What Is Futsal? You Can Bet On The Sport In Massachusetts

Written By David Fletcher on March 31, 2023Last Updated on April 18, 2023
What is futsal? Futsal betting in Massachusetts, from play-ma.com

If you enjoy wagering on unique sports, then you should consider betting on futsal games.

Futsal is quite similar to soccer, but what makes it different? What are the rules? Play MA is taking a closer look at the sport to see how it works and what makes it unique.

In addition, now that sports betting in Massachusetts is live, futsal is one of many sports you can bet on in the Commonwealth.

Futsal 101

Originally coined Futebol de Salao, futsal is essentially the micro version of soccer, similar to what the arena league version of football is for the NFL.

The sport has been FIFA-recognized since 1989, and it has been gradually growing in popularity ever since. 

Futsal is played in an indoor arena on a hard court that measures 40 by 20 meters. The smaller space requires a lot more skill to navigate, so the matches are usually pretty entertaining.

In fact, some of the best technical players to have ever played soccer also played futsal, including Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Pele and Ronaldinho

How futsal differs from soccer

The rules of futsal are pretty similar to soccer with a few key differences that make futsal a much more high-scoring contest.

Some of the biggest differences of futsal are:

  • There are only five players are on the pitch for a team at once
  • Substitutions are unlimited 
  • There are no offside rules since the pitch is so small, which allows the attackers to get much closer to goal 
  • Instead of throw-ins, futsal makes players kick the ball into play, which significantly speeds up the pace of play
  • Each half of play in futsal is just 20 minutes long, and the clock stops whenever the ball is out of play, so there is no stoppage time at the end of the game

If you are used to watching soccer games, you will find that futsal games pass pretty quickly and are very entertaining to watch. 

Brief futsal history

The sport was originally created as an indoor alternative for soccer at YMCAs in Uruguay as early as the 1930s. The game quickly became popular throughout South America, which led to the establishment of its first governing body in 1965.

As it continued to grow, FIFA took over as the governing body in 1989 and hosted its first World Cup that same year in the Netherlands. It now takes place every four years during the same time as the Olympics.

Thanks to the success of FIFA’s Futsal World Cup, the UEFA hosted a futsal tournament of its own that debuted to great success. Afterward, the UEFA introduced a full-scale UEFA European Futsal Championship, to be played every two years. The inaugural tournament featured only six of Europe’s top teams. More than 16 teams played in the 2022 tournament.

Futsal is officially a global sport, recognized as one of the fastest growing sports around the world

Betting on futsal in Massachusetts

Although the sport’s popularity is growing quickly, its presence in the sports betting market is still far from robust. However, there are a few major sportsbooks that have futsal wagering options.

Betting on futsal is legal in Massachusetts, and the best of the major Massachusetts sportsbooks for futsal wagering are FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM.

Before placing your futsal wagers, don’t forget to sign up for the many Massachusetts sports betting promos that are available.

Unlike most sports, futsal is currently limited to major tournaments since there is no full-time professional futsal league as of yet. This means that betting availability is subject to timing of major tournaments. Some of the bigger ones are listed below. 

  • UEFA Champions League (Formerly UEFA Futsal Cup) – Next event starts in May 2023
  • Africa Futsal Cup of Nations – Next event in 2024
  • FIFA Intercontinental Futsal Cup – Next event in 2024

When browsing the futsal betting market, you will find traditional wagers like the moneyline, spread, Over/Under totals and more on the major sportsbooks. However, player and game prop options for the sport differ drastically.

If you’re looking to give betting on futsal a try, check the sportsbooks in May when the UEFA Champions League resumes. 

RELATED: What Is Pesäpallo? You Can Bet On The Sport In Massachusetts

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David Fletcher

David Fletcher is a Staff Writer for Play MA. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently employed full-time in a senior corporate communications role for a top 20 accounting firm. He also has nearly a decade of experience covering high school sports and local news for multiple small daily newspapers, and professional and collegiate sports in the Houston area for a start-up sports reporting organization. He is a big fan of the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and, unfortunately, according to him, the Houston Texans. He enjoys bringing his love of sports and writing to the gaming industry to provide insight into quality sports bets.

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