In the present paper, the bending behavior of Cross Laminated Timber panels is investigated by means of the linear elastic exact solution from Pagano (1970; 1969). The resulting stresses are the input for a wood failure criterion, which can point out the first-crack load and the respective dominant failure mode. Heterogeneous layers are modeled as equivalent and homogeneous layers. This simplified and deterministic modeling gives results in good agreement with a reference experimental test. A comparison is made with respect to the panel’s global stiffness and failure stages within the apparent elastic stage. Finally, parameter studies are carried out, in order to quantify CLT limitations and advantages. The effect of varying properties like the panel’s slenderness, orientation of transverse layers and number of layers for a fixed total thickness are investigated.