team. The two also briefly mentioned the Dallas Cowboys and their perennial social media hype from fans. Nelson and Madden discussed various hot trending topics in the NFL. They mentioned that Ezekiel Elliot’s departure from the Dallas Cowboys was somewhat surprising with the timing but expected. They also expressed concern about Austin Eckler’s contract situation with the LA Chargers. The duo emphasized the importance of players getting paid what they deserve and highlighted the risks and injuries that football players face.
They mentioned the impact of concussions on players like Tua Tagovailoa and Jordan Reed, who had to retire early due to multiple concussions. They discussed the NBA playoff race, including standout performances by Steph Curry and the tight MVP race between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. The two also analyzed the Western Conference teams’ chances, such as the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks. They also mentioned the New Orleans Pelicans’ disappointment and highlighted the Boston Celtics’ resilience despite early turmoil. In the Eastern Conference, they discussed the Milwaukee Bucks’ strong performance, the solid play of Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown for the Celtics, and the competitive nature of the conference. They came to the conclusion that the Bucks and the Celtics were the top contenders in the East.
To conclude, Nelson praised Madden for being an exceptional guest and appreciated her presence on the show for the first time. Kelsey thanked Madden for her time and acknowledged her contributions to women in sports. Madden expressed her gratitude and encouraged Kelsey to continue her achievements in the industry.
You can listen to the full episode here!